Donald C Grella

Specialist Five
Army of the United States
01 December 1940 - 29 December 1966
Laurel, Nebraska
Panel 04E Line 043

1 CAV DIV uh1huey 229TH AHB
Army Aircrew

Air Medal, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Donald C Grella

The database page for Donald C Grella

12 May 1998

Donald C. Grella is


15 Sep 2003

You are not forgotten.

From a fellow 1st Cav crew chief,
Mike Shaffer

14 Apr 2004

The memory of you as being the quiet, always smiling, likeable person that you were remains until this day from over thirty-nine years ago.

From a crew-chief combat buddy of yours.

From a friend,
William (Dave) Bradley MSG US Army (Ret.)
2051 Paris Hwy 54, Dresden Tn 38225

Notes from The Virtual Wall

The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots' Association database contains the following statement from Captain Ed Freeman, the platoon leader for this flight:
"On Dec. 27th, CWO Phelps was selected to fly from a base camp near Qui Nhon, about 20 miles north of An Khe, to the "golf course" at An Khe. The reason he was selected was because he was the most qualified to fly by instrumentation. The crew stayed the night at An Khe, so they could get a good night's rest and clean up. The next morning they departed from An Khe with a cargo of machine guns and hot food for the troops at the base camp near Qui Nhon. They radioed ahead to the forward camp that they were in the air and on the way. There was no contact after that. Within a short time of being overdue a search was ordered of a grid area that was determined to be where they could have run out of fuel, in all directions. The search went on by air for a period of 3 days. There was one spot that appeared to have had disturbance in the trees and a Chinook helicopter was brought in and troops did rappel into the area. They didn't find anything. A ground search was conducted in various areas, but some areas were not accessible, due to the jungle and swamp conditions."
UH-1D tail number 63-08808 of A Company, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion departed An Khe shortly before dawn on 28 December 1965. The planned flight route passed over mountainous terrain in the vicinity of the An Khe Pass. The flight crew consisted of About ten minutes after the 0555 take-off, CW2 Stancil contacted the A Company forward operating base to obtain current weather information. That was the last contact with the aircraft.

The aircraft was declared down at 0715 and search-and-rescue operations began at 0730. No trace of the aircraft or its crew was found. The four crewmen were declared to be Missing in Action.

During the first annual review of this incident, the Review Board concluded that all available evidence indicated that the four men had died in the crash of their helicopter and their status was changed on 29 Dec 1966 to "Died While Missing/Body not Recovered". The crash site has not been located and the remains of the four crewmen have not been repatriated.

With the exception of WO Phelps, the men were previously assigned to the Aviation Company of the 7th Special Forces Group, which was then attached to the 229th Aviation Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division; WO Phelps was from the 5th Special Forces Group and similary attached. "A" Company, 229th Avn Bn was formed using personnel and equipment assets from these attachments.

In accordance with a recent Federal law, the Library of Congress has begun posting selected documents regarding ex-POWs and MIAs from the Vietnam war. One such document, a message originated by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command on 20 July 2006, reports on the initial investigation of a UH-1 crash site located at UTM coordinates BR582368, about 12 kilometers southeast of An Khe, conducted on 29-30 April 2006. While no conclusions were drawn, the message states that "Field analysis indicates the witness accounts correlate well with the circumstances of loss associated with case 0224" [63-08808].

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index G
NE State Index . Panel 04E
229TH AHB Index

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 12 May 1998
Last updated 02/07/2008