Craig Louis Hagen

Army of the United States
14 September 1940 - 10 June 1965
Sacramento, California
Panel 02E Line 005

Army Aircrew

Purple Heart, Air Medal, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign


The database page for Craig Louis Hagen

03 Feb 2008

I didn't know my father, I was only 20 months old when he was lost. I know he loved me, and I know he especially loved playing with me in the ocean in Hawaii. I hope to some day have the opportunity to know him through others. Anyone who can help can reach me via e-mail at Thank you.

Sandi Hagen

My father died
many years ago.
And yet when something special
happens to me,
I talk to him secretly
not really knowing
whether he hears,
but it makes me feel better
to half believe it.
- Natasha Josefowitz -

A Note from The Virtual Wall

A Special Forces camp was established at Dong Xoai, a district capital in Phuoc Long Province, in late May 1965. Dong Xoai lay astride a Viet Cong supply route from Cambodia into War Zone D. At about 11 PM on the night of 9 June, the SVN forces around Dong Xoai were attacked by the 762nd and 763rd VC Regiments. Beginning about 11:30 PM the camp came under heavy mortar and ground attack and was overrun.

South Vietnamese and US advisory relief forces were alerted. The first to arrive was an advisory team airlifted from Tan Son Nhut air base near Saigon. The team was aboard a UH-1B helicopter (serial 63-08557) from the 118th Aviation Company. US personnel included

  • WO Donald R. Saegaert, 118th Avn Co, aircraft commander;
  • LT Walter L. Hall, 118th Avn Co, pilot;
  • SGT Craig L. Hagen, 118th Avn Co, gunner;
  • SSGT Joseph J. Compa, 118th Avn Co, crew chief;
  • CPT Bruce G. Johnson, Advisory Team 70;
  • SFC Fred M. Owens, Advisory Team 70; and
  • SSGT Robert L. Curlee, Advisory Team 70 (medic).
After the UH-1B landed it came under heavy mortar and small arms fire. The helicopter took off and started a climbing turn. It then went into uncontrolled flight and crashed, skidded into parked vehicles, and burst into flames.

Captain Johnson, an advisor to the South Vietnamese Army's 5th Infantry Division, reported to another helicopter in the area that the UH-1B's crew and all others on board were dead and his position was receiving incoming enemy mortar fire. There was no further transmission from Captain Johnson after the end of the mortar fire. A later search of the area failed to produce any sign of the seven servicemen. Villagers stated that the Viet Cong had carried away the bodies of 7 Americans and had buried them.

Although the other six men could be classed as Killed in Action based on Captain Johnson's verbal report, Johnson himself was carried as Missing in Action. On 27 Feb 1978, the Secretary of the Army issued a Presumptive Finding of Death for Bruce Johnson, who had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel while in MIA status. As of 08 Feb 2008 the remains of the seven Americans have not been repatriated.

Sergeant Hagen's Letter of Condolences file at the LBJ Library contains the notation that he was on a temporary duty assignment as a door gunner with the 118th Avn Co; his permanent duty station was the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii.

A total of 18 US servicemen died in the attack; the other eleven were
  • Det A-342 (Dong Xoai), 5th SF Group
    • SFC Bobby Russell, Cleveland, OH
    • SSG Donald C. Dedmon, Chicago, IL
    • SGT Charles O. Jenkins, Utahville, PA

  • UH-1D serial 64-13607, A Co, 82nd Avn Bn, Army Avn Group (Prov)
    • CWO Raymond C. Galbraith, North Braddock, PA
    • WO Zoltan A. Kovacs, Berkeley, CA
    • PFC William R. Batchelder, Springvale, ME
    • PFC Walter R. Gray, Big Clifty, KY

  • Adv Team 70, MACV Advisors
    • CPT Edward E. Krukowski, Syracuse, NY
    • SP4 Ronald E. Blake, Johnston, RI

  • Team 1104, Naval Construction Battalion 11

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his daughter,
Sandi Hagen

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 03 Feb 2008
Last updated 02/09/2008