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|Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project (919/527-8079) 01 April 1991 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Copyright 1991 Homecoming II Project.|
|SYNOPSIS: On January 19, 1970, Capt. Herbert C. Crosby, pilot; WO George A. Howes, co-pilot; SP5 Wayne C. Allen, crew chief; and SP4 Francis G. Graziosi, door gunner; were flying a UH1C helicopter (serial #66-739) as the flight lead in a flight of three helicopters returning from Tien Phuoc to the unit base at Chu Lai, South Vietnam.|
Photo furnished by Gary
differs as to the aircraft type on this incident. Some records show the aircraft type this
crew was flying as UH1H, and some show it as a UH1C. Herbert Crosby flew Charlie models
every day from at least July 1969 to January 1970. The serial number, #66-739 correlates
to a C model, the first two numbers indicating that the aircraft had been made in 1966,
and the H model only had come out a few months before this time. Although C models were
gunships, and usually flew more or less independently, while this aircraft was flying in
tight formation as flight lead, which would correlate with the H model, it has been
confirmed that the ship on which this crew was flying was definitely a Charlie model.)
At 1300 hours, the three helicopters departed Tien Phuoc. Five to ten minutes later, due to instrument flight rules, Capt. Crosby directed the flight to change to a different flight heading. When the helicopters changed frequencies to contact Chu Lai ground control approach, radio contact was lost with Capt. Crosby and was not regained.
The other two aircraft reached Chu Lai heliport, and at 1400 hours, serach efforts were begun for the missing aircraft, although the crew was not found.
According to a 1974 National League of Families report, George Howes survived the crash of this helicopter. The report further maintains that the loss occurred in Laos, although the coordinates place it some 40-odd miles from that country.
A North Vietnamese prisoner released later reported that he had seen Howes in captivity the same month the helicopter went down. A second sighting by a villager in Phuoc Chouc (or Phouc Chau) village reported Howes and two other POWs stopped for water at his house in February, 1970, en route to Laos. Whether these reports also relate to Allen, Crosby and Graziosi, is unknown.
When the last American troops left Southeast Asia in 1975, some 2500 Americans were unaccounted for. Reports received by the U.S.Government since that time build a strong case for belief that hundreds of these "unaccounted for" Americans are still alive and in captivity.
"Unaccounted for" is a term that should apply to numbers, not men. We, as a nation, owe these men our best effort to find them and bring them home. Until the fates of the men like the UH1C crew are known, their families will wonder if they are dead or alive .. and why they were deserted.
|Thanks to Ron Fleischer.|
|"All Biographical and loss information on POWs provided by Operation Just Cause have been supplied by Chuck and Mary Schantag of POWNET. Please check with POWNET regularly for updates."|
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