Terry Lanier AlfordChief Warrant Officer
281ST AHC, 10TH AVN BN, 17TH AVN GRP, 1 AVN BDE
Army of the United States
22 October 1947 - 29 September 1978
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The database page for Terry Lanier Alford
Remembered by his comrades, friends, and family.
Terry Alford graduated from Pasadena High School in Pasadena, Texas in 1968. He, his sister Pam, and my wife were good friends. Pam, myself and my wife, remain friends today. I can't think of another MIA I would want to have as my adopted MIA, than Terry.
From a friend,
Visit the 281st AHC
19 Feb 2007
From a friend,
Although the years have passed extremely fast, I've never forgotten your name.
As a young child I wore your name on my wrist, as a POW /MIA. I never knew your fate, and now it seems too late, and I may never be the same.
Please know you'll always be in my thoughts and may you rest in peace.
I wore Terry's MIA bracelet for 3 years (1990-1993) and still have it, although it is almost blank. I just moved and am going through boxes and found it. It occurred to me that I could check him out on the internet, to know more about him. Thank you for posting this for me to find.
My name is Pat Ewing and I was with the 48th Assault Helicopter Company in 1969-1970 and was in the operations building when Terry called in and spoke to our Radio Ops guy (I think it was a guy we called Spanky - can't remember his real name) and asked for a Fox Mike (FM Radio) vector into our location, which required him to key his microphone every minute or so to refresh the indicator on the direction finder (which would point to the source of the signal and give a direct heading). He had been doing that while we talked and when the call came in that he thought he was inverted a couple of us looked at each other and someone remarked that he thought it was a joke and I remember saying that I thought it was real because something in the tone of his voice made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. Spanky tried to raise the aircraft again but never had any other contact. He went to his log and looked up the information of which company the aircraft was from and got a land line connection to notify/verify that the aircraft was reporting trouble and that it was in fact unaccounted for at its home base.
When they verified that the aircraft was still out, then we scrambled aircraft to do a search in all directions to see if we could spot any wreckage. This all occurred near dusk and we were unable to spot any fire etc. and the search was continued the next day or two, but as you know, nothing was found.
My personal theory is that since we were close to the South China Sea and the aircraft was coming from our west, they may have overshot our location between times when the radio was keyed to give a fresh vector. If so, when Spanky keyed the radio again the needle pointed behind them instead of ahead and as they tried to make a 180 degree turn they were out over the water and in the poor weather and fading light they lost the horizon (at that time of day, with the light behind them, sky and water look the same. Possibly the attitude indicator failed (rolled as we used to say) because the gyros would lose their stability occasionally without warning.
If that was the case then they were out over the water and that is why we never found anything.
Now, here's where the story takes an interesting turn. I was at a Vietnam Helicopter Pilots' Reunion in New Orleans back in July of 1990 and as I went through the vendor area as it was closing, I saw a box of POW/MIA bracelets with a sign that said, "Make a $5 Donation and pick a bracelet". I had never owned or worn a POW/MIA bracelet and I just looked for one from Texas and a pilot and I put on the first one that met that criteria and went about my business.
A couple of months later our membership directory came and in it were some After Action Reports and I just happened to spot a reference to the 48th AHC and I stopped to read it. It referred to an aircraft lost while in contact with our location and listed the details that you already know but it also had the names of the crew of that ship. As I looked at the names (I had never really known the names of those on board as we were looking for a UH-1 with a certain tail number) one seemed familiar and I couldn't imagine why, until I looked at my bracelet and realized that I had picked that one bracelet, with the name of a person I never knew, but whose voice I had heard so long ago! The odds of that seemed astounding, and still do!
I wore that bracelet until it became so worn that I replaced it with a silver one and it has been on my wrist for all this time. But, since it will be 37 years since I heard Terry's voice in a few months, I thought maybe I would offer to send these bracelets to his family, if they would want them and only save these memories for myself and those who might like to hear this story, to whom it might have some meaning, to those who loved him.
From a witness,
Just a note to say that I've been wearing Terry's bracelet since September of 1970. I purchased it for a one dollar donation at Western Michigan University when I began classes there. I served with the 174th Assault Helicopter Company operating out of Duc Pho from April of 1967 to April of 1968. My heart goes out to his family for their loss especially at this time of year. The bracelet will go to my grave with me. He reminds me daily of the sacrifice so many have made and are making. Whether we agree or disagree with those who run our government, there are individuals who will answer the call. For some, it will be their last call.
E-Mail will be forwarded by the
When I was a student at Deer Park High School in the early 1970's, I wore a POW/MIA bracelet with Terry Alford's name on it. I never knew what his fate was. I had always held out hope that he made it home. I always thought of him whenever Viet Nam was ever mentioned. In September 2006, I was able to travel to Washington D.C. with my family where I visited the Viet Nam Memorial. There I was saddened to find Terry's name. I said a prayer for his family and hoped that he had not suffered too much. My heart hurts for him and his family. God be with you all. I still have my bracelet with his name on it safe in my jewelry box.
Laurel Cogbill Graham
Notes from The Virtual WallOn 04 Nov 1969, a UH-1H helicopter (serial #67-19512) from the 281st AHC was flying a series of combat support missions in South Vietnam. The last radio contacts with the aircraft were made during the final leg from Duc Lap to Nha Trang at about 1920 hours when the crew made a position report with the 48th Aviation Company Operations center at Ninh Hoa, giving their approximate location as Duc My Pass and stating they were in the clouds and instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). Shortly afterwards, the controller at Ninh Hoa received a final radio transmission when the crew reported, inexplicably, that the helicopter was flying upside down. No further contact was made, and a six-day search-and-rescue effort failed to locate either crew or wreckage. The four men aboard 67-19512 were classed as missing in action and were continued in that status until the Secretary of the Army approved Presumptive Findings of Death on the dates indicated below:
"According to the Defense Department one crewmember's body was recovered at a later time, but no remains were ever found that could be identified as Alford, Klimo, Ware or Cavender."There is a report that Klimo's sister tentatively identified him in a POW photograph, but that photograph has been positively identified by the subject, Captain Charles Jackson, USAF, and his cellmate, Captain Thomas J. Hanton, USAF.
However, as of 30 Nov 04 there is no information to indicate that anyone other than Alford, Cavender, Ware, and Klimo was aboard the helicopter, and the remains of those four men have not been recovered. Neither has the crash site been located.
The United States Army Case Summary Report narrative is available here.
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
4738 Kipper Circle, Pasadena, Texas 77505
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 23 Jan 2001
Last updated 07/19/2007