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USMC/COMBAT HELICOPTER ASSOCIATION - KIA DATABASE
USMC/COMBAT HELICOPTER ASSOCIATION
Brothers (& Sisters) Killed in Action in USMC Helicopters or while assigned to USMC Helicopter Squadrons in Vietnam



670603   HMM-165     Vietnam

Incident Date 670603 HMM-165 CH-46A 150955+ Hostile Fire, Crash

[CREW]
Bodden, Timothy Roy MSgt Gunner HMM-165 MAG-36 800226 (vvm 21E:042)
Gardner, John Garrett Capt Co-Pilot HMM-165 MAG-36 670603 (vvm 21E:045)
Hanson, Stephen Paul Maj Pilot HMM-165 MAG-36 741004 (vvm 21E:046)

[PASSENGERS]
ARVN troops, SOG unknown Passenger SOG - Special Forces 670603 (vvm 000:000)
Dexter, Ronald James SstMaj (PP) Passenger FOB1, 5thSpecForGrp(SOG) 670729 (vvm 21E:043)
Laney, Billy Ray MSgt (PP) Passenger FOB1, 5thSpecForGrp(SOG) 780320 (vvm 21E:048)


no Vietnam Veterans Memorial info

BODDEN TIMOTHY ROY : 338345289 : USMC : MSGT : E8 : 6612 : 37 : DOWNERS GROVE : IL : 19800226 : Hostile, Crash Land, Died while missing : Crew : body NOT recovered (see Arlington National Cemetery comment) : Laos : LZ : ** : 19421106 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 21E : 042 : Recorded on 2/26/80 : Arlington National Cemetery

DEXTER RONALD JAMES : 324262039 : USAR : SMAJ : posthumous promotion : E9 : 11F4S : 34 : ABILENE : TX : 19670729 : Hostile, helicopter crash, land, died while captured : body not recovered : Laos : 19330723 : Cauc : Baptist / married : 21E : 043 : MIA 06/03/67 : Recorded on 7/29/67

GARDNER JOHN GARRETT : 240647422 : USMCR : CAPT : O3 : 7562 (H-46) : 26 : HOT SPRINGS : NC : 19670603 : Hostile, Crash Land, Died while missing : Copilot : body NOT recovered :Laos : LZ : ** : 19400728 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 21E : 045 : Arlington National Cemetery

HANSON STEPHEN PAUL : 562521483 : USMC : MAJ : O4 : 7562 (H-46) : 34 : BURBANK : CA : 19741004 : Hostile, Crash Land, Died while missing : AircraftCommander : body NOT recovered : Laos : LZ : ** : 19400104 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/married : 21E : 046 : Recorded on 10/4/74 : Arlington National Cemetery

LANEY BILLY RAY : 416508177 : USAR : MSG : posthumous promotion : E9 : 11Z50 : 38 : BIRMINGHAM : AL : 19780320 : Hostile, helicopter crash, land, died while missing : BNR : Laos : 19390821: Cauc : Baptist / married : 21E : 048 : MIA 06/03/67 : Recorded 3/20/78 : Arlington National Cemetery


Personal Narrative:
I was copilot on this mission in the lead aircraft, which Lt. Col. Richard E. Romine was aircraft commander. He was also the squadron CO. We were leading a flight of 6 CH-46A to retrieve the mentioned team. We were first into the zone and received heavy fire. Upon lift off we turned left and crashed into the jungle. We were successful in finding the LZ on foot and spent the night with the 6 U S Army Special Forces 40+ Vietnamese and Chinese troops. Steve and John turned right and landed on the perimeter of the Regiment Command Post for the NVA. Jack McCracken was the A/C in the third aircraft into the zone. He went straight ahead on departure and returned to Khe Sanh.

We had a C-130 dropping flares all night. The following morning and O-1 began directing air strikes all day at ammunition storage areas, truck parks, barracks, POL storage areas and command and control bunkers.

