|RANK/BRANCH||E8/US ARMY SPECIAL FORCES|
|UNIT||MACB-SOG - COMMAND & CONTROL|
|DATE OF BIRTH||23 JULY 1933 (CHICAGO, IL)|
|HOME CITY OF RECORD||ABILENE, TEXAS|
|DATE OF LOSS||03 JUNE 1967|
|COUNTRY OF LOSS||LOAS|
|LOSS COORDINATES||161914N 1064049R (XD795050)|
|STATUS (IN 1973)||MISSING IN ACTION|
|ACFT/VEHICLE/GROUND||CH46A SEA KNIGHT HELICOPTER|
|OTHER PERSONNEL IN INCIDENT|
|CAPT. STEPHEN P. HANSON, USMC - MIA||1stLt JOHN G. GARDNER, USMC - MIA|
|SGT TIMOTHY R. BODDEN, USMC - MIA||SFC BILLY R. LANEY, USA - MIA|
|LCpl FRANK E. CIUS, USMC - POW - RETURNED 1973!||SFC CHARLES F. WILKLOW, USA - RESCUED!|
|MR. KY-NUNG, COMMANDER WOUNDED AND RESCUED|
|SOURCE:||Compiled by Homecoming II Project (252/527-8079) 01 April 1991 from one of more of the following: Raw data from US Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Copyright 1991 Homecoming II project.|
|Remarks||670729 DIC PER CIUS MC RTNEE|
The USMC aircraft picked up U.S. Army Special Forces team attached to MACV-SOG, Command and Control, and the ARVN troops. Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG) was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force that was a highly classified operation throughout Southeast Asia. While they were under secret orders, the 5th Special Forces placed their people into MACV-SOG, which is not a Special Forces group, into a Special Operations Augmentation, which that provided a cover for them. These groups generated missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction were called "SHINING BRASS" missions.
The helicopter took a large amount of weapon fire upon take-off in the Landing Zone. The craft laid down approximately 350 meters from the Landing Zone inside Laos. Once on the ground, the craft continued to take on hostile fire from the enemy. ONly three of the ARVN troops were able to return, the remaing troops were unable to return due to the hostile firing. The military says they did attempt to do an air rescue for the survivors, but were unable to evacuate anyone due to their position, except for SFC Charles F. Wilklow.
SFC Wilklow gave an account of what had happened to the crew aboard the craft:
SFC Ronald James Dexter appeared to be injured and left the wreckage with a number of ARVN troops. Captain Hanson was wounded and outside of the helicopter, but stated that he had to return to get his carbine. The Marine Corps believe that he died of the wounds received when the helicopter was overrun. Eventhough, Hanson's wife later identified her husband in a distrubuted Vietnamese photograph of a pilot being captured. When last seen, all the other Americans were still in the wreckage, enemy troops were throwing grenades toward the craft with no attempt to capture the personnel inside. The US Army claims that the enemy troops were Viet Cong; but the US Marines claim it was the North Vietamese. It is possible it was a dual effort. Wilklow left the crash site, and noted that the gunfire suddenly stopped. He continued to evade the enemy and was rescued 3 days later.
When Mr. Ky, was being evacuated, he noticed that several men (no doubt it was Dexter and the remaining ARVN) in a large bomb crater firing red star clusters from a flare gun. Frank Cius was taken prisoner and released from Hanoi in 1973. he was one of the dozen or so to be captured by the Vietnamese and taken immediately to Haoi, claimed to be the "Laos" prisoners. In reality, none of the dozen had been held in Laos. Ronald Dexter, according to Frank Cius, was captured, and died in captitity after the crash of the helicopter dut to intense enemy fire. Billy Laney was last seen lying wounded on the floor of the aircraft between a crewmember with a broken back and the door gunner with a head wound.
NOTE: The USMC states that Bodden, crewchief/door gunner was shot in the back and never left the aircraft. But there are reports received by the National League of Familes indicate that he and Dexter were definately alive after the helicopter crashed. The US did not know Cius was captured until he was released, evidently believing that he never exited the aircraft and that Wilklow had indicated that the Vietnamese were not trying to capture the occupants of the aircraft. Therefore, as a door gunner, he must have been the "door gunner with the head wound", and Bodden the "crewmember with the broken back".
Since 1975, the U.S. Government has received thousands of reports relating to Americans still alive in Southeast Asia. Many of them cannot be dismissed as untrue. Officially, the US says it is operating under the assumption that men are being held, and that the matter is of "highest national priority". Yet, we seem unable to resolve themystery. Nor have they ever negotiated for the "tens of tens" of American prisoners to the Laos stated they held.
There can be no question that communists know the fate of those who were last seen on the ill-fated CH46A that day. The men aboard this craft were inserted into Laos for exceedingly dangerous and important missions. They deserve no less than America's very best effortst o determine their fates. If any of them are alive, they must be brought home.
Now, here are my comments:
Since I have been doing my research on the Vietnam War and other events, I have noticed that in reality, Nothing has been done. I feel that the government is too busy trying to help other countries and their problems, that they are pushing aside our brothers and sisters that remain overseas. I believe that we should have everyone accounted for and brought home. If they have passed while over there, bring them home so they can be put to rest in a better environment. Plus this will help their families.
Everyone needs to help in this matter. I can be done with alot work and effort.
BRING THEM HOME! THEY BELONG HERE!
TSGT James R. Thomas, USAF - Pararescue (1961 - MIA 1971)
1st Lt. Richard Russell, USAF - C130 Navigator
Graphics by Ron Fleischer
Graphics by Doc
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