NH Vietnam POW
FRANK NEIL BADOLATI
Rank/Branch:E6/US Army Special Forces
Unit:HQ & HQ Company, 5th Special Forces Group
Date of Birth:19 March 1933 (New York, NY)
Home City of Record:Goffstown NH
Date of Loss:29 January 1966
Country of Loss:South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates:143704N 1085242E (BS719172)
Status (in 1973):Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel In Incident:
Cecil J. Hodgson; Ronald T. Terry (both missing); Wiley W. Grey(survived); (other survivors)
Source:Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 June 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
REMARKS:BAD WOUND-PROBABLY BLED TO DEATH-J
SYNOPSIS: Frank N. Badaloti and Ronald T. Terry were riflemen on a Special Forces reconnaissance team operating in An Lao Valley of Binh Dinh Province 12 miles west of Tam Quan in South Vietnam when his team was split during a firefight. The patrol came under enemy fire on the afternoon of 28 January 1966 during which time Badolatib was hit. Cecil Hodgson, the patrol leader, from Detachment B52 Delta, was apparently treating Badolati's wounds as the patrol traveled in small groups from the location where Badolati was hit. Badolati was with two other individuals who survived, and as he was too badly wounded to continue, the three remained for about two hours in their position.
Badolati's condition worsened, and when the two survivors left the area, they reported that Badolati was dead. They had no choice but to leave his body behind.
Hodgson and Terry evaded for the rest of the day. On January 29, they moved at first light into a defensive position, whereupon they encountered enemy forces and another firefight ensued. Terry indicated that he had been hit, and others thought he had been killed. When they looked for Hodgson, he was gone. Survivors heard additional shots, which they believed were shots fired at Hodgson, and they believed he also had been killed.
The team could not search for Hodgson because of the heavy enemy activity, and were forced to move to a rallying point. They evaded capture for the remainder of the day, and were ultimately picked up by helicopter.
Searches for all three missing were conducted for the next 4 days with no results. Hodgson was classified Missing In Action. Badolati and Terry were classified:
Killed/Body Not Recovered.
Since the end of the war, over 10,000 reports relating to American prisoners, missing or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S Government. Many authorities who have reviewed this intelligence material, including a former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, believe that hundreds of Americans are still alive, held captive. Hodgson could be among them. If alive, what must he be thinking of us?
Cecil J. Hodgson was promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant during the period he was maintained missing.
QUINTEN EMILE MULLEAVEY
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Date of Birth: 16 December 1948
Home City of Record: North Woodstock NH
Date of Loss: 29 January 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: BR943909
Status (in 1973): AWOL
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
SYNOPSIS: In Vietnam, military experts devised a system to try to relieve the battle fatigue experienced in earlier wars by those who served long tours with their units intact. In Vietnam, soldiers were rotated after roughly one-year tours. The practice had noble intent, but it served to isolate the soldier and interrupted continuity. Virtually as soon as a man learned the ropes, he was shipped home and a green replacement arrived to fill the gap. Some were quite literally, in the jungles one day and at home the next. The emotional impact was terrific and thousands of veterans are dealing with it two decades later. Vietnam was also a limited political war, and had peculiar problems: a vague enemy, restrictive rules of engagement, an uncertain objective, non-military State Department minds directing many aspects of the war. In certain periods of the war, military morale was lower than perhaps any other time in our history.
Adding to these factors was the extremely young age of the average soldier shipped to Vietnam. For example, the average combatant's age in World War II was 25 years, while Vietnam soldiers were 19. The young fighters became jaded -- or old -- or died -- long before their time.
For various reasons, some soldiers deserted or even defected to the enemy. Their counterparts in the U.S. fled to Canada, manufactured physical or mental problems, or extended college careers to escape the draft.
There are only a handful of American deserters or AWOL (Absent Without Leave) maintained on missing lists. At least one of these was known to have fallen in love with a woman whom he later learned was a communist. Another fled because he had scrapped with a superior and feared the consequences. This man was ultimately declared dead, and his AWOL record expunged.
There is little information regarding those listed as AWOL on the missing lists. For instance, SP4 Quinten E. Mulleavey disappeared on January 29, 1968. Through the years since then, Mulleavey's name has appeared and disappeared from U.S. Government missing lists. At times, he is listed as AWOL, others not. U.S. Army records as of 1988 indicate his status is AWOL. Details concerning his disappearance are not public information. Without this information, it is impossible to know if Mulleavey deserted.
Some of the reports among the over 10,000 received relating to Americans missing or prisoner in Southeast Asia have to do with deserters, although there is no evidence they have been asked if they want to come home. In light of the amnesty granted draft dodgers by the United States Government, can we be less forgiving of them?
On April 3rd 1968 Quenten Mulleavey of the United States army disappeared. His name does not appear on the dia pow list dated October 11, 1979. Nor does it appear on the chronological list dated April 1980. His name does appear on the brightlights list, dated April 1988, with the case number 2057. (Note: this case number was assigned out of sequence. It was not assigned at the time of loss, but well after the war ended, probably in the late 1980's.) The description following his name reads "missing (w)." Translation: "carried by service as dead but jcrc analysis indicates individual to have been a defector/ collaborator, now carried as dead."