Submitted by John C. Jones, pilot, HMM-165

From POW Network Sources:
BODDEN, TIMOTHY ROY
Remains Identified 09/08/00
Name: Timothy Roy Bodden
Rank/Branch: E5/US Marine Corps
Unit: HMM 165, Marine Air Group 36
Date of Birth: 06 November 1942
Home City of Record: Downer's Grove IL
Loss Date: 03 June 1967
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 161914N 1064049E (XD795050)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: CH46A
Other Personnel In Incident: Frank E. Cius (returned POW 1973); Ronald J.
Dexter; John G. Gardner; Stephen Hanson; Billy Laney; (all missing); Mr. Ky
(Nung Cdr. - wounded and rescued); Charles F. Wilklow (rescued)
REMARKS: LAST SEEN IN CRASHED AIRCRAFT
Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S.
Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families,
published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 1998.
SYNOPSIS: On June 3, 1967, Capt. Steven P. Hanson, pilot; 1Lt. John G.
Gardner, co-pilot; Sgt. Timothy R. Bodden, crew chief/door gunner; LCpl.
Frank E. Cius, doorgunner; SFC Billy R. Laney, SFC Ronald J. Dexter, SFC
Charles F. Wilklow and an unknown number of ARVN personnel, all passengers,
were aboard a CH46A helicopter (serial #150955) on an extraction mission in
Laos.
The USMC aircraft picked up a U.S. Army Special Forces team attached to
MACV-SOG, Command and Control, and the ARVN troops they were working with.
Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG)
was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged
in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special
Forces channeled personnel into MACV-SOG (not a Special Forces group)
through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA) which provided their "cover"
while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. These teams performed deep
penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were
called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire"
missions.
The aircraft received extensive automatic small arms fire upon takeoff from
the Landing Zone, took numerous hits and crashed 350 meters from the LZ,
located about 15 miles inside Laos west of the A Shau Valley. The helicopter
did not burn on impact, and continued to receive fire. Three ARVN troops
were able to return to the LZ where the troops remaining at the LZ were
extracted the following day.
The troops waiting at the LZ could not search because of the hostile threat
in the area. Air searches located the survivors of the crash, but they could
not be evacuated. The only America found to be in a position to be safely
evacuated was SFC Wilklow. He gave the following account of what happened to
the crew and passengers aboard the CH46:
SFC Dexter appeared uninjured and left the wreckage with a large number of
ARVN troops. Capt. Hanson was wounded and outside the helicopter, but stated
that he had to return to get his carbine. The Marine Corps believes he died
of the wounds he received when the aircraft was overrun, although Hanson's
wife later identified her husband in a widely distributed Vietnamese
propaganda photograph of a pilot being captured. When last seen, all the
other Americans were still in the wreckage, and enemy troops (the U.S. Army
says they were Viet Cong; the U.S. Marines say they were North Vietnamese
Army - possibly a joint force of both) were tossing grenades toward the
aircraft with no attempt to capture the personnel inside. Wilklow left the
crash site, and noted that gunfire suddenly stopped. He continued to evade
the enemy and was picked up 3 days later.
When Mr. Ky, the Nung Commander was being evacuated by the last helicopter
out, he noted several men (undoubtedly Dexter and the ARVN) in a large bomb
crater firing red star clusters from a flare gun. Frank Cius was taken
prisoner and released from Hanoi in 1973. He was one of the dozen or so
captured by the Vietnamese and taken immediately to Hanoi claimed to be the
"Laos" prisoners. In reality, none of the dozen had been held in Laos.
Ronald Dexter, according to Frank Cius, was captured, and died in captivity
on July 29, 1967. John Gardner, according to the USMC, died on the ground
after the crash of the aircraft due to intense enemy fire. Billy Laney was
last seen lying wounded on the floor of the aircraft between a crewmember
with a broken back and the door gunner with a head wound.
NOTE: the USMC states that Bodden, crewchief/door gunner was shot in the
back and never left the aircraft, but reports received by the National
League of Families indicate that he was definitely alive after the aircraft
crashed. The U.S. did not know Cius was captured until he was released,
evidently believing he never exited the aircraft, and Wilklow had indicated
that the Vietnamese were not trying to capture the occupants of the
aircraft. Therefore, as door gunner, he must have been the "door gunner with
