The following narrative is from the United States Army Case Summary Report:
Province: Khanh Hoa
District: Khanh Binh
Township: Khanh Binh
On 4 November 1969 WO1 Terry Alford, WO1 Jim Cavender, SP4 John Ware and SP4 James R. Klimo were crewmembers aboard a UH-1H helicopter flying east from Duc Lap to Nha Trang in deteriorating weather conditions. After making radio contact with air traffic controllers at approximately 1920 HRS, a radio transmission from this aircraft indicated that the aviators had become disoriented in the clouds and were in an emergency situation. No further contacts were heard and all SAR operations conducted were negative.
NOTE: The above UTM and Geo Coordinates are based on the last known US location (last radio transmission). Witness testimony from subsequent investigations place this incident loss near Hon Mang Mountain (49P BP797784), within Khanh Hoa Province. The actual crash site is probably in the vicinity of BP736768; the location of the landing zone prepared in April 1996.
POST WAR SOURCES:
T85-226, 23 July 85, JCRC-LNB: Source provided hearsay information about a helicopter crash site in the Nha Trang area (No Further Information)that had reportedly been discovered in 1969. Further, the witness' brother had reportedly recovered four sets of remains from this site and was holding them near his home in Nha Trang.
AUG 93, JFA 25: Team members investigate this case in Khanh Hoa Province. No witnesses to this incident could be found, MRS. NGUYEN THI CUT provided second-hand hearsay information about a person who allegedly held remains and a dogtag possibly associated with this case, but MRS. CUT's acquaintance (NFI) who knew the individual's name was out of the area for several days.
19 May 1994, Letter from Garnett Bell to the Central Indentification Lab, Hawaii: Author provided hearsay information of a helicopter crash site near "Chu Knia Mountain" in the vicinity of BP 4779. He also claimed to possess remains and artifacts from this site and offered to forward them to CILHI.
A photograph of an unidentified POW (#111) thought to possibly be of SP4 Klimo, was later identified as Charles Jackson, Captain, USAF by Jackson himself and his cellmate, Thomas J. Hanton, Captain, USAF.
FEB 94, JFA 28: Team members returned to Khanh Hoa Province and reinterviewed MRS, Cut who introduced MR. PHAM NGOC CHAU to investigators. MR. CHAU provided hearsay information regarding the recovery of remains and a dog tag allegedly taken from the crash site of an "A37". The team also attempted to interview MR. Y SON, the person MR. CHAU identified as the one who discovered these artifacts, but MR. SON was unavailable during the teams' visit.
JUN 94, JFA 30: Team members investigated this case in Dac Lac province. They were successful in locating MR. Y SON, who stated that in 1985 that he had come across a crash site but had not removed any artifacts. MR. Son led team members to this site (BP 702888), but it turned out to be a VNAF 0-1E loss. MR. SON also identified another witness having knowledge of a different crash site in the area, MR. MA LUC. MR. LUC led the joint team to a site at BP 706888, which correlated to a VNAF L-19. Finally, the tentative last known location (BP 702890) was searched with negative results.
NOV 95, JFA 38: Team attempted to interview MR. Thanh, but found that he was resettled in the US with no forwarding address.
NOTE: A source interviewed in July 1985 said that MR. THANH discovered a helicopter crash site and 4 sets of remains in 1969.
AIR 96, JFA 40: Purpose of this investigation was to canvass residents (5 x total interviewed) of the villages near BP 9085, to gather information about aircraft losses in the area, and to conduct a survey of the last known location at BP 702890 of RENFO 1515.
NOTE A survey was already done, see V30 above.The joint team first traveled to Nihn Hoa Township, Khanh Hoa Province and interviewed on witness, MR. LE SI DUNG. MR. DUNG knew about a helicopter crash site near a stream near Hon Mang Mountain (BP 797784) but could not lead the team there because of his asthma. The VNOSMP team then went to Ca Hong Hamlet, Khanh Binh Village, Khanh Vinh District, Khanh Hoa Province and met MR. BO BO CHIA. MR. CHIA agreed to lead workers to an area near the site to help prepare a landing zone (at 49P BP 736768) for the Joint Team members. According to the VNOSMP, the LZ is approximately 200M from the crash site. The Joint Team did not survey the alleged crash site because of time constraints.
OTHER INFO: Based upon witness and advance VNOSMP team statements, team members determined that there is no crash site at the US last known location (BP 702890), nor was there as crash site located near the position of last radio transmission-at 49P BP9085. Team also attempted to find MR. THANH again, without success. (JFA 38 determined Thanh was in US...)
NOTE: A computer database search of a 15km area around Hon Mang Mountain (BP 797784) indicates four UH-1 Operational Losses, one VNAF UH-1 loss, the UH-1H associated with REFNO 1515, and a UH-1H associated with a resolved case. Four witnesses confirmed that no aircraft crashed near BP9085.
NOV 96, JFA 43: Team members investigated this case in Krong Bong district, Dak Lak Province (near Chu Knia Mountain in the vicinity of BP4779) They interviewed three witnesses who provided information on a fixed wing aircraft crash site near Cu Pui Village, which does not correlate to this case.
NOTE: This investigation was conducted based on a lead provided by MR. GARNETT BELL on 19 May 1994 (see USG section above).
MAR 98, JFA 49: Joint Team interviewed two witnesses (MR. LE QUOC TRUNG and MR. BO BO CHIA) concerning a crash site near Khanh Vinh District. Following the interviews the team surveyed crash site at BP 7300876343 and found data plates that belong to a UH-1 helicopter.
NOTE: Analysis of material found indicates the items correlate to an UH-1 aircraft incident, but they are insufficient to establish a correlation with REFNO 1515. There were five UH-1 crashes within 15km during the war.
FUTURE PURSUIT INFORMATION
Narrative: US RESEARCH (DPMO): Find MR. THANH in US and interview him. (MR. THANH was mentioned in a July 1985 report.[see USG info above]In 1969, he reportedly discovered helicopter wreckage/remains in Nha Trang area)
JOINT INVESTIGATE: Need to go back to V49 site with metal detector to obtain more wreckage that will identify specific UH-1 helicopter.
CASE MANAGEMENT INFORMATION
ANALYST NOTES: During V49, MR. LE QUOC TRUNG, while at survey site BP 7300876343, said this is not the site he had visited with his brother (LE SI DUNG, see V40). He pointed east and indicated the site he told IE2 about is on the reverse side of the mountain across the valley, vicinity BP7775. He recalls at this site that he saw small unidentifiable burnt pieces of wreckage, a pair of torn leather boots, and a 30X60cm stripped engine block, with holes in a straight line where the pistons would have been. The site he recalls is 15X20 sqm and was surrounded by trees. MR. TRUNG agreed to take a Joint Team to this location.
NOTE: Based on general location and witness describing that he found an in-line piston engine, site may correlate to an O-2 operational loss 3km south of Hon Mang Mountain, the general location witness pointed to. MAY BE WORTH CHECKING OUT!END OF REPORT
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)