|Name:||William Ellsworth Lemmons|
196th Light Infantry Brigade
Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam
|Date of Birth:||12 January 1942|
|Home of Record:||Pocatello, ID|
|Date of Loss:||18 June 1967|
|Country of Loss:||South Vietnam|
Click coordinates to view maps
|Status in 1973:||Missing In Action|
|Other Personnel in Incident:||James C. McKittrick and Edward J. Guillory (both missing)|
SYNOPSIS: The Hiller OH23 Raven was a standard light observation helicopter during the early and mid years of the Vietnam War. By 1966, however, the US Army in the field found it was getting too old and too difficult to maintain, and started replacing them with other helicopters.
On 18 June 1967, then Lt. William Lemmons, pilot assigned to Headquarters, 196th Light Infantry Brigade; Capt. James McKittrick and SFC Edward Guillory, both observers assigned to the Battery A, 3rd Battalion, 16th Artillery, 54th Artillery Group, comprised the crew of an OH23 Raven helicopter.
At 1610 hours, the Raven departed the command post area at Chu Lai Airbase, South Vietnam on a visual reconnaissance mission to the northwest of their base. The purpose of the mission was to spot artillery targets for Capt. McKittrick's and SFC Guillory's artillery battery.
Their reconnaissance mission appeared to progress normally until 1845 hours. At that time the Day Officer noted the Raven had not returned to base as scheduled and was now overdue. An immediate air Search and Rescue (SAR) effort was initiated shortly after the helicopter was declared missing. With the aid of artillery flares and aircraft mounted searchlights, SAR aircraft covered the jungle covered mountains along and on either side of the briefed flight path, but found nothing.
Beginning the next morning at first light, an intensive four-day search using a variety of air assets and ground SAR teams continued the search. Late on 23 June formal SAR efforts were terminated when no trace of the aircraft or its crew was found. At that time, William Lemmons, Edward Guillory and James McKittrick were immediately listed Missing In Action.
The last known location of
the loss placed the aircraft over fairly rugged jungle covered mountains
approximately 14 miles northwest of Chu Lai, 6 miles south of the city of
Tam Ky, and 9 miles east of Tuen Phuoc, Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam.
,p>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 and Laos were called upon to fly in many dangerous circumstances, and each was prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country so proudly served.