Name:  Terry Lanier Alford
Rank/Branch: Chief Warrant Officer/US Army
Unit:  281st Aviation Company, 17th Aviation Group, 
1st Aviation Brigade 
Nha Trang Airbase, VS 

Date of Birth: 22 October 1947 (Houston, TX)
Home of Record: Pasadena, TX
Date of Loss: 04 November 1969
Country of Loss:  South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates:  123327N 1085304E (BP702890)
Click coordinates to view maps

Status in 1973: Missing In Action
Category: 4
UH1 "Iroquois"

Other Personnel in Incident: James R. Klimo; John A. Ware and Jim R. Cavender (missing)


SYNOPSIS:    By early 1967, the Bell UH1 Iroquois was already the standard Army assault helicopter, and was used in nearly every "in-country" mission. Better known by its nickname "Huey," the troop carriers were referred to as "Slicks" and the gunships were called "Hogs." It proved itself to be a sturdy, versatile aircraft which was called on to carry out a wide variety of missions including search and rescue, close air support, insertion and extraction, fire support, and resupply to name a few. It usually carried a crew of four.

On 4 November 1969, then WO1 Terry L. Alford, aircraft commander; WO1 Jim R. Cavender, pilot; SP4 John A. Ware, crew chief; and SP4 James R. Klimo, door gunner; comprised the crew a UH1H helicopter (serial #67-19512). Their mission assignment entailed flying a series of combat support missions to and around the Central Highlands, Khanh Hoa Province, South Vietnam.

At 1920 hours, the Huey departed a jungle outpost at Duc Lap, located only 9 miles east of the South Vietnam/Cambodian border, for the return flight to their base at Nha Trang, some 102 miles to the east-southeast. During the flight, the aircraft commander radioed the 48th Aviation Company Operations Center at Ninh Hoa reporting their currant location as the Duc My Pass, approximately 82 miles east-northeast of Duc Lap and 24 miles north-northwest of Nha Trang. He further stated they were in clouds and instrument meteorological conditions existed in the jungle-covered mountains. Shortly afterwards, the controller at Ninh Hoa heard a radio transmission from WO1 Alford reporting that they were in trouble and he believed the helicopter was flying upside down. Within minutes all contact was lost.

Search and rescue (SAR) efforts were immediately initiated employing both air and ground forces. Over the next six days they searched along the entire flight path of the Huey from the jungle covered mountains and passes to all villages in the area. These efforts failed to produce any information on the missing helicopter or its crew. At the time formal SAR efforts were terminated, Terry Alford, Jim Cavender, John Ware and Jim Klimo were listed Missing in Action.

Later Defense Department personnel informed the families of the Huey's crew that they were on a secondary mission heading toward the buffer zone between Cambodia and South Vietnam, rather than away from it, when the aircraft vanished. However, these officials provided no details regarding the purpose of the secondary mission or the aircraft's destination in the buffer zone. They confused the situation further by adding that the helicopter was in the location of loss in the Central Highlands by mistake, but never provided an explanation for that statement.

During a government program presented to POW/MIA family members, which included showing pictures of unidentified Prisoners of War, Jim Klimo's sister identified her brother as one of the prisoners pictured in a Vietnamese propaganda leaflet shown to them. To date no confirmation of the identity of the man in the photograph has been made by our government.

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 and aircrews in Vietnam 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.