Let's see if jtf-fa (formerly jcrc) can explain this?. Message traffic 200315z Jul 92 (July 20 1992 3:15 a.m.) "subj: summary report of 18th joint field activity in Vietnam 19 Jun-18 Jul 92." Page 21 item e: "case 2057: on 14 and 15 Jul 92, ie3 interview two witnesses who provided information germane to case 2057. The interviews were conducted in the My Duc village people's committee house, Phu my district. The witnesses provided corroborating firsthand testimony regarding the capture and death and subsequent burial of an American serviceman during the dry season of 1967 or 1968. The American was lured along the beach by the female witness to a village where he was taken into custody. The American was shot and killed as u.s. armored forces approached the area where he was being held. The witness led the team to the area of the alleged burial site whist is located in a 6x10 meter area of a plowed field. The site will be recommended for recovery.
Quenten Mulleavey -- poor judgment, probably.... Deserter, hardly. Yet, the U.S. government carried him in a deserter status until well into the late 1980's.
In 1980 the Army changed his status to killed in action with Honorable Discharge.
CLYDE DOUGLAS ALLOWAY
TSGT - Air Force - Regular
32 year old Married, Caucasian, Male
Born on 10/18/37
From PORTSMOUTH, NEW HAMPSHIRE
His tour of duty began on 06/07/70
Casualty was on 06/07/70
in OFFSHORE, MILITARY REGION 1, SOUTH VIETNAM
Non-Hostile, died missing
FIXED WING - CREW
AIR LOSS CRASH AT SEA
Body was not recovered
Panel 09W - - Line 22
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action Combat Casualty File.
CACCF states crashed offshore MR1. Alloway was part of the aircrew.
No further information available at this time.
ROBERT JOSEPH SULLIVAN
Rank/Branch: E7/US Army Special Forces
Unit: C & C Detachment
Date of Birth: 19 November 1936 (Fall River MA)
Home City of Record: East Alstead NH
Date of Loss: 12 July 1967
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 161901N 1070216E (YD177031)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel In Incident: Samuel Almendariz (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
SYNOPSIS: During their war with the French, the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong (then called Viet Minh) discovered that the ideal way to keep supplies and troops moving between the two parts of the country was to move through the neutral countries of Laos and Cambodia. During U.S. involvement in Indochina, the United States was forbidden to conduct war there because of the 1962 Geneva accords which protected the two countries' neutrality. It became apparent, however, that clandestine operations had to be conducted in Laos and Cambodia to prevent the enemy from having a free hand in troop and equipment mobility. At first these operations were very secret, to the extent that records were "altered" to show operations in South Vietnam, but later in the war were conducted with relative openness.
SFC Almendariz and SFC Sullivan were on such a mission in Laos on 12 July, 1967.
Their reconnaissance team, consisting of three Americans and 8 indigenous personnel, was operating just inside Laos in the extreme southeast portion of Savannakhet Province when the team came under attack. From 1100 hours until 1600 hours that day, the team was under heavy attack and attempting to evade.
Only one of the Americans was rescued, and he reported that both Almendariz and Sullivan had been mortally wounded. On July 16, a search force went back to the area of contact, but were unable to locate the bodies of either man. Almendariz and Sullivan were listed as killed, body not recovered.
Almendariz and Sullivan are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Although the Pathet Lao stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of prisoners, not one prisoner held in Laos was ever released.
Since American involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, over 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in Indochina have been received by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having examined this largely classified information, have reluctantly concluded that many Americans are still alive today, held captive by our long-ago enemy. Although Almendariz and Sullivan, apparently, are not among them, they could be accounted for. More importantly, anyone who is still alive must be brought home.
ALBERT LINWOOD PAGE, JR.
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Da Nang AB SV
Date of Birth: 28 June 1935
Home City of Record: Derry NH
Date of Loss: 06 August 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 171300N 1070200E (YE162045)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident: Donald R. Kemmerer (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Date Compiled: 15 March 1990
SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.
Capt. Donald R. Kemmerer and Capt. Albert L. Page, Jr. were co-pilots of an F4C fighter jet dispatched from Da Nang on a strike mission over North Vietnam on August 6, 1967. Their aircraft was the lead plane in a two-aircraft flight. When Page and Kemmerer were over the target, their aircraft was seen to be hit by hostile fire. Page and Kemmerer radioed that they were ejecting while the aircraft was still near the target area. One engine was observed to be on fire, and the aircraft crashed in the water. The flight was, at that time, about 10 miles north of the city of Vinh Linh in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. The aircraft crashed less than 5 miles offshore. No parachutes had been observed exiting the failing aircraft, nor had emergency radio beeper signals been heard. It was not certain if either crewman safely exited the aircraft, but as death was not confirmed, the two were classified Missing in Action.
Since American involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in Indochina have been received by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having examined this largely classified information, have reluctantly concluded that many Americans are still alive today, held captive by our long-ago enemy.
Whether Page and Kemmerer survived the over-water crash of their aircraft to be captured by the multitude of enemy fishing and military vessels often found along the coastline is certain not known. It is not known if they might be among those thought to be still alive today. What is certain, however, is that as long as even one American remains alive, held against his will, we owe him our very best efforts to bring him to freedom.
