Lyle Everett Mackedanz
Sergeant First Class
17TH AHC, 10TH AVN BN, 16TH AVN GROUP, 1ST AVIATION BDE, USARV
Army of the United States
Hutchinson, Minnesota
September 16, 1939 to August 28, 1974
(Incident Date April 21, 1968)
LYLE E MACKEDANZ is on the Wall at Panel 51E, Line 22

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Lyle E Mackedanz
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Lyle E Mackedanz

SFC LYLE EVERETT MACKEDANZ

 
23 Jul 2008

I have recently received an MIA Bracelet in the post from America, it is for SFC Lyle E Mackedanz who went missing on 21 Apr 1968 (I was just over a year old). I found that Lyle is listed on The Virtual Wall along with Floyd Warren Olsen, Lieutenant Colonel who also went missing when their helicopter crashed but that he did not have his own listing, that I have now I hope put right. Lyle will not be forgotten.

Nigel Sheridan
E-mail address is not available.


 

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On 21 April 1968, six men of the 17th Assault Helicopter Company departed Phu Bai in a UH-1H (hull number 66-16209, commanded by CPT Floyd W. Olsen) for a recovery mission at Landing Zone Veghel. The last communication with 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
  • CPT Floyd W. Olsen, Wheaton, IL, pilot (05/01/1978)
  • CWO Robert C. Link, Washington, DC, copilot (05/22/1978)
  • 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.



The Library of Congress has been directed to make certain documentation regarding Vietnam POW/MIA personnel available to the public. One such document reports on a search conducted in late May 2005 for 66-16209's crash site. While the search was not successful, the report contains the following statement:
"[The team] proceeded on foot for approximately 300 meters to another area, where the local residents claim they discovered various pieces of aircraft wreckage. En route to the site, [the team] came upon a concrete memorial tablet for [name redacted] which was built by the local residents in appreciation of [name redacted] family members' donations to build a local clinic in Con Tom hamlet. The tablet is approximately fifteen meters from the reported crash site."



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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