David Pecor Soyland

Chief Warrant Officer
C CO, 158TH AHB, 101 ABN DIV
Army of the United States
29 April 1951 - 10 April 1978
Rapid City, South Dakota
Panel 03W Line 039


Army Aviator

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

The database page for David Pecor Soyland

26 Aug 2005

You are remembered by a fellow Army Aviator who wears your POW/MIA bracelet. May we never forget those who have served and are serving our great country.

Richard E. Eppler, CW4, USA (Ret)

Notes from The Virtual Wall

Reconnaissance Team ALASKA was inserted into the Da Krong Valley, Thua Thien Province, SVN, reportedly on 8 May 1971. The team consisted of On 17 May, while about a mile from the Laotian/SVN border northwest of Khe Sanh, the team was engaged by a larger NVA force and called for an emergency extraction. SSG Dehnke, SP5 Hollingsworth, and one Nung were killed in the fighting; Entrican and the other two Nungs attempted to evade the NVA. Surviving commando Truong Minh Long and interpreter Truong To Ha stated that they rolled downhill after a hostile search party detected them hiding in the brush. Entrican, who apparently was wounded, yelled at them to move out and try to make the pickup alone.

C Company, 158th Aviation Battalion, had been tasked with extracting the recon team and launched an assault/extraction flight from Camp Evans. One of the assault helicopters involved, UH-1H tail number 67-17607, was crewed by

  • W1 David P. Soyland, aircraft commander and pilot;
  • W1 Dale A. Pearce, copilot;
  • SP5 Harold E. Parker, crew chief; and
  • SP4 Gary A. Alcorn, door gunner.
As gunship support for the extraction, Soyland was first into the area and encountered heavy enemy fire. As he banked the aircraft to the right, it was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade which severed the tail boom, causing an immediate crash. The aircraft impacted on its right side on a slope, sliding downhill until it stopped at the bottom of the slope. Warrant Officer Pearce was killed in the crash, but the other three crewmen were able to exit the aircraft.

Heavy enemy fire precluded insertion of ground forces until the next day, when additional ground forces were inserted in an attempt to recover the survivors of both RT ALASKA and the downed Huey. SP5 Parker, SP4 Alcorn, and the two surviving Nungs were found alive. While Pearce's remains were identified the rescue party lacked the tools needed to free his body from the wreckage. The bodies of Hollingsworth, Dehnke, and the Nung trooper were recovered. SP4 Alcorn reported that he saw a man, believed to be WO Soyland, running on the crest of a nearby ridge, but although search efforts continued until 27 May the searchers were unable to locate either 1LT Entrican or WO Soyland.

Entrican and Soyland both were classed as missing in action. Enemy documents dated May 1971 were later captured and mentioned an American captured in the area, but it was impossible to determine if the documents referred to Entrican or Soyland. Both men were carried as Missing in Action until the Secretary of the Army approved Presumptive Findings of Death (Soyland on 10 Apr 1978; Entrican on 6 Dec 1978).

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009