GERALD ROBERT HELMICH
COL - Air Force - Regular
46 year old Married, Caucasian, Male
Born on 11/17/31
From MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE
His tour of duty began on 11/12/69
Casualty was on 09/01/78 in LAOS
Hostile, died while missing
FIXED WING - PILOT
AIR LOSS, CRASH ON LAND
Body was not recovered
Panel 16W - - Line 64
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A1H #139821
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action Combat Casualty File.
SYNOPSIS: With its fantastic capability to carry a wide range of ordnance (8,000 pounds of external armament), great flight range (out to 3,000 miles), and the ability to absorb punishment, the single-seat Douglas A1 Skyraider became one of the premier performers in the close air support and attack mission role (nickname: Spad) and RESCAP mission role (nickname: Sandy). The Skyraider served the Air Force, Navy and Marines faithfully throughout the war in Southeast Asia.
On 12 November 1969, then Major Gerald R. Helmich was the pilot of an A1H, call sign "Spad 02," that was scrambled to assist in the overall search and recovery (SAR) mission for the crew of "Owl 07," a 2-man Army helicopter downed the day before; then later the same morning, for the crew of an F4E aircraft shot down during the first rescue effort. Spad flight departed Pleiku Airbase at 0726 hours as the # 2 aircraft in a flight of two. Their planned flight path was from Pleiku to rendezvous with other aircraft participating in the SAR operation, then return to Pleiku. Those aircraft included the Forward Air Controller (FAC), the rescue helicopter, and at least 6 other A1Hs.
The location of loss was approximately 60 miles due west of the major communist port city of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam; 1 mile south of Ban Senphan and 15 miles southwest of the Lao/North Vietnamese border, Khammouan Province, Laos. Another description of the loss location placed it 6 kilometers south-southwest of Ban Phanop, 600 meters southeast of Ban Senphan and 300 meters east of Route 23. The Nam Mo River ran parallel to and approximately 1 mile south of Route 23. To the west of the loss location, a tributary of the Nam Mo River branched off and meandered to the south-southeast through the jungle covered valley.
The highest terrain feature within 5 miles of the loss location was 2,300 feet with 6,000-foot mountains to the north, then the mountain range wrapped around to both the east and west. The area in which the downed helicopter crew was hiding was relatively level and densely forested surrounded by villages. In the early morning hours during the first rescue attempt, low stratus clouds collected around the mountaintops. In the valley it was clear with only a slight haze existing in the immediate target area. Visibility was 8 to 10 miles.
At 0455 hours, as the SAR helicopter, call sign "Jolly Green 09," was recovering the first crewman of Owl 07, a flight of 2 F4Es, call signs "Packard 01 and 02," were attacking an enemy helicopter that was attempting to interfere with the recovery operation. Capt. Jon K. Bodahl, pilot, and Capt. Harry W. Smith, weapons systems officer, comprised the aircrew of Packard 01. As they maneuvered to obtain an acceptable angle of attack while dodging intense enemy 37mm anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) fire, Packard 01 was struck by AAA fire and seen to crash 2 meters south of a ford along the Nam Mo River.
SAR efforts for the second helicopter crewman were temporarily suspended while an initial search was conducted for Capt. Bodahl and Capt. Smith. At the same time other aircraft under the control of the FAC, call sign "King 07," assaulted communist AAA sites, automatic and heavy weapons positions, and troop concentrations hidden in the dense jungle. US aircraft used bombs, rockets, CBU-22s (cluster bomb units) and strafing runs in an effort to contain the communists' ability to further interfere with overall US operations. These efforts were successful enough that another rescue attempt to recover the second crewman from Owl 07 was attempted. During this time weather conditions improved to a clear sky with 10 plus miles visibility.
After transporting the helicopter crewman rescued during the early morning operation to a US base in South Vietnam, Jolly Green 09 returned to the ongoing SAR operation. As the Jolly Green's crew prepared to enter the recovery area for the second helicopter crewman, it's pilot directed Major Helmich and his flight leader to place CBU-22 and WP smoke, between them and the intense enemy small arms and heavy weapons fire. Jolly Green 09 moved in and successfully recovered the downed crewman at the same time Major Helmich made his attack pass.
Witnesses observed Spad 02 in various phases of flight from a bomb run to impact, but no one witness observed the entire sequence of events. According to these statements, Spad 02 was observed by another A1H pilot, call sign "Sandy 13," as he began his run. As Gerald Helmich continued to press forward, his aircraft started a right roll with its nose dropping. At 1010 hours, other Americans caught sight of Major Helmich's aircraft in a 45-degree dive and 135 degree angle of bank nearly inverted when it impacted the ground and exploded. The crash took place in an area that had been subjected to intense ground fire from small arms, automatic weapons fire and from AAA. One of the Sandy pilots's reported in his witness statement that he "put a pod of rockets into a clump of trees (near the wreckage of Gerald Helmich's aircraft) to suppress enemy ground fire, then pulled off into the same smoke layer." Spad 01 made a low pass over the wreckage of his wingman, but the flight leader detected no sign of life.
In the confusion of battle, no parachute was seen departing the damaged Skyraider and no emergency beeper was heard. In spite of the witness statements, the Air Force believed there was a possibility that he could have survived only to be captured immediately. Spad 01 and two other A1H aircraft, Sandy 11 and 12, stayed in the area for 1 to 3 hours attempting to locate the pilot. Major Helmich's A1H was downed approximately 1 mile southeast of Capt. Bodahl and Capt. Smith's F4E Phantom.
