David Hugh Holmes

Lieutenant Colonel
United States Air Force
26 March 1938 - 06 November 1978
Belmont, Massachusetts
Panel 06E Line 010


O-1 Birddog

USAF Pilot

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

The database page for David Hugh Holmes

26 Mar 2006

I wore Captain Holmes' MIA bracelet.
He is not forgotten.

Barbara Ondash
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

A Note from The Virtual Wall

As the the air interdiction effort against the Ho Chi Minh Trail intensified, the need for and use of forward air controllers likewise increased - but Laos was an unfriendlier place than South Vietnam in terms of the threat from antiaircraft artillery. The 22nd Tactical Air Support Squadron established a detachment at Khe Sanh to provide FAC coverage along the central part of the Trail.

On 15 March 1966, Captain David M. Holmes departed Khe Sanh in O-1E tail number 56-2530 to look for targets along Route 9 in Laos - and he found them, both troops and trucks. In turn, he was found by one or more of the half-dozen 37mm antiaircraft standing guard over the truck park and was downed by 37mm fire. A second O-1 was on-scene almost at once, and its pilot sighted Captain Holmes still in his aircraft. Before search and rescue efforts could get well underway, an Army OV-1 Mohawk from the 20th ASTA Detachment arrived in the valley - and it too was shot down by 37mm fire.

The combination of two downed aircraft, enemy troop concentrations and trucks, and AAA sites got everyone's attention and tactical air strikes were called in without delay, beginning an air-ground fight that lasted until dark. The search and rescue efforts were carried out under the umbrella of TACAIR strikes, but were fruitless - there was no contact with any of the three Americans from the downed aircraft.

On 16 March a BRIGHT LIGHT force was inserted and reached Holmes' O-1, but found no trace of Holmes himself. When SAR efforts were halted two days later all three aircrewmen were classed as missing in action.

David Holmes was carried as MIA, and promoted while in that status, until the Secretary of the Air Force approved a Presumptive Finding of Death on 06 Nov 1978, 12-1/2 years after the incident.


The Army OV-1A (tail number 63-13124) was flown by LTC Glenn D. McElroy of Sidney, Illinois, and CPT John M. Nash of Tipton, Indiana. The first annual Army review board concluded that all available evidence indicated the two men had died in the incident and recommended they be declared dead. The Secretary of the Army concurred with the board's findings, and Presumptive Findings of Death were issued on 16 March 1967, a year and a day after the incident.

The POW Network reports that

"Just over 20 years from the day the two aircraft went down, U.S. teams had the opportunity to examine and excavate the crash site of Nash and McElroy's OV1A. There was no shred of evidence that anyone died in the aircraft. No human remains or bone fragments were found."
None of the three men has returned to US control.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Barbara Ondash
E-Mail may be forwarded via the
26 Mar 2006

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 03/28/2006