Robert C Link

Chief Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
10 April 1935 - 22 May 1978
Washington, District of Columbia
Panel 51E Line 022



R C Link

Army Aviator

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Robert C Link

16 Feb 1998

"Smitty" was the Maintenance Officer for the 17th Assault Helicopter Company and was shot down in the A Shau Valley on 21 April 1968 and listed as Missing In Action. On May 22, 1978, CW3 Link and several hundred other MIA's were declared by the US Government to be "dead, body not recovered".

"We shared our lives helping each other get through flight school."

From a buddy,
Max Mizejewski

Visit the
Vietnam Helicopter Flight Crew Network
and the
Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association

08 Sep 2007

I am wearing CW2 Robert Link's POW/MIA bracelet as I write this. I bought one bracelet when I was 12 years old and he, Sergeant Don P. McPhail, returned home and answered my little girl letters, as did his family. When he returned I knew I had to let another family know that someone else cared. As it turned out it was Robert Link. I have searched years for a face or family to write to. I am an art teacher as well as an artist and have thought for many years about creating a portrait of your determined, purposeful son. You can contact me:

Robert is a hero and always will be. His life, as well as all soldiers' lives, belong in a hierarchy that our country doesn't recognize. It seems almost everything else is more important!

Sandy Schwartz
9750 S. W. 75 Street, Miami, Florida

30 Dec 2007

I bought a bracelet in 4-21-68 with CW2 Robert Link to pray over. Today 12-30-07 I found that he was missing in action after all these years. I am thankful for what he did for his country, no greater love could have been shown to give his life for others freedom.

Linda Harrison

Notes from The Virtual Wall

"On May 22, 1978, CW3 Link and several hundred other MIA's were
declared by the US Government to be "dead, body not recovered".

There is a common misconception that the U. S. Government simply "wrote off" hundreds of MIA personnel with the swipe of a pen. Mr. Mizejewski's comment reflects that misconception.

In fact, Presumptive Findings of Death were issued on 22 May 1978 for three (3) MIA personnel: CW2 Robert Link and SP4 James Creamer from this incident, and WO Floyd Strange of the 48th AHC (lost 2 Dec 1967). In all of May 1978, 34 PFODs were approved - 12 Army, 3 Navy, and 19 Air Force personnel.

The service branches each had standing review boards which examined the records of MIA personnel and made recommendations with respect to continuing them as MIA or issuing a declaration of death. Not surprisingly, the review boards generally considered everyone involved in a particular incident at the same time, so that recommendations for those personnel would be forwarded at the same time.

The first PFOD was issued on 15 Jul 1963 (SSgt R. F. Parks, Army, lost 14 Jul 1962); the last in 1983 (Col W. W. Sisson, USMC, lost 18 Oct 1965). There was no "rush to judgement".


On 21 April 1968, six men of the 17th Assault Helicopter Company departed Phu Bai in a UH-1H (hull number 66-16209, piloted by Captain Floyd W. Olsen) for a recovery mission at Landing Zone Veghel. The last communication with Captain Olsen advised that the recovery mission had been canceled due to bad weather and the tactical situation around LZ Veghel. Olsen failed to return to Phu Bai, attempts to raise the aircraft by radio failed, and the aircraft could not located at other fields in the area.

Olsen's last known location was over extremely rugged, double-canopy jungle covered mountains approximately 4 miles northeast of the A Shau Valley. On 22 April, an extensive visual and electronic search was conducted from dawn until 1830 hours. Search and rescue (SAR) operations continued throughout the next week without success. At termination of the formal search the six men were placed in MIA status.

On 8 May, ARVN troops found SP5 Johnson's dog tags in a non-US 3/4-ton truck. On 25 May, a UH-1C gunship from the 101st Airborne Division sighted the tail boom of a crashed helicopter and on 26 May the downed aircraft was positively identified by its tail number. On 27 May troops from A/1/327th Inf were inserted to locate the helicopter and, if possible, recover the crew. The troops did locate the main rotor blades in a river bed 200 meters west of the tail boom, but before the cabin section could be located the troops came under enemy fire and were forced to depart the area. However, they were able to determine the helicopter was downed by anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) fire.

The LZ Sally web site gives this account:

"A UH-1H helicopter belonging to the 17th Assault Helicopter Company crashed on to LZ Veghel on April 20th. On April 21st one of the ground commanders on LZ Veghel requested the removal of this aircraft as well as a downed Marine gunship. He believed that the downed aircraft would hamper ground operations on the LZ. A UH-1H from the 17th AHC with six men aboard was sent to Veghel to rig the downed Huey for extraction. The Marines would have to okay the extraction of their aircraft. The weather around Veghel was overcast with fog and low clouds. While the one Huey was over the vicinity of Veghel the remainder of the 17th AHC was flying a combat assault in the area. At about 1500 hours the maintenance aircraft was told that the extraction mission was cancelled, and this radio transmission was acknowledged . That was the last contact that anyone would have with the lone Huey. Parts of the missing aircraft would later be seen scattered over an area located about 5 kilometers from LZ Veghel. It had apparently exploded in mid-air after being hit by enemy anti-aircraft artillery. Neither the remains of the crew nor any of their personal effects have ever been found.
The missing men were
  • CWO Robert C. Link, Washington, DC, pilot (05/22/1978)
  • CPT Floyd W. Olsen, Wheaton, IL, copilot (05/01/1978)
  • SP5 Larry C. Jamerson, Rosman, NC, gunner (08/13/1974)
  • SP4 Frankie B. Johnson, Fountain Inn, SC, crew chief (07/24/1978)
  • SSG Lyle E. MacKedanz, Hutchinson, MN, passenger/technician (08/28/1974)
  • SP4 James E. Creamer, North Branford, CT, passenger/technician (05/22/1978)
The Secretary of the Army eventually approved Presumptive Findings of Death for all six men on the dates shown above. The remains of the six men have not been repatriated.

More information is available on the
POW Network
Task Force Omega

Note: Most accounts contain two errors:
  • The spelling of LZ Veghel (later Fire Support Base Veghel) is incorrectly shown as "Zeghel".
  • The flight's point of departure is given as Phu Cat rather than Phu Bai.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 16 Feb 1998
Last updated 08/10/2009