King 07, the on site FAC, continuing to search for Gerald Helmich, Jon Bodahl and Harry Smith for the rest of the day. An electronic search also continued until 1430 hours the next day and was suspended due to a lack of an objective. At that time formal search operations were terminated, Gerald Helmich was listed Missing in Action.
Gerald Helmich is among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many of these men were known to be alive on the ground. The Laotians admitted holding "tens of tens" of American Prisoners of War, but these men were never negotiated for either by direct negotiation between our countries or through the Paris Peace Accords which ended the War in Vietnam since Laos was not a party to that agreement.
Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE American Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
Pilots in Vietnam and Laos were call upon to fly in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.
PHILIP JOSEPH STICKNEY
Rank/Branch: E3/US Air Force
Unit: 61st Troop Carrier Squadron, DaNang Airbase
Date of Birth: 23 December 1937
Home City of Record: Manchester NH
Date of Loss: 31 May 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 194857N 1052924E (WG510910)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
REMAINS ID'D FEB 2004 AND BURIED IN ARK
Personnel In Incident: April 3 1965: Herschel S. Morgan; Raymond A. Vohden (released POWs); George C. Smith (missing). April 4, 1965: Walter F. Draeger; James A. Magnusson (missing); Carlyle S. Harris (released POW); September 16, 1965: J. Robinson Risner (released POW); May 31, 1966: Bobbie J. Alberton; William R. Edmondson; Emmett McDonald; Armon Shingledecker; Philip J. Stickney; (missing from the C-130E); Thomas Case; Harold J. Zook; Elroy Harworth (remains returned from the C130E). Dayton Ragland; Ned Herrold (missing on an F-4C)
REMARKS: ALL CREW DEAD/FBIS
SYNOPSIS: The Thanh Hoa Railroad and Highway Bridge, spanning the Song Ma River, is located three miles north of Thanh Hoa, the capital of Annam Province, North Vietnam. It is a replacement for the original French-built bridge destroyed by the Viet Minh in 1945 - they simply loaded two locomotives with explosives and ran them together in the middle of the bridge.
In 1957, the North Vietnamese rebuilt the bridge. The new bridge, completed in 1964, was 540 feet long, 56 feet wide, and about 50 feet above the river. The Vietnamese called it Ham Rong (the Dragon's Jaw), and Ho Chi Minh himself attended its dedication. The bridge had two steel thru-truss spans which rested in the center on a massive reinforced concrete pier 16 feet in diameter, and on concrete abutments at the other ends. Hills on both sides of the river provided solid bracing for the structure. Between 1965 and 1972, eight concrete piers were added near the approaches to give additional resistance to bomb damage. A one-meter guage single railway track ran down the 12 foot wide center and 22 foot wide concrete highways were cantilevered on each side. This giant would prove to be one of the single most challenging targets for American air power in Veitnam. 104 American pilots were shot down over a 75 square mile area around the Dragon during the war. (Only the accounts of those specifically known to be involved in major strikes against the bridge are given here. Some losses were aircraft involved in operations against other targets. Note also, that because aircraft came in on this target from a wide geographic area, some personnel lost outside the 75 mile range may have been inadvertently overlooked in this study.)
In March 1965 the decision to interdict the North Vietnamese rail system south of the 20th parallel led immediately to the April 3, 1965 strike against the Thanh Hoa Bridge. Lt.Col. Robinson Risner was designated overall mission coordinator for the attack. He assembled a force consisting of 79 aircraft - 46 F105's, 21 F100's, 2 RF101's and 10 KC135 tankers. The F100's came from bases in South Vietnam, while the rest of the aircraft were from squadrons TDY at various Thailand bases.
Sixteen of the 46 "Thuds" (F105) were loaded with pairs of Bullpup missiles, and each of the remaining 30 carried eight 750 lb. general purpose bombs. The aircraft that carried the missiles and half of the bombers were scheduled to strike the bridge; the remaining 15 would provide flak suppression. The plan called for individual flights of four F105's from Koran and Takhli which would be air refueled over the Mekong River before tracking across Laos to an initial point (IP) three minutes south of the bridge. After weapon release, the plan called for all aircraft to continue east until over the Gulf of Tonkin where rejoin would take place and a Navy destroyer would be available to recover anyone who had to eject due to battle damage or other causes. After rejoin, all aircraft would return to their bases, hopefully to the tune of "The Ham Rong Bridge if falling down."
Shortly after noon on April 3, aircraft of Rolling Thunder Mission 9-Alpha climbed into Southeast Asia skies on their journey to the Thanh Hoa Bridge. The sun glinting through the haze was making the target somewhat difficult to acquire, but Risner led the way "down the chute" and 250 pound missiles were soon exploding on the target. Since only one Bullpup missile could be fired at a time, each pilot had to make two firing passes.
On his second pass, LtCol. Risner's aircraft took a hit just as the Bullpup hit the bridge. Fighting a serious fuel leak and a smoke-filled cockpit in addition to anti-aircraft fire from the enemy, he nursed his crippled aircraft to Da Nang and to safety. The Dragon would not be so kind on another day.
