RANK/BRANCH: E3/US Marine Corps
UNIT: 3rd Recon Company, 3rd Recon Battalion, 3rd Marine Division
DATE OF BIRTH: 18 November 1948
HOME CITY OF RECORD: Fruitport MI
DATE OF LOSS: 11 June 1967
COUNTRY OF LOSS: South Vietnam
LOSS COORDINATES: 165454N 1065530E (YD048689)
STATUS (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered
OTHER PERSONNEL IN INCIDENT: Dennis R. Christie, Curtis R. Bohlscheid; John J. Foley; Jose J. Gonzales; Thomas M. Hanratty; Michael W. Havranek; Charles D. Chomel; Jim E. Moshier; John S. Oldham; James E. Widener (all 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, and interviews.
REMARKS: A/C CRASH-EXPLODED-NO SURVS OBS-J
SYNOPSIS: On 11 June 1967, 1LT Curtis Bohlscheid was the pilot of a CH46A helicopter inserting a seven-man Marine Force Recon team into a predesignated area 11 1/2 nautical miles northwest of Dong Ha, South Vietnam -- right on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). A total of four aircraft were involved in the mission, two CH46's and two UH1E helicopter gunships. Bohlscheid flew the lead aircraft. His crew included MAJ John S. Oldham, LCPL Jose J. Gonzales (crew chief), and PFC Thomas M. Hanratty (crew chief).
Members of the 3rd Recon Company, 3rd Recon Battalion, 3rd Marine Division who were being inserted were CPL Jim E. Moshier, LCPL Dennis R. Christie, LCPL John J. Foley III, LCPL Michael W. Havranek, LCPL James W. Kooi, PFC Charles D. Chomel, and PFC James E. Widener.
The flight departed Dong Ha at about 11:15 a.m. and proceeded to the insertion location. The gunships made low strafing runs over the landing zone to clear booby traps and to locate any enemy troops in the area. No enemy fire was received and no activity was observed. The lead aircraft then began its approach to the landing zone. At an estimated altitude of 400-600 feet, the helicopter was observed to climb erratically, similar to an aircraft commencing a loop. Machinegunmen had been waiting for the opportune time to fire on the aircraft. Portions of the rear blades were seen to separate from the aircraft and a radio transmission was received from the aircraft indicating that it had been hit. The helicopter became inverted and continued out of control until it was seen to crash by a stream in a steep ravine.
Subsequent efforts by ground units to reach the crash area failed due to a heavy bunker complex surrounding the site. The ground units inspected the site from within 500 meters through binoculars and observed no survivors. All eleven personnel aboard the helicopter were therefore classified Killed In Action, Body Not Recovered. Other USMC records indicate that the helicopter also burst into flames just prior to impacting the ground.
For the crew of the CH46A lost on June 11, 1967, death seems a certainty. For hundreds of others, however, simple answers are not possible. Adding to the torment of nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia is the certain knowledge that some Americans who were known to be prisoners of war were not released at the end of the war. Others were suspected to be prisoners, and still others were in radio contact with would-be rescuers when last seen alive. Many were known to have survived their loss incidents, only to disappear without a trace.
The problem of Americans still missing torments not only the families of those who are missing, but the men who fought by their sides, and those in the general public who realize the full implication of leaving men unaccounted for at the end of a war.
Tragically, many authorities believe there are hundreds of Americans still alive in captivity in Southeast Asia today. What must they be thinking of us? What will our next generation say if called to fight if we are unable to bring these men home from Southeast Asia?
by The Amtrac Platoon
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