the head wound", and Bodden the "crewmember with a broken back".* )
Since 1975, the U.S. Government has received thousands of reports relating
to Americans still alive in Southeast Asia. Many of them cannot be dismissed
as untrue. Officially, the U.S. says it is operating under the assumption
that men are being held, and that the matter is of "highest national
priority". Yet, we seem unable to resolve the mystery. Nor have they ever
negotiated for the "tens of tens" of American prisoners the Lao stated they
held.
There can be no question that the communists know the fate of those who were
last seen on the ill-fated CH 46A that day. The men aboard this craft were
inserted into Laos for exceedingly dangerous and important missions. They
deserve no less than America's very best efforts to determine their fates.
If any of them are alive, they must be brought home.
* The "Homecoming (Egress Recap) Summary of all non-returnees reported"
by returnees dated 24 April 1973, quotes returnee Frank Edward Cius Jr as
saying "(Bodden) was the port gunner with me. As the aircraft lifted, Bodden
was hit in the stomach and went down. As he stood up clutching his stomach,
he took another hit in the stomach and fell to the floor of aircraft. I was
unable to examine Bodden but his eyes remained closed and his body was
motionless the entire time we were in the aircraft. I believe Bodden was
dead when the helicopter crashed.
07/14/99
It was our pleasure today to talk to Tim's mom, Dorothy at her home in
Illinois. She hopes no one will allow the issue of our men to fade away, or
allow history to repeat the tragedies she has witnessed with her son. She
stated there is much more information to be gotten, and much more truth that
needs to be shared. The NETWORK will continue to forward all letters to her
regarding Tim, but she stated that her health does not allow her to
individually answer the letters. Married to a WWII veteran, leaving near her
son and his family, she does share each letter with them all.
She asked that we convey to all of you, her thanks -- and she sends her
love to all of you.
======================================
National League of Families
UPDATE LINE: September 8, 2000
Thank you for calling the National League of Families Update Line. This
message is being recorded on Friday, September 8th. The number of Americans
missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War is now 2,005.
Today, the Department of Defense released the names of eight of nine US
personnel now accounted for, six previously missing in Laos and three in
Vietnam. These Americans include CDR Leonard M. Lee of VA and LCDR Roger B.
Innes of IL, both US Navy, missing in North Vietnam since December 27, 1967.
The Defense Department did not publicly release CDR Lee's name at the
request of his next-of-kin; however, members of Commander Lee's family were
quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch September 4th edition regarding his
identification. Others include Lt Col Donald E. Paxton of IA and Maj
Charles Macko of NY, both US Air Force, missing in Laos since February 2,
1969; Capt Stephen P. Hanson of CA, 1st Lt Jon G. Gardner of NC and Sgt
Timothy R. Bodden of IL, USMC, and Army GySgt Billy R. Laney of FL, all
missing in Laos since June 3, 1967; and Army CWO1 William A. Smith, Jr., of
MI, missing in South Vietnam since September 2, 1968.
The accounting for these nine Americans brings the number still missing and
unaccounted for from the Vietnam War to 2,005, 1511 in Vietnam, 421 in Laos,
65 in Cambodia and 8 in the territorial waters of the PRC. Nearly 85% of
all Americans lost in Laos and Cambodia were in areas then under wartime
Vietnamese control; therefore, it is to Vietnam that we look for archival
records and witnesses to assist in accounting for them....
=============================================
From: family of Billey Laney 02/2001
03-04 Jun 67 Ronald James Dexter SFC E-7, Abilene, TX; Billy Ray Laney, SFC
E-7, Green Acres City, FL - US Army Special Forces and an unknown number of
SCU Hatchet Force, FOB 1, Phu Bai, Ops 35; and Stephen P. Hanson, Cpt 03,
Pilot, Restful Lake, OH; John 0. Gardner, 1LT 0-3, CO-Pilot, Restful Lake,
OH; and Timothy R. Bodden, SGT E-5, Crew Chief, Downer Grove, ILL- Members
of The United States Marines Corps Aviation, HNMI65, CH46 Helicopter Crew
"Shark Three" Khe Sahn Launch Site, FOB 1, Ops 32 were MIA-Presumptive
finding of death. (A total of 23 Americans were lost; SOG raiders, Air Force
and Marine Pilots and crewman--plus twice as many Nungs). A company size
hatchet force raid, commanded by Maj Jerry Kilburn, operating in Oscar 8
target area, 18-22 KM SE of Khe Sanh, at an azimuth of 220 degrees, and near
Route #922, which contained the largest depot outside of Hanoi, well
defended with belts of antiaircraft guns. The Hatchet Force (HF) arrived at