The first two flights had already left the target when Capt. Bill Meyerholt, number three man in the third flight, rolled his Thunderchief into a dive and sqeezed off a Bullpup. The missile streaked toward the bridge, and as smoke cleared from the previous attacks, Capt. Meyerholt was shocked to see no visible damage to the bridge. The Bullpups were merely charring the heavy steel and concrete structure. The remaining missile attacks confirmed that firing Bullpups at the Dragon was about as effective as shooting BB pellets at a Sherman tank.
The bombers, undaunted, came in for their attack, only to see their payload drift to the far bank because of a very strong southwest wind. 1Lt. George C. Smith's F100D was shot down near the target point as he suppressed flak. The anti-aircraft resistance was much stronger than anticipated. No radio contact could be made with Smith, nor could other aircraft locate him. 1Lt. Smith was listed Missing In Action, and no further word has been heard of him.
The last flight of the day, led by Capt. Carlyle S. "Smitty" Harris, adjusted their aiming points and scored several good hits on the roadway and super structure. Smitty tried to assess bomb damage, but could not because of the smoke coming from the Dragon's Jaw. The smoke would prove to be an ominous warning of things to come.
LtCdr. Raymond A. Vohden was north of the Dragon when his A4C bomber was shot down. Ray was captured by the North Vietnamese and held in various POW camps in and near Hanoi until his release in February 1973. (It is not entirely clear that this U.S. Navy Lt.Cdr. had a direct role in the attack on the bridge, but was probably "knocked out" by the same anti-aircraft fire.)
Capt. Herschel S. Morgan's RF101 was hit and went down some 75 miles southwest of the target area, seriously injuring the pilot. Capt. Morgan was captured and held in and around Hanoi until his release in February 1973.
When the smoke cleared, observer aircraft found that the bridge still spanned the river. Thirty-two Bullpups and ten dozen 750 pound bombs had been aimed at the bridge and numerous hits had charred every part of the structure, yet it showed no sign of going down. A restrike was ordered for the next day. The following day, flights with call signs "Steel", "Iron", "Copper", "Moon", "Carbon", "Zinc", "Argon", "Graphite", "Esso", "Mobil", "Shell", "Petrol", and the "Cadillac" BDA (bomb damage assessment) flight, assembled at IP to try once again to knock out the Dragon. On this day, Capt. Carlyle "Smitty" Harris was flying as call sign "Steel 3". Steel 3 took the lead and oriented himself for his run on a 300 degree heading. He reported that his bombs had impacted on the target on the eastern end of the bridge. Steel 3 was on fire as soon as he left the target. Radio contact was garbled, and Steel Lead, Steel 2 and Steel 4 watched helplessly as Smitty's aircraft, emitting flame for 20 feet behind, headed due west of the target. All flight members had him in sight until the fire died out, but observed no parachute, nor did they see the aircraft impact the ground. Smitty's aircraft had been hit by a MiG whose pilot later recounted the incident in "Vietnam Courier" on April 15, 1965. It was not until much later that it would be learned that Smitty had been captured by the North Vietnamese. Smitty was held prisoner for 8 years and released in 1973. Fellow POWs credit Smitty with introducing the "tap code" which enabled them to communicate with each other.
MiG's had been seen on previous missions, but for the first time in the war, the Russian-made MiGs attacked American aircraft. Zinc 2, an F105D flown by Capt. James A. Magnusson, had its flight bounced by MiG 17's. As Zinc Lead was breaking to shake a MiG on his tail, Zinc 2 was hit and radioed that he was heading for the Gulf if he could maintain control of his aircraft. The other aircraft were busy evading the MiGs, and Magnusson radioed several times before Steel Lead responded and instructed him to tune his radio to rescue frequency. Magnusson's aircraft finally ditched over the Gulf of Tonkin near the island of Hon Me, and he was not seen or heard from again. He was listed Missing In Action.
Capt. Walter F. Draeger's A1H (probably an escort for rescue teams) was shot down over the Gulf of Tonkin just northeast of the Dragon that day. Draeger's aircraft was seen to crash in flames, but no parachute was observed. Draeger was listed Missing In Action.
The remaining aircraft returned to their bases, discouraged. Although over 300 bombs scored hits on this second strike, the bridge still stood.
From April to September 1965, 19 more pilots were shot down in the general vicinity of the Dragon, including many who were captured and released, including Howie Rutledge, Gerald Coffee, Paul Galanti, Jeremiah Denton, Bill Tschudy and James Stockdale. Then on September 16, 1965, Col. Robbie Risner's F105D was shot down a few miles north of the bridge he had tried to destroy the previous April. As he landed, Risner tore his knee painfully, a condition which contributed to his ultimate capture by the North Vietnamese. Risner was held in and around Hanoi until his release in 1973, but while a POW, he was held in solitary confinement for 4 1/2 years. Besides the normal malaise and illnesses common to POWs, Risner also suffered from kidney stones, which severely debilitated him in the spring and summer of 1967.
By September 1965, an innovative concept had taken shape - mass-focusing the energy of certain high explosive weapons. The Air Force quickly saw its application against the old Dragon and devised a plan to destroy the bridge using the new weapon. They would call the operation "Carolina Moon".
