John Charles Hosken

Chief Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
23 August 1947 - 28 August 1978
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Panel 12W Line 039


Army Aviator

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

The database page for John Charles Hosken

03 Jun 2001

May we never forget the sacrifice of the men and women who served in the Vietnam War. They fought and died for their country's honor. May God bless all of them, living and deceased, wherever they are ...

Lynn Wittman Fortune

22 May 2006


by someone who wears his MIA bracelet,
Cheryl Taylor
26 Sep 2007

I wore John Hosken's bracelet in high school faithfully... I am now 52, a grandmother, and found the bracelet still kept safe in my drawer. I am also in ministry as a Chaplain for Prison ministry. I have now found out he was a hero as they all were for our USA and not recognized. God bless him ... and his family. I see he passed on in 1978, the year my son was born. I wish I could of met him.

Jan Damir

From The Virtual Wall:
WO Hosken's date of death given above - 28 Aug 1978 - is the date he was legally declared dead. Since his remains were recovered from the helo wreckage in 1995, it is clear the actual date of death was 24 Mar 1970.

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On March 24, 1970, helicopters from the 170th were sent to extract a Special Forces long-range reconnaissance patrol (LRRP) team which was in contact with the enemy about fourteen miles inside Cambodia in Ratanokiri Province. RED LEAD, one of two extraction helicopters, was commanded by James E. Lake. Captain Michael D. O'Donnell was the aircraft commander of one of the two cover aircraft (serial #68-15262, RED THREE). His crew consisted of WO John C. Hosken, pilot; SP4 Rudy M. Beccera, crew chief; and SP4 Berman Ganoe, gunner.

The MACV-SOG team included 1LT Jerry L. Pool, team leader and team members SSGT John A. Boronsky and SGT Gary A. Harned as well as five indigenous team members. The team had been in contact with the enemy all night and had been running and ambushing, but the hunter team pursuing them was relentless and they were exhausted and couldn't continue to run much longer. When Lake and O'Donnell arrived at the team's location, there was no landing zone (LZ) nearby and they were unable to extract them immediately. The helicopters waited in a high orbit over the area until the team could move to a more suitable extraction point.

While the helicopters were waiting, they were in radio contact with the team. After about 45 minutes in orbit, Lake received word from LT Pool that the NVA hunter team was right behind them. RED LEAD made a quick trip to Dak To for refueling. RED THREE was left on station in case of an emergency.

As Lake was returning to the site, Pool advised if the team wasn't extracted at once it would be too late. Capt. O'Donnell evaluated the situation and decided to pick them up. He landed on the LZ and was on the ground for about 4 minutes, and then transmitted that he had the entire team of eight on board. The aircraft was beginning its ascent when it was hit by enemy fire, and an explosion in the aircraft was seen. The helicopter continued in flight for about 300 meters, then another explosion occurred causing the aircraft to crash in the jungle.

The second explosion was followed by a yellow flash and a cloud of black smoke billowing from the jungle. A wingman made a high-speed pass over the site and came under fire, but made it away unscathed.

Lake decided to go down and see if there was a way to get to the crash site. As he neared the ground, he was met with intense ground fire from the entire area. He could not see the crash site since it was under heavy tree cover. There was no place to land, and the ground fire was withering. He elected to return the extract team to Dak To before more aircraft were lost.

The Army account concludes stating that O'Donnell's aircraft began to burn immediately upon impact. Aerial search and rescue efforts began immediately; however, no signs of life could be seen around the crash site. Because of the enemy situation, attempts to insert search teams into the area were futile. SAR efforts were discontinued on April 18. Search and rescue teams who surveyed the site reported that they did not hold much hope for survival for the men aboard, but lacking proof that they were dead, the Army declared all 7 Americans missing in action.

As of 3 June 2001, WO John C. Hoskens' remains have not been repatriated.

From the
A full description of the action is on the
Special Operations Site

Twelve men were aboard UH-1H 68-15262 when it went down:
  • Aircrew, 170th AHC:
  • RT Pennsylvania:
    • CPT Jerry L. Pool, Freeport, IL (11/13/1978)
    • SFC John A. Boronski, Ware, MA (11/27/1978)
    • SFC Gary A. Harned, Springboro, PA (11/13/1978)
    • Five indigenous troops
The seven Americans were carried as MIA until the Secretary of the Army approved Presumptive Findings of Death on the dates noted above - and so matters stood for two decades.

The remains of the men lost in this crash were repatriated on 12 Apr 1995. DNA tests confirmed individual identification for four Americans - MAJ Michael O'Donnell, CWO John Hosken, SSGT Rudy Becerra, and SSGT Berman Ganoe, Jr. The three other Americans - CPT Jerry Poole, SFC John Boronski, and SFC Gary Harned - could not be individually identified; their presence aboard the helicopter and among the unidentifiable remains was based on circumstantial evidence. The recovery and identification of the remains was made pubic on 20 June 2001.

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

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 3 Jun 2001
Last updated 06/12/2008