Michael William Havranek

Lance Corporal
United States Marine Corps
30 May 1948 - 11 June 1967
Missoula, Montana
Panel 21E Line 089


Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Michael William Havranek

I knew Mike when I was in school at St. Francis Grade School and Loyola High School in Missoula, Montana. Mike's dad owned a used car lot on West Broadway near the Safeway Store and St. Patrick's Hospital. Mike's parents, brothers and sister lived less than a block from the school. I looked up to Mike as a spirited and active person. He was very popular and well liked. When Mike joined the Marine Corps and went to Vietnam my friends and I knew that he was a true hero. When we learned of his death it was a shattering blow to all of us. The loss of someone so young and full of promise is a devastating thing. Mike had the potential of doing great things. But he died for the greater good of this country, our city of Missoula, and all of his friends. His parents and brothers and sister paid an immense price. For that I am truely sorry. I am proud to say that Mike was truely great man and a great American. I spent 22 years in the U.S. Navy and was in Vietnam on two different amphibous ships directly supporting the U.S. Marine Corps and first hand know the sacrifices they made. Know Mike, that you are not forgotten. Your memory is with all of us from Loyola High School. God Bless America!

From a friend,
David Watson
30 May 2002

13 Nov 2002

I met Mike the summer before he went into the Marine Corp. We both were working for the US Forestry in the mountains of Idaho and became the best of friends. On the weekends we would drive over to Missoula and stay with his family. That summer I did not realize I was about to go into the service as well. When I arrived home from that summer job, Uncle Sam had sent me my greetings. I was sent to Nam with Recon 1/506 Inf, 101st Airborne Div. I did not hear about Mike for many years afterwards. I think about him often as well as my other fallen friends from Nam. I would love to hear from his family and friends.

Dave Sas

1 Jun 2004

You were my dad's best friend.
He loved you very much.
You are and always will be my hero.

From a friend,
A1C Christopher R. Kenck USAF

1 Oct 2004

Hi ... I'm Ryan Havranek. I looked up some research and found out he was my uncle. It was sad to hear what happened to him. I'm only 14.

From Mike's nephew,
Ryan Havranek

The Mission

On 11 June 1967 a reconnaissance team from the 3rd Force Recon Company was scheduled for insertion into position on the southern border of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) four kilometers north of Hill 208 and 900 meters west of Hill 174, both well known NVA positions.

The insertion force consisted of two CH-46As from HMM-265 and two UH-1E gunships from VMO-2. The lead CH-46A (BuNo 150270) carried four crewmen and seven men of the recon team:

Hank Trimble, pilot of one of the VMO-2 gunship escorts, recalls that three insertion attempts were made. The first and second attempts were aborted due to enemy activity and fire in the intended landing zones, but the third LZ was clear. As the CH-46 approached the LZ it
"transitioned to landing speed, in almost slow motion his nose rose, then rose more sharply, then climbed toward the vertical. Then the aircraft rolled inverted, split S, and dived down and exploded."
Trimble's recollection is that there was no evident enemy action and that the likely cause was mechanical failure.

The crash was not survivable. The enemy presence in the area prohibited recovery of the bodies at the time, and as of 30 May 2002 their remains have not been repatriated.

From the
USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Association


The POW Network page contains the statement that
"Machinegunmen had been waiting for the opportune time to fire on the aircraft. Portions of the rear blades were seen to separate from the aircraft and a radio transmission was received from the aircraft indicating that it had been hit."
and the Task Force Omega page states that "Capt. Bohlscheid radioed that they had been hit by machinegun fire".

No source is given for these statements, which contradict Trimble's recollection that there was no observed enemy fire or radio call stating that the aircraft had been hit.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a friend,
David Watson
30 May 2002

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 10/02/2004