The plan necessitated two C130 aircraft dropping the weapon, a rather large pancake-shaped affair 8 feet in diameter and 2 1/2 feet thick and weighing 5,000 pounds. The C130's would fly below 500 feet to evade radar along a 43 mile route (which meant the C130 would be vulnerable to enemy attack for about 17 minutes), and drop the bombs, which would float down the Song Ma River where it would pass under the Dragon's Jaw, and detonate when sensors in the bomb detected the metal of the bridge structure. Because the slow-moving C130's would need protection, F4 Phantoms would fly diversionary attack to the south, using flares and bombs on the highway just before the C130 was to drop its ordnance. The F4s were to enter their target area at 300', attack at 50' and pull off the target back to 300' for subsequent attacks. Additionally, an EB66 was tasked to jam the radar in the area during the attack period. Since Risner had been shot down in September, 15 more pilots had been downed in the bridge region. Everyone knew it was hot.
The first C130 was to be flown by Maj. Richard T. Remers and the second by Maj. Thomas F. Case, both of whom had been through extensive training for this mission at Elgin AFB, Florida and had been deployed to Vietnam only 2 weeks before. Ten mass-focus weapons were provided, allowing for a second mission should the first fail to accomplish the desired results.
Last minute changes to coincide with up-to-date intelligence included one that would be very significant in the next days. Maj. Remers felt that the aircraft was tough enough to survive moderate anti-aircraft artillery hits and gain enough altitude should bail-out be necessary. Maj. Case agreed that the aircraft could take the hits, but the low-level flight would preclude a controlled bail-out situation. With these conflicting philosophies, and the fact that either parachutes or flak vests could be worn - but not both - Maj. Remers decided that his crew would wear parachutes and stack their flak vests on the floor of the aircraft. Maj. Case decided that his crew would wear only flak vests and store the parachutes.
On the night of May 30, Maj. Remers and his crew, including navigators Capt. Norman G. Clanton and 1Lt. William "Rocky" Edmondson, departed Da Nang at 25 minutes past midnight and headed north under radio silence. Although the "Herky-bird" encountered no resistance at the beginning of its approach, heavy, (although luckily, inaccurate) ground fire was encountered after it was too late to turn back. The 5 weapons were dropped successfully in the river and Maj. Remers made for the safety of the Gulf of Tonkin. The operation had gone flawlessly, and the C130 was safe. Although the diversionary attack had drawn fire, both F-4's returned to Thailand unscathed.
Unfortunately, the excitement of the crew was shortlived, because recon photos taken at dawn showed that there was no noticeable damage to the bridge, nor was any trace of the bombs found. A second mission was planned for the night of May 31. The plan for Maj. Case's crew was basically the same with the exception of a minor time change and slight modification to the flight route. A crew change was made when Maj. Case asked 1Lt. Edmondson, the navigator from the previous night's mission, to go along on this one because of his experience from the night before. The rest of the crew included Capt. Emmett R. McDonald, 1Lt. Armon D. Shingledecker, 1Lt. Harold J. Zook, SSgt. Bobby J. Alberton, AM1 Elroy E. Harworth and AM1 Philip J. Stickney. The C130 departed DaNang at 1:10 a.m.
The crew aboard one of the F4's to fly diversionary included Col. Dayton Ragland. Ragland was no stranger to conflict when he went to Vietnam. He had been shot down over Korea in November 1951 and had served two years as a prisoner of war. Having flown 97 combat missions on his tour in Vietnam, Ragland was packed and ready to go home. He would fly as "backseater" to 1Lt. Ned R. Herrold on the mission to give the younger man more combat flight time while he operated the sophisticated technical navigational and bombing equipment. The F4's left Thailand and headed for the area south of the Dragon.
At about two minutes prior to the scheduled C130 drop time, the F4's were making their diversionary attack when crew members saw anti-aircraft fire and a large ground flash in the bridge vicinity. Maj. Case and his crew were never seen or heard from again. During the F4 attack, Herrold and Ragland's aircraft was hit. On its final pass, the aircraft did not pull up, but went out to sea, and reported that the aircraft had taken heavy weapons fire. A ball of fire was seen as the plane went into the sea.
Reconnaissance crews and search and rescue scoured the target area and the Gulf of Tonkin the next morning, finding no sign at all of the C130 or its crew. Rescue planes spotted a dinghy in the area in which Herrold and Ragland's aircraft had gone down, but saw no signs of life. The dinghy was sunk to prevent it falling into enemy hands. The bridge still stood.
In March 1967, the U.S. Navy attacked the Thanh Hoa Bridge using the new "Walleye" missiles, but failed to knock out the bridge. Before the war ended, 54 more Americans fell in the Dragon's Jaw area.
In late 1986 the remains of Harworth, Zook and Case were returned and buried with the honor befitting an American fighting man who has died for his country. Ragland, Herrold, Alberton, McDonald, Edmondson, Shingledecker, Stickney, Smith, Draeger and Magnussen are still Missing in Action.
SHELDON JOHN BURNETT
Rank/Branch: O5/US Army
Unit: Headquarters & Headquarters Troop, 1st Squad, 1st Cavalry, 23rd Infantry Division
Date of Birth: 09 June 1931 (Milwaukee WI)
Home City of Record: Pelham NH
Date of Loss: 07 March 1971
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 163700N 1063250E (XD653388)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
REMAINS ID'D FEB 2005 AND BURIED IN ARLINGTON
On March 7, 1971, Ard flew his OH-58A “Kiowa” helicopter from South Vietnam to transport three passengers, including Burnett, to an area on the Vietnam-Laos border. As the helicopter approached a landing zone, it was hit by enemy antiaircraft fire and crashed in Savannakhet Province, Laos. Two of the passengers survived the crash and evaded capture as enemy forces attacked. When they reached friendly lines, the two reported that Burnett and Ard were still alive but badly injured.
