|Name:||Francis George Graziosi|
|Rank/Branch:||Sergeant First Class/US Army|
14th Aviation Battalion,
16th Aviation Group,
23rd Infantry Division (Americal),
Chu Lai, South Vietnam
|Date of Birth:||10 January 1951|
|Home of Record:||Rochester, NY|
|Date of Loss:||10 January 1970|
|Country of Loss:||South Vietnam|
|Loss Coordinates:||152927N 1081808E (BT239141)
Click coordinates to view maps
|Status in 1973:||Missing In Action|
|Other Personnel in Incident:||Wayne C. Allen, G. Andrews Howes and Herbert C. Crosby (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 19 January 1970, Capt. Herbert C. Crosby, pilot; WO2 G. Andrews "Andy" Howes, co-pilot; Sgt. Wayne C. Allen, crew chief; and then SP4 Francis G. Graziosi, door gunner; comprised the crew of a UH1C helicopter (serial #66-739) as the lead aircraft in a flight of three. The flight was returning from Tien Phuoc located approximately 25 miles north-northwest of Chu Lai, Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam.
At 1415 hours, the three helicopters departed Tien Phuoc. Roughly 5 minutes into the flight, and in accordance with instrument flight directives, Capt. Crosby directed the flight to change headings to a southeasterly one. Likewise, the helicopters changed radio frequencies as they approached Chu Lai in order to establish contact with their base's ground control for landing instructions. At approximately 1425 hours, all radio contact with Capt. Crosby's aircraft was lost. The other two helicopters reached Chu Lai heliport without incident.
When it was determined that the lead helicopter was overdue, an extensive ground and visual/electronic aerial search was initiated. The Huey's last known position placed it over dense jungle covered mountain foothills on the north side of the mountain range with rice fields within 2 miles to the east. Further, the loss location was approximately 3 miles southwest of Tam Ky Airfield, 8 miles due east of Hoi An (which was less than 1 mile northwest of Tien Phuoc), 18 miles northwest of Chu Lai and 39 miles south-southeast of DaNang. The ground search included investigating villages in and around the helicopter's flight path and questioning anyone who might have knowledge of the aircraft's loss and the fate of its crew. At the time the formal search and rescue (SAR) operation was terminated, Herbert Crosby, Andy Howes, Francis Graziosi and Wayne Allen were listed Missing in Action.
US intelligence interrogated a North Vietnamese prisoner who reported that he had seen Andy Howes in captivity during the same month the helicopter disappeared. A second sighting of WO2 Howes by a villager from Phuoc Chouc (or Phouc Chau) village reported in February 1970 Andy Howes and two other POWs who were being moved through the area under guard stopped for water at his house. The villager believed the prisoners were being moved west, possibly to Laos. While he was able to identify WO2 Howes, he was unable to provide positive identification of the other POWs.
In January 1989, the Vietnamese returned the remains of 25 American servicemen to US control. On 11 February 1991 the Armed Forces Identification Review Board convened to examine the findings of the Central Identification Laboratory - Hawaii's (CIL-HI) conclusion that one of these sets of remains were those of the Huey's crewchief, Sgt. Wayne C. Allen. On 2 April 1991, those remains were formally identified as Sgt. Allen's.
While the fate of Wayne Allen has been resolved and his family, friends and country have peace in knowing where he lies, for the remainder of the crew, there remain only questions. For other Americans who are unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, including the rest of the Huey's crew, their fates could be quite different.
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 America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
Pilots and aircrews in Vietnam were called 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.