Khe Sanh, remained overnight at the Launch Site, and inserted early in the
morning. The terrain favored the enemy and the area was within a horseshoe
type land mass. Several hundred SPAR (Special Agent Reports) had been
intercepted from the target area within a 24 hour period. These radio
transmissions were originated by the NVA and were possibly associated with
the Commanding General of their Army Nuyen Van Gaip. At 0545, SGM Billy
William D. "Billy" Waugh boarded an 0-2 aircraft to fly FAC as the Covey
Rider, flying toward the target, staying in the "Gray Forrest" area along
Route #222. At about 0630, the FAC observed the Condensation Trails of nine
(9) B-52's. The FAC performed 360's as the B-52 dropped their load, FAC flew
over the target area, noticed several secondary fires, and actually watched
as the NVA rolled what appeared to be-barrels of gasoline from one of the
burning areas. The NVA were swarming, and immediately took the FAC aircraft
under fire with what was probably a set of 12.7 AA guns. The FAC "hauled
ass" away from the area, and sent a transmission to "scratch the infil, as
the area was crawling with pissed-off NVA." Too late, the transmission did
not make it in time. Due to the high hill range, just to the North of the
LZ, transmissions to the launch site were not completed. The raid began with
an Arc Light, and as soon as the Arc Light was over, the raider company
arrived with the mission to conduct a BDA of the arc light bombing, capture
any WIA NVA, and capture any NVA equipment in the area. The very first
Marine HUEY Gun ship across the intended LZ and was shot down to the south
of the LZ. The first CH-47 (Chinook) with troops, was noticed landing just
to the North of the intended LZ, this bird was shot down as it lowered to
the LZ and broke into two pieces on impact. A second Chinook attempted
landing, and was also shot down, An H-34 (SOG rescue bird) came into the
area, to infiltrate troops, and was shot down, landing to the South of Route
"922. The crew were seen fleeing from this bird, to the West (Subsequently
rescued). The approximate 100 SOG men that were inserted were surrounded and
had taken cover in a few bomb craters. SFC Laney was last seen by SFC
Wilklow, wounded in the back after boarding the a helicopter, the aircraft
was hit by enemy fire, then the pilot was shot, and it veered out of control
and crashed. After the aircraft crashed, it continued to receive heavy fire,
however, many of the personnel were rescued. SFC Laney was last seen still
in the helicopter chest shot and probably dead. Due to the enemy situation,
he was not recovered and a later search produced negative results. Two
A-1E's came into the area, firing their guns, dropping napalm as requested
by the Team Leader. One of the A-1E's was shot through by a hail of green
tracers, and rolled over-crashing without a parachute. The 2nd A-1E was shot
almost to pieces, but the fine pilot managed to land that bird at the Khe
Sanh airstrip (a hell of a feat). Two F-4's were performing close air
support, with one being blasted right in his forward portion, causing that
bird to crash. All this occurred within 30 minutes of the insert. During the
initial day of insert, rescue attempts were made to recover the WIA. Early
morning of the second day, the remainder of the Hatchet Force members were
picked up. The NVA were silent that day, as it appeared the NVA were
encouraging an exfiltration due to the 30-50 airstrikes they had endured.
SFC Dexter was last seen exiting a downed CH-46 helicopter and taken as a
Prisoner of War, but never reached North Vietnam alive. A report obtained
from a captured Nung Commando who was later released tells of Cpt Hanson, Lt
Gardner, and Sgt Bodden being executed by the North Vietnamese Soldiers. Of
the six Americans MIAs, only USMC Lance Corporal Frank E. Cius, Jr. was
confirmed by Hanoi. After Cius's release in 1973, he told Dexter's brother
that Ronald Dexter had been captured but died in enemy hands. Note: SFC
Charles Wilklow was wounded and in enemy hands. The enemy used him as bait
to try and bring in aircraft to rescue him. The enemy tended to ignore him,
thinking he was no risk due to his condition. He had observed NVA in
formations, giving orders, etc., expecting to die any minute. After the 4th
day with maggots in his open wound, barely clinging to life, he somehow
managed to crawl away during the night. Around mid day, the following day a
FAC flew overhead and SGM Waugh observed a body with a panel over it and
when the FAC made a second pass, the body sat up and SGM Waugh recognized it
was an American. When Wilklow came to, he was looking into the face of SSG
Roy Pace, a Black American, who had performed a one man bright light by
repelling in to rescue him. Wilklow was wearing a STABO rig and was
extracted by string.