After 11 days of heavy resistance, South Vietnamese ground forces reached the crash site but found no trace of the missing men or any graves.
Between 1989 and 1996, joint U.S.-Lao teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) conducted five separate field investigations which met with negative results. Then in 2002, U.S. specialists interviewed four former North Vietnamese soldiers, three of which had seen the bodies of the two unaccounted-for U.S. officers. The fourth soldier had drawn a sketch of the area shortly after the incident and all volunteered to assist U.S. investigators in Laos.
In 2003, the four Vietnamese witnesses and local Lao villagers guided the team to the crash site in Laos where they found some aircraft wreckage but no human remains. Then in August-September 2004, JPAC and Lao specialists excavated the crash site and two nearby graves where they found human remains, U.S. military clothing and personal effects, including Ard’s identification tag.
After extensive analysis of the remains and teeth recovered during the excavation, JPAC scientists identified both Ard and Burnett.
Of the 88,000 Americans missing in action from all conflicts, 1,836 are from the Vietnam War, with 375 of those within the country of Laos. Another 747 Americans have been accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War.
Families still feel war's sting ~ Six from N.H. have
never been found
By Joelle Farrell, Monitor staff
Article published Nov 11, 2006
Army Spc. Quinten Mulleavey went missing in Vietnam.
The soldiers had already begun slogging up a mountain in Bong Son, Vietnam, when they realized Spc. Quinten Mulleavey wasn't with them. Walking back, they found his pack, his rifle and helmet, an empty package of cigarettes and a packet of Kool-Aid near a stream. But Mulleavey, 19, of North Woodstock, was never found.
Mulleavey is one of six New Hampshire service members missing since the
Vietnam War. They're presumed dead, but without remains to bury or knowledge of what happened, some family members find it hard to move on.
"My whole life, I thought he was coming home," said Daisy Badolati, whose
father, Staff Sgt. Frank Badolati of Goffstown is believed to have died from
wounds suffered during a firefight in South Vietnam in 1966.
The situation was especially difficult for Mulleavey's mother, Juliette
Mulleavey. The Army classified Mulleavey as absent without leave, not
allowing him an honorable discharge or a military funeral until they
reclassified him 13 years after his disappearance in 1968.
"I said, 'Where would he go?' " she said. "My son is not a moron. Why would he want to leave his company and go in the jungle?"
Through interviews with former Vietcong soldiers, the agency has found
gravesites and other information about missing troops. Last year, the
remains of Col. Sheldon Burnett, a Pelham soldier missing since 1971, were
found in Laos and buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
In 2004, the remains of Airman 1st Class Phillip Joseph Stickney of Manchester were found in North Vietnam. He was buried in Arkansas.
On the first Wednesday of every month, members of a group called Rolling
Thunder gather at Veterans Park in Manchester. They read the names of all 50 New Hampshire troops missing from the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
They also read the names of about 30 missing American troops who fought in the Gulf War in 1991, and Matt Maupin, an Ohio soldier captured in Iraq in April 2004, said Pat McGhie, director of the New England branch of Rolling Thunder."Many people think the war's over and everybody's come home," McGhie said. Some never did, he added.
He enlisted at 18 Spc. Quinten Mulleavey was the fifth of seven children. His mother called him "a devil"; he was sent home from school several times for laughing in class. Coming from a big family, "fooling around just came natural," Juliette Mulleavey said.
As a teenager, Mulleavey worked at Clark's Trading Post, a tourist
attraction in Lincoln. One summer, he went to New York to help dismantle a covered bridge and bring it back to Clark's. A plaque near the bridge honors him.
Mulleavey's father and an older brother, Raymond, served in the Navy. But
Mulleavey wanted to be a paratrooper in the Army, and he asked his mother to sign his paperwork when he was 17. She refused. He enlisted at 18, joining the 173rd Airborne Division. Before Mulleavey left for Vietnam in January 1968, Juliette Mulleavey asked him if he was afraid to go to war. "No, . . . I don't know," he told her. "Mom, I wish I knew more what this
war was about." When he arrived in Vietnam, Mulleavey told his mother that he believed they were in Vietnam to help the people there. "You should see how these people live," he told her.
Mulleavey wrote home often. In a letter to his brother, he said that the
enemy always seemed to leave before he and his fellow soldiers arrived, so
they just burned villages. Once, they burned a hooch filled with marijuana,
he told them in a letter.
"The odor really screwed us up," he wrote, adding, "Don't worry. I don't
The day before he went missing, Mulleavey wrote to his mother, telling her
that his crew had watched a film about the sights in New Hampshire."Whoo! Mom, they showed everything," Mulleavey wrote. "Clarks, Mount. Wash., the Cog, Flume, Lost River, Polar - just everything. Boy, talk about getting homesick."The Old Man in the Mountain, the guys never believed me when I told them about the Old Man," he wrote. "When they saw it on film, they were real impressed. Boy I thought I'd go crazy before the flick ended."
