MORROW, LARRY KANE

Name: Larry Kane Morrow
Rank/Branch: Sergeant/ US Army

Unit:

1st Aviation Brigade  
Date of Birth: 13 June 1951

Home of Record: Lowell, NC

Date of Loss: 29 May 1972

Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 142501N 1075757E (ZA194964)
Click coordinates to view maps  

Status in 1973: Missing in Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: OH6A “Cayuse”

Other Personnel In Incident: Gerald D. Spradlin (remains recovered)

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: The Hughes OH6A Cayuse was known by the troops by its nickname “Loach” - a derivative of “light observation helicopter.” The armed OH6A was the primary scout helicopter used in Vietnam and usually carried a crew of two. The pilot controlled a mini-gun and a gunner/crew chief handled a “free 60” machine gun, among other weapons, which was attached to the aircraft by a strap. The Loach crews flew the most dangerous missions assigned to Army aviators because they flew low and usually slow enough to get a good look at the ground making them easy targets for the enemy.

On 29 June 1972, then WO1 Gerald D. Spradlin, pilot; and then SP4 Larry K. Morrow, observer/gunner; comprised the crew of an OH6A helicopter that was conducting a visual reconnaissance mission over Kontum Province, South Vietnam. Their mission was to locate, identify, report on and attack enemy positions located in rolling jungle covered hills that were dotted with small to medium sized villages as well as rice fields, bamboo groves and grass covered clearings between highway QL14, the primary road running generally north to south through western South Vietnam, and the Cambodian border.

As the Loach flew low over the countryside, it was struck by intense enemy ground fire causing it to go out of control, crash and burn. The crash site was located on a grassy hillside less then a mile west of QL14, approximately 5 miles northwest of Kontum Airbase, 30 miles east of the South Vietnamese/Cambodian border and 33 miles southeast of the tri-border area where South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia meet. Other aircrews made note the crash site location’s coordinates.

On 30 June 1972, South Vietnamese Army forces (ARVN) were inserted into the crash site. During the search, the ARVN unit found and recovered the skeletal remains of WO1 Spradlin from the charred wreckage. They also found SP4 Morrow’s flight helmet nearby. While they found the observer/gunner’s helmet, they were unable to find any trace of Larry Morrow in or around the area.

Because of the heavy concentration of communist forces entrenched throughout the sector, the crash site was later subjected to a B-52 airstrike. At the time the search operation was terminated, Gerald Spradlin’s remains were transported to a US mortuary where they were positively identified and returned to his family for burial. At the same time, Larry Morrow was declared Missing in Action.

In November 1973, an Army Board of Inquiry reviewed all casualty information and determined that based on all the known facts and circumstances of the loss, Larry Morrow could not have survived. Further, based on the Board’s recommendation, his status was administratively changed from Missing in Action to Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered under a Presumptive Finding of Death.

On 21 December 1973, a Vietnam People’s Army (VC) defector reported having seen an American POW in June 1972 at a location approximately 55 kilometers from the crash site, a distance of 33 miles. Because military intelligence believed there was a correlation between the report and this case, the report was placed in SP4 Morrow’s casualty file.

In August 1974, an American ground team from Grave Registration was inserted into the Loach’s crash site to once again search for Larry Morrow, but no further human remains were recovered.

In August 1983, US intelligence received information concerning the downing of an American aircraft in the general area of SP4 Morrow’s loss incident. According to this live sighting report, one airman was killed and one captured. This document was also placed in Larry Morrow’s file.

In December 1990, a US military investigative team working in Vietnam visited Kontum Province to look into this and other loss incidents that occurred in this region. The team members interviewed a former VC officer with knowledge of the area and who had a degree of responsibility for American Prisoners of War held in that area during the war. Although he had information about some American prisoners, he had no specific information relating to SP4 Morrow.

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 Larry Morrow.

If SP4 Morrow died as a result of his helicopter’s loss or as a Prisoner of War in captivity, he has the right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country. However, if he survived, his fate like that of other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia 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 American 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.