Personal Narrative:
This mission was a six-plane insertion of Army Special Forces and mercenaries . We were briefed that they were going in as damage assessment of an arclighted area . Two H-46\'s didn\'t make it out of the LZ and the rest were shot up pretty good. One UH-1E gun ship was lost on the initial insert . A total of 7 aircraft were lost during this incident . Tim Bodden was the gunner and Frank Cius was the crewchief.
Submitted by Jim Wissmar, HMM-165, crewchief on lead bird of 2nd section

Comment on Incident from Task Force Omega Files:
Military Assistance Command Vietnam - Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG) was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special Forces channeled personnel into MACV-SOG through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), which provided their \"cover\" while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. These teams performed highly classified, deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction that were called, depending on the time frame, \"Shining Brass\" or \"Prairie Fire\" missions.

Oscar Eight was the code name given to a sector of eastern Laos located in rugged jungle covered mountains approximately 25 miles northwest of the infamous AShau Valley, Saravane Province, Laos. The area encompassed the junction of Highway 92, which was a primary north-south artery of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and Highway 922, which branched off and ran directly east where it crossed into South Vietnam at a strategic point near the northern edge of the AShau Valley. Oscar Eight was also located at the southeastern end of a large and narrow jungle covered valley that had two primary roads running through it, one on each side of the valley. Highway 92 ran along the west side and Highway 919 along the east. A power line ran parallel to Highway 92 and sometimes crossed it. In addition to the roads and power line, the Hoi An River also flowed through the valley passing the road junction roughly 1 mile west of it.

More American aircraft were downed in this sector than any other place in Laos. This was because burrowed deep in the hills of Oscar Eight was North Vietnamese General Vo Bam\'s 559th Transportation Group\'s forward headquarters. It was also the Ho Chi Minh Trail\'s control center and contained the largest NVA storage facility outside of North Vietnam. Oscar Eight was defended by consecutive belts of anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) guns of all sizes that were not only stationed on the ground, but also mounted on platforms in the trees and were expertly camouflaged. Oscar Eight also favored the enemy because the only suitable landing zones were located in a wide bowl surrounded by jungle-covered high ground containing AAA guns and bunkered infantry.