On April 3, 1968, an Army corporal knocked on Juliette Mulleavey's door and told her that her son was missing."I felt it so deep, I knew he was gone," she said.
Mulleavey's younger brother John joined the Army, hoping he'd get sent to
Vietnam and he could look for his brother. But the war ended before his
Thirteen years after Mulleavey's disappearance, the Army reclassified
Mulleavey as presumed dead while missing and granted him an honorable
service discharge, Juliette Mulleavey said. His family held a memorial
Several years ago, a Vietcong soldier told U.S. military officials that he
recognized Mulleavey in a picture, Juliette Mulleavey said. The man said
Mulleavey had been captured and taken to a nearby camp. There, Mulleavey heard American tanks and ran toward the sound. The Vietnamese soldiers shot him in the back, the man told officials. He led them to the spot where he believed Mulleavey had been buried. They found only a uniform button.
The war had been over for more than 30 years, and farmers have plowed the fields where Mulleavey may have been. His remains could be spread over a greater distance, military officials told Juliette Mulleavey. Her blood
sample is on file in case his remains are found.
Mulleavey's grave is empty, but Juliette Mulleavey, 87, feels some finality
to her son's death now that his name is on a headstone at Riverside Cemetery in Lincoln.
"People will know this boy existed," she said.
Learning about her father ~
Army Staff Sgt. Frank Badolati grew up in Goffstown but lived at Fort Bragg, N.C., before shipping out to Vietnam, said his daughter, Daisy. She was 2 when he left.
Badolati, 33, was a rifleman in a Special Forces reconnaissance team. On
Jan. 28, 1966, he and five other soldiers were sent to the An Lao Valley of
Binh Dinh Province, according to information gathered by the POW/MIA
Network, a nonprofit organization.
That morning, Vietcong soldiers attacked Badolati's team. Badolati was badly wounded by a bullet that hit his upper left arm, according to family members and information gathered by POW/MIA groups.
The team split into two groups and continued to move away from the site
where they had been ambushed. The two soldiers with Badolati said he died
the next morning. They left his body, hoping they could come back for it
once they escaped from the valley and had outside support. When soldiers
returned, they could not find his body.
Badolati's wife, Jonny, who is from Denmark, never remarried, Daisy Badolati said. The family never spoke about Frank Badolati, she said.
In 1999, Daisy Badolati, who teaches at a bilingual school in Oregon,
decided to explore her father's life and death. She met one of the soldiers
who served with him that day, Master Sgt. Wiley Gray. She met people who
wore bracelets with her father's name and the date he went missing.
That year, she saw a picture of her father for the first time. She keeps it
in her wallet.
"I brought him home as best I could," she said.
Two explanations ~
Sgt. 1st Class Robert Joseph Sullivan was a father of four and a Special Forces soldier. He left for his second tour in Vietnam in May 1967, said one of his daughters, Eileen Moody of North Carolina. Moody was 5 when Sullivan left.
Sullivan, whose hometown is listed as East Alstead, was reported missing on
July 12, 1967, in southeast Laos. Moody said the military had reports
detailing two possible explanations for what happened to her father.
A team of three Americans and eight Vietnamese soldiers were on a
reconnaissance mission in southeastern Laos when they came under attack.
Only one American was rescued, and he said the other Americans had been
mortally wounded. The bodies of Sullivan and the other soldier, Sgt. 1st
Class Samuel Almendariz, were never found.
Moody said she has also seen a report that said Vietcong soldiers ambushed
the soldiers, wrestled Sullivan's gun from him and shot him.
Moody, 44, a retired cable technician, said her father's death was hardest
on her older brother and sister, then 9 and 7, and her mother.
As she grew older, Moody sought out soldiers who served with her father to
help her understand who he was. Moody said she isn't in denial about her
father's death, but it helps to hear others talk about him.
The others ~
Family members of the remaining four soldiers missing from the Vietnam War could not be contacted for comment or did not return calls for comment. The following is the last known information about them, according to information from the POW/MIA Network:
- Air Force Staff Sgt. Clyde Douglas Alloway, 33, of Portsmouth is believed
to have been killed in a plane crash offshore in South Vietnam on June 7,
- Air Force Maj. Gerald Robert Helmich, 38, of Manchester is believed to
have been killed during an operation to rescue a downed Army helicopter just
south Ban Senphan near the Laos/Vietnam border. Helmich's plane crashed
after the planes came under enemy fire on Nov. 12, 1969.
- Air Force Capt. Albert L. Page Jr., 32, of Derry is believed to have been
killed when his plane was hit by enemy fire and crashed during a strike
mission in North Vietnam on Aug. 8, 1967. The plane crashed offshore, and
witnesses did not see parachutes leave the aircraft. Page's body was not
VIETNAM VETERANS MEMORIAL
"There is evidence; moreover, that indicates the possibility of survival,
at least for a small number, after Operation Homecoming…."
Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs
January 13, 1993
For years we've ask... what is a small number? Today we have our answer.
The small number is....
|We are a completely volunteer organization, veterans and non-veterans, using awareness, communication, education, legislation, and compassion to assuage the pain associated with one of the most devastating outcomes of service to one’s Country. As we honor POW/MIAs, returned and still waiting to come home, we aggressively pursue means to return the missing and protect those serving.