Name: Bruce Edward Kane k350pa
Rank/Branch: Corporal/US Marine Corps
Unit: HML-367, Marine Air Group 36,
1st Marine Air Wing

Date of Birth: 07 July 1949 (New York, NY)
Home of Record: Deer Park, NY
Date of Loss: 09 August 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 163819N 1064643E (XD960180)
Click coordinates to view maps

Status in 1973: Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1E "Iroquois"
Other Personnel in Incident: Ronald J. Janousek (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 9 August 1969, 1Lt. Ronald J. Janousek, co-pilot; and Cpl. Bruce E. Kane, crewman; were assigned two of the four-man crew aboard a UH1E helicopter returning from a combat mission in Laos. While returning to base, the Huey was struck by heavy hostile automatic weapons fire and crashed into the Se Kong River approximately 46 miles west of Hue, South Vietnam; 13 miles northwest of Tavouac and 3 miles west of the Lao/Vietnamese border, Salavan Province, Laos.

Cpl. Kane jumped free of the aircraft landing in the stream near the bank. Other survivors saw him exit the water, then re-entered it to save other Marines who were injured in the crash. The other survivors reported they saw him alive, well, and assisting the other wounded crewmembers, including 1st Lt. Janousek.

Search and rescue (SAR) aircraft responded immediately to the Mayday call from the downed aircraft. When they arrived on site, they recovered the injured survivors and began searching for Bruce Kane and Ronald Janousek, but could find no trace of either one in the immediate area of the wreckage or on the river bank. Because of the hostile threat, no extensive ground search was possible. None of the survivors knew for sure what happen to the two missing crewmen, and the Marine Corps believed they probably drowned in the mountain stream's fast moving current. Ronald Janousek and Bruce Kane were both listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered and probably not recoverable.

The Se Kong River was quite muddy with jungle growth flourishing along both banks. Tree limbs and vines overhung the winding mountain stream's edge. Because no remains were found, there is a chance both crewmen surfaced out of sight of the rest of the Americans only to be captured by Communist forces operating in the area.

In April 1991 the US government released a list of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action who were known to be alive in enemy hands and for whom there is no evidence that he or she died in captivity. This list, commonly referred to today as the USG's "Last Known Alive" list included Bruce Kane. In 1992 Cpl. Kane's family was informed that he was included on this list, but gave them no explanation for this inclusion.

Ronald Janousek and Bruce Kane are 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 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.

Our military men in Vietnam were called upon to live and fight under 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.