A major raid on Oscar Eight began on 2 June 1967 with a dawn Arc Light mission by 9 B52 bombers. As the smoke cleared, 9 ARVN Kingbee and 5 Marine CH46 helicopters landed a Nung Hatchet Force company including the company\'s MACV-SOG advisors then SFC Billy R. Laney, SFC Ronald J. \"Ron\" Dexter and SFC Charles F. \"Charlie\" Wilklow. The raiders had barely landed when the 100-man force was surrounded and vastly outnumbered by NVA soldiers. They took cover in bomb craters, and then called in gunships and tactical airstrikes dangerously close. Even though the raiders were armed with enough firepower to cut down any NVA assault, they did not have enough to launch an assault. The situation rapidly turned into a stalemate that lasted all afternoon and all night. Shortly after dawn on 3 June, helicopters supported by fighters took off from Khe Sanh to retrieve the Hatchet Force. Throughout the rescue mission, airstrikes by a wide variety of US and ARVN aircraft were employed. During these airstrikes 4 American aircraft were shot down - 1 A1E Skyraider, 1 F4 Phantom and 2 helicopter gunships. Only the pilot of the A1E, Lt. Col. Lewis M. Robinson, was not recovered. He was unable to eject before he crashed into a jungle-covered valley roughly 5 miles south and slightly east of the battle site. Lewis Robinson was listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.

Finally the first Marine CH46 Sea Knight was able to settle among the bomb craters while taking hits from enemy ground fire. It safely lifted away with almost a platoon of Nung strikers aboard including Mr. Ky, the commander. The crew of the second Sea Knight (serial #150955), call sign \"Shark 03,\" to reach the LZ was comprised of Capt. Steven P. Hanson, pilot; 1st Lt. John G. Gardner, co-pilot; Sgt. Timothy R. \"Tim\" Bodden, crew chief; LCpl. Frank E. Cius, door gunner. After the first helicopter lifted off, it landed to pick up more survivors. Billy Laney, Ron Dexter, Charlie Wilklow and roughly two dozen Nungs leaped aboard as it lifted off the ground. NVA tracer rounds were seen focused on the aircraft. When one of the pilots was wounded the aircraft veered out of control, hit the trees, spun violently, fell 100 feet and broke in half landing approximately 350 meters from the LZ.

Dead and wounded Nung strikers were piled everywhere. Search and Rescue (SAR) aircrews located the bulk of the survivors of the crash in and near the wreckage, but could not evacuate them due to enemy activity nearby. Three of the Nung strikers exited the wreckage and made their way back to the LZ where they were extracted with the other survivors the next day. The only American to be rescued from Shark 03 was Charlie Wilklow. In is debriefing he provided the following information.

Immediately after the crash, he looked around and saw Billy Laney lying on the helicopter floor next to the Marine crewchief, Tim Bodden. SFC Laney had sustained a chest wound prior to boarding the aircraft and had a possible broken ankle while Sgt. Bodden had a broken back. Suddenly the Marine door gunner next to him, Frank Cius, was shot in the head and slumped over his machinegun. SFC Wilklow was shot in his right leg and rolled out of the helicopter. Capt. Hanson was outside the wreckage. He said he had to get something from the aircraft. SFC Wilklow crawled away, and as he did so, he became light-headed from the loss of blood. The gunfire abruptly stopped. With his strength gone, Charlie Wilklow collapsed. He looked up and for the first time saw an NVA soldier watching him from a 60-foot high platform next to a 12.7mm machinegun. Further, he realized there were gun emplacements all around him and he had crawled into the NVA\'s base camp. Enemy soldiers were everywhere. Charlie Wilklow expected to be seized, but NVA soldiers merely walked over, saw his condition and left him there. SFC Wilklow passed out. When he awoke, his web gear was gone and he\'d been dragged a few yards into a clearing. An orange signal panel was laid out beside him and NVA gunners had their weapons trained on the clearing in the hope a rescue attempt would be made. As aircraft searched for the missing men, SFC Wilklow watched the NVA carry several American bodies away, decapitate them, than mount their heads on stakes like trophies. American POWs were also led past him, but he could not identify them. Lack of food and water kept his mind hazy and he slipped in and out of consciousness.

