My Adopted MIA--David M. May

Read about my adopted MIA:

Name: David Murray May

Rank/Branch: 02/US Army

Unit: 48th Aviation Company, 223rd Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade

Date of Birth: January 29, 1945 in Annapolis, Maryland

Home City of Record: Hyattsville, MD

Date of Loss: February 20, 1971

Country of Loss: Laos

Loss Coordinations: 162721N 1062748E

Status (In 1973): Missing In Action

Category: 2

Acft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1C

Other Personnel in Incident: John E. Reid; Randolph L. Johnson; Robert J. Acalotto (all missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.


Lam Son 719 was a large-scale offensive against enemy communications lines which was conducted in that part of Laos adjacent to the two northern provinces of South Vietnam. The South Vietnamese would provide and command ground forces, while US forces would furnish airlift and supporting fire.

Phase I, renamed Operation Dewey Canyon II, involved an armored attack by the US from Vandegrift base camp toward Khe Sanh, while the ARVN moved into postion for the attack across the Laotian border. Phase II began with an ARVN helicopter assault and armored brigade thrust along Route 9 into Laos. ARVN ground troops were transported by American helicopters, while US Air Force provided cover strikes around the landing zones.

During one of these maneuvers, W1 John E. Reid was flying a UH1C helicopter (serial #66-700) with a crew of three - 1Lt. David M. May, co-pilot, SP5 Randall L. Johnson, crew chief, and SP4 Robert J. Acalotto, door gunner - on a mission providing gun cover for an emergency resupply mission about 20 miles southeast of Sepone, Laos. The aircraft was hit by hostile fire and crashed.

When the helicopter landed, it was upright on its skids, with the tail boom broken off and the right aft burning. Witnesses stated that it was certainly "a survivable crash". Two people were seen exiting the aircraft on the right side, running towards nearby trees. Witnesses noted that the left pilot door was jettisoned and that both forward seats were empty. Several attempts were made to rescue the downed crew, but were unsuccessful because of heavy enemy fire. The 1st ARVN Division was to assist in a ground rescue attempt, but the tactical situation changed before the infantry could reach the area, and the unit had to be pulled out. No contact to the crew was ever established after the crash.

According to information received by his family, John E. Reid was known to have been captured and was seen alive by other US POWs in March of that same year, again in May, and once in June. Whether the rest of the crew was captured is unknown. When the POWs were released in 1973, Reid was not among them, nor was the rest of the crew. The communist governments of Southeast Asia claim no knowledge of the fate of the crew of the UH1C that went down February 20, 1971.

Proof of the deaths of May, Reid, Acalotto, and Johnson was never found. No remains never came home; none was released from prison camp. They were not blown up, nor did they sink to the bottom of the ocean. Someone knows what happened to them.

Were it not for thousands of reports relating to Americans still held captive in Southeast Asia today, the families of the UH1C helicopter crew might be able to believe their men died with the aircraft. But until proof exists that they died, or they are brought home alive, they will wonder and wait.

How long must they wait before we bring our men home?

David M. May was promoted to the rank of Captain, John E. Reid to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer, Randolph L. Johnson to the rank of Sargeant First Class, and Robert J. Acalotto to the rank of Staff Sargeant during the period they were maintained missing.


This POW/MIA Ring site
is owned by Judy Site ID#343.

[Prev Skip It Next 5 Random Next Index]

Get a POW/MIA Honor Page of your own.
Want to join the ring? Get the info.
Proud Member of the POW/MIA Freedom Fighters

Next page

The POW/MIA Data and Bios provided by the POW/MIA Freedom Fighters,who have been supplied by the P.O.W. NETWORK Skidmore, MO, USA

The MIDI song you are listening to is "Imagine", Copyright 1971, composed by John Lennon.

Read My Four-Way Essay On This Issue