Information on U.S. Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 64-13894
The Army purchased this helicopter 1165
Total flight hours at this point: 00001505
Date: 02/09/68 MIA-POW file reference number: 1044
Incident number: 68020810.TXT
Unit: 58 AVN DET
UTM grid coordinates: YD471521
Loss to Inventory
Crew: CHENOWETH, ROBERT PRESTON; LENKER MR PURCELL BH ROSE J ZIEGLER RE
P W1 J ROSE POW
P W1 RE ZIEGLER POW
CE SP5 RP CHENOWETH POW
G SP4 M LENKER POW
SSG GEORGE JAMES EDWARD JR, AR, PX, BNR; LTC BEN PURCELL; NOT; POW
SYNOPSIS: SP4 James E. George, Jr. was a passenger aboard a UH1D helicopter that was downed near the city of Quang Tri, in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 164424N 1071941E (YD471521), on February 8, 1968. He was listed as Missing In Action (later changed to Killed in Captivity). SP4 George was captured following the crash of the UH1D, although the U.S. was not to discover this for some time. It was not until 591 American POWs were released in the general prisoner release in 1973 that George's fate became known. An American releasee reported during his debriefing on March 30, 1973, that SP4 George was with him and others the day after George`s capture. The group was being marched, presumably north, although the destination is not clear. The releasee stated that George could not keep up with the group and he was pulled from the group. Later a shot was heard from the direction George had been taken. The releasee believed that George had been executed by the guards. Several returned POWs identified George as having been a prisoner of war, and by 1980, his records were adjusted accordingly. He had been carried as Missing in Action until it was clear that he had been captured
All of the people on this helicopter were captured, served as POWs, and then released except for E4 George who was killed while in captivity. The following is a first person account by Roy E. Ziegler II (Dick): "On February 8, 1968 I was assigned to fly LTC Ben Purcell up to Dong Ha with high frequency radio parts. The other pilot was Joe Rose. My crew chief was SP5 Robert Chenowith and the door gunner was SP4 Mike Lenker. George was a refrigerator mechanic and went along to fix some refrigerators at Dong Ha. We took off from Danang and proceeded to Hue where we landed so LTC Purcell could be briefed by the Marine General on what the situation in I Corps was and what equipment they needed. After he was briefed, we departed Hue for Dong Ha. The weather was just a little shitty. Ceilings were about 400-500 feet. I flew along the coast to avoid the enemy and then when we were about even with Quang Tri, I headed inland until I reached highway 1. We then flew north to Dong Ha. After delivering the radio parts and LTC Purcell being briefed, we took off and headed back to Danang. Joe was flying. We decided to head back the same way we came up. After we left highway 1 to head back to the coast, we flew over an enemy unit that had moved into the area after we had passed that spot going to Dong Ha. There must have been a million of them. Well, they just pointed their weapons skyward and fired. We flew right through the ground fire. I was wounded in the left thigh and belly. The Huey was on fire. Joe crashed the helicopter in a grave yard. What a hell of a place to crash. Once on the ground and out of the burning helicopter we tried to E & E out of the area. I was wounded and kind of in shock. One passenger, SP4 George, was badly burned from the crash and we had one runaway M60 machine gun, 45 cal pistols, and an M14 rifle. We walked for about 30 minutes to an hour when the VC came up from behind us and started firing. Guess what? We were in another grave yard! Damn things are all over the place. Well, I hid behind a grave and watched LTC Purcell wave his olive drab handkerchief and say we were surrendering. I didn't want to do that. I thought that the VC would torture and murder us. So I crawled out of the grave yard and hid in some bushes near by. All of the crew and passengers were taken prisoner at that time. I waited in my hiding place until night fall and then I tried to find some friendly faces. I don't think there were any in I Corps that night. I found some armored vehicle tracks in the sand and tried to follow them. I lost them in some marshes. I continued to walk most of the night. About 2 hours after dawn came, I was hiding behind some more bushes and I observed a combat assault (CA) coming in about 5 kilometers from my position. All that CA did was push the enemy towards me. In a little while, a group of VC (nine little boys with big guns) came up over the sand dunes. At the same time, a Huey flew over my position so close that if I would have had a rock I could have hit the door gunner with it. The VC had heard the Huey and had gone into hiding and the Huey never saw them or me. After the Huey left they started towards me again. I was laying on my back with my 45 on my chest saying, 'God if you get me out of this I'll never sin again.' God had me on hold and never answered my call. One of the VC saw me, yelled and started firing his weapon. They all started firing their weapons in every direction. I raised up to one knee with my weapon in my hand and for some strange reason before I knew it, both of my arms were above my head in the, 'Don't shot I surrender' mode. It took about 5 days of walking to get to my jungle camp where I first got medical attention for my wounds. To my surprise all of my crew and LTC Purcell were also in that camp. The VC had executed SP4 George the day after he surrendered because of his burns. At this camp, I also met an American POW by the name of King Rafford. He had been captured in 1967 looking for a whore house in Hue. He didn't find it, but he got screwed. There was also a VC medic in the camp and he treated my wounds and probably saved my life. Credit where credit's due. I made my last escape attempt in this camp with King Rafford. We saved our meager ration of rice and I exercised my leg in the hooch out of sight of the guards. Then one night, King and I just walked out of the camp. It gets mighty dark in triple canopy jungle at night. We had to navigate by the light from fire flies. Otherwise, we would just keep bumping into trees. Those trees are hard too in the jungle. The next day King and I were recaptured about 5 kilometers from the camp. I spent the next 10 days in a hole in the ground with reduced rations. Shortly after my escape attempt, we were moved out of our camp and moved to North Vietnam. It took us 11 days of marching to reach the Ho Chi Mein trail and another 11 days of riding trucks up the trail before we got to our first camp in North Vietnam. I spent approximately 5 months in this camp, that was located in a Vietnamese village, in solitary confinement. I was housed in a thatched roofed hooch and my room was the size of a closet. That is, it was 6 feet long by 2.5 feet wide by 6 feet high with stocks at the end of the room. I'm 6'2" tall. I hit my head a lot. After 5 months we were moved to a camp that was not far from Hanoi and I spent until November of 1970 in this camp. I had my other pilot, that was shot down with me, in the room with me from then on. His name is Joe Rose. At times I also had another Warrant Officer helicopter pilot in the room with me. His name is Michael O'Conner. After the Sun Tay raid, we were moved to the metropolitan area of Hanoi to a camp that was named the 'Plantation Gardens'. After the B52's came to Hanoi in Christmas of 1972, we were finally moved to the infamous prison called 'The Hanoi Hilton'. We stayed there until the end of the war and I was released on 5 March 1973. And boy was I glad to leave!
The following is crew member information for this incident:
The following is Goldbook information on US Army helicopter UH-1D tail number 64-13894
It is provided here as an ESTIMATE of the history of this helicopter and is not intended to be the final authority.
This helicopter was purchased by the US Army in 1165.
Please provide any additional information on this helicopter to the VHPA.
DATE FLT HRS UIC UNIT AREA POST COUNTRY 6610 74 562 WFJGAA 282 AVN CO VIETNAM RVN 6611 114 676 WFJGAA 282 AVN CO VIETNAM RVN 6612 28 704 WFJGAA 282 AVN CO VIETNAM RVN 6701 89 793 WFJGAA 282 AVN CO VIETNAM RVN 6702 66 859 WFJGAA 282 AVN CO VIETNAM RVN 6703 85 944 WFJGAA 282 AVN CO VIETNAM RVN 6704 82 1026 WFJGAA 282 AVN CO VIETNAM RVN 6705 79 1105 WFJGAA 282 AVN CO VIETNAM RVN 6706 117 1222 WFJGAA 282 AVN CO VIETNAM RVN 6707 33 1255 WFJGAA 282 AVN CO VIETNAM RVN 6708 90 1345 WFJGAA 282 AVN CO VIETNAM RVN 6709 81 1426 WFJGAA 282 AVN CO VIETNAM RVN 6710 79 1505 WFJGAA 282 ASLT HEL CO VIETNAM RVN 6711 0 1505 WCLNAA 79 TRANS CO VIETNAM RVN 6712 0 1505 WCLNAA 79 TRANS CO VIETNAM RVN 6801 0 1505 WCLNAA 79 TRANS CO VIETNAM RVN 6802 0 1505 WCLNAA 79 TRANS CO VIETNAM RVN 6803 0 1505 WCLNAA 79 TRANS CO VIETNAM RVN