Kurt Elton La Plant
Lance Corporal
MORTAR PLT, H&S CO, 1ST BN, 4TH MARINES, 3RD MARDIV, III MAF
United States Marine Corps
Lenexa, Kansas
December 11, 1948 to June 06, 1968
KURT E LA PLANT is on the Wall at Panel W59, Line 6

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Combat Action Ribbon
 
Kurt E La Plant
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Kurt E La Plant

LCPL KURT ELTON LA PLANT

 
31 May 2003

I have been wearing a "Missing in Action" bracelet for Kurt LaPlant since 1988. Although I was not born when he was listed as missing in action I have worn this bracelet faithfully to show that my generation does care. Semper Fi!

Lisa Lanham



26 Jul 2005

I was recently contacted by someone who knew Kurt LaPlant and she was able to give me an idea of who he was and what he looked like. After 17 years I finally have an image of him in my mind. Thank you Judy for taking the time to contact me, you'll never know how much it means to me. Lisa



Lisa Lanham
taz1357@msn.com

 
25 May 2006

My brother, LCpl Luis F. Palacios, was on this helicopter with Kurt.

From the start of Memorial Day until June 6th my thoughts are always of these men and my brother.

We will never forget you. To Kurt's family, one day we will have answers. May God Bless You All.

From LCpl Palacios' sister,
Yolanda Montiel
nanayoli@cableone.net


 

Notes from The Virtual Wall

There is considerable confusion with respect to the 06 June 1968 downing of a Marine CH-46A aircraft which resulted in the deaths of 13 Marine infantrymen.

The confusion begins with the aircraft itself. The USMC Vietnam Helicopter Association site states that the aircraft lost was HMM-165's CH-46A BuNo 152533, but the VHPA database of helicopter losses indicates that BuNo 152533 survived until at least 27 March 1969, since there is a maintenance record for it as of that date. The POW Network associates the loss with HMM-165's CH-46A BuNo 151940 and the VHPA database concurs, showing that 151940 was a loss to inventory on 06 June 1968, shot down while conducting an emergency extraction.

The next point of confusion is with respect to who was aboard 151940 when it went down. The Task Force Omega (TFO) site lists 13 Marines, as does the USMC site, while the POW Network bio lists only four men whose bodies were not recovered, and TFO mis-identifies one of the Marines as Cpl William R. Elbert. The casualty database identifies 13 Marines who died in the crash and corrects TFO's error: he actually is Cpl William R. Ebright.

Finally, TFO confuses the CH-46A with an Army UH-1H copiloted by WO1 James L. Caufman; that aircraft, callsign "Chicken Man 22" picked up the CH-46's four-man crew, all of whom were severely injured but survived the crash.

What is not in dispute is that Marines from the 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, were in a jam on 06 June 1968, engaged by a considerably superior North Vietnamese Army force in the vicinity of Khe Sanh. The ground commander requested an emergency extraction and an airborne CH-46 from HMM-165 responded. As the CH-46 lifted off it came under enemy fire and crashed on a hillside, then rolled down the hill and came to rest in a gulley. The area around the crash had been sprayed with defoliants, so that the wreckage could be seen without difficulty - but the crash site still was surrounded by leafless trees.

A Marine Forward Air Controller, "Fingerprint 22", spotted four survivors outside the wreckage and requested immediate helo support. An Army UH-1, "Chicken Man 22", responded and proceeded toward the crash site. On arrival, the FAC advised that A-1 ground attack aircraft were inbound for tactical support, and the Huey crew could see several hundred NVA troops approaching the crash site from several directions - and could see the injured CH-46 crewmen, clearly unable to move. It was impossible for the Huey to land next to the wreckage, but there was an opening in the trees some distance away. The Huey crew agreed that the Huey would touch down, its crew chief and gunner would dismount and go to the crash site to assist the survivors ... and that's what they did. Although the A-1s did their best to suppress the enemy, the Huey and the men on the ground remained under enemy fire for some time - long enough for the two Huey cremen to make two trips from the landing site to the wreckage. The four CH-46 crewmen were then lifted to the Khe Sanh medevac pad. The two Huey crewmen also had checked the CH-46 wreckage, ensuring that there were no survivors within the cabin section.

Within an hour and a half, a search and recovery (SAR) team was inserted into the crash site. They were able to recover the bodies of eight men, but lacked the equipment needed to extract the other five men from the wreckage. Another effort later in June led to the recovery of another body, but four men had to be left entombed in the CH-46. The 13 Marines who died in the crash are

  • Remains recovered:
    • PFC Paul E. Burgard, D/1/4
    • Cpl William R. Ebright, C/1/4
    • LCpl Felix F. Flores, C/1/4
    • LCpl William E. Hannings, C/1/4
    • PFC Catarino Morelos, Jr., C/1/4
    • LCpl Lawrence E. Porter, C/1/4
    • PFC Donald S. Satter, H&S/1/4
    • PFC Jonathan L. Stoops, H&S/1/4
    • PFC Eugene Wilson, C/1/4.


  • Remains not recovered:
    • LCpl Ralph L. Harper, C/1/4
    • LCpl Kurt E. La Plant, C/1/4
    • LCpl Luis F. Palacios, C/1/4
    • PFC Jose R. Sanchez, H&S/1/4

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