On the second day he saw two Caucasians in civilian clothes watching him from a distance. NVA officers were escorting them and he believed they were Russian advisors. The third day it rained for hours. On the fourth day he squirmed when he saw maggots crawling in his open wound. Barely clinging to life, the NVA no longer even watched him. That night SFC Wilklow found the strength to move and he crawled away from the enemy camp. The pain helped keep him lucid. By sunrise he had crawled and dragged himself nearly two miles. The sun was high when Charlie Wilklow heard a plane overhead. He found a signal panel the NVA missed and waved it before passing out. When he awoke, a shadowy figure was shaking his shoulders. It was SSgt. Lester Pace who had just repelled in to the area in response to the signal. Within minutes an ARVN helicopter appeared to pick them up.

Of the other men on board the Sea Night when it crashed, Capt. Steven Hanson was out of the helicopter, but returned to it to retrieve his weapon. The condition of 1st Lt. John Gardner was unknown. Sgt. Tim Bodden sustained a broken back, but was alive. LCpl. Frank Cius had been shot in the head and was lying over his machinegun. SFC Billy Laney was seen lying on the floor of the aircraft with a chest wound, and a possible broken ankle. SFC Ron Dexter left the wreckage uninjured. When last seen by Mr. Ky, the Nung Commander who was being evacuated by helicopter, Ron Dexter and several Nung strikers were in a large bomb crater firing red star clusters from a flare gun as a signal to rescue aircraft. At the time the rescue effort was terminated, Tim Bodden, Ron Dexter, John Gardner, Billy Laney, Frank Cius, Charlie Wilklow and Stephen Hanson were listed Missing in Action.

LCpl. Frank Cius was taken prisoner, moved immediately from Laos to North Vietnam and released from Hanoi on 5 March 1973. The US did not know that LCpl. Cius had been captured when the NVA reached the wreckage of the CH46A until he was released during Operation Homecoming. During his debriefing, he confirmed the fact he was the door gunner who sustained a head wound during the fight. According to Frank Cius, SFC Ronald Dexter was also captured, but died in captivity on 29 July 1967. While the Marine Corps believes Steven Hanson died of wounds received when the aircraft was overrun, his wife positively identified her husband in a widely distributed Vietnamese propaganda photograph of a pilot being captured.

In 1996, a team from the Joint Task Force for Full Accounting (JTFFA) traveled to Saravane Province to investigate this incident. Local Lao took them to a crash site where the team conducted a survey and dug a test pit from which they recovered fragments of bone and teeth. They also recovered a dogtag baring the name Steven Hanson. In February 1999, a recovery team returned to the surveyed site to excavate it. In addition to aircraft wreckage, they recovered crew-related items, more teeth and bone fragments. The team again returned to the site in June 1999 to complete the excavation and again recovered additional possible human remains. Shortly thereafter the combined remains were transported to the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CIL-HI) for examination.

On 14 August 1999, those remains were identified in this manner: For Steven Hanson, a single unrestored tooth consistent with his dental records yielded enough material for a mt-DNA match to family samples. For John Gardner a single restored molar matched dental records. For Billy Laney 6 restored teeth matched his dental records and mt-DNA taken from a fragment of the ulna (forearm) matched the family sample. For Tim Bodden there was no individual identification. According to the official record, his \"identification was made through circumstantial evidence.\" Some of the bone fragments yielded mt-DNA sequences that did not match the missing Americans and it was assumed they were Nung. Shortly thereafter the remains were returned to the families for burial. On 29 September 2000, the small amount of fragmented remains recovered from this crash site were interred as a group burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

For Billy Laney, Steven Hanson, Tim Bodden and John Gardner their fate is finally resolved and their families and friends have the peace of mind of knowing where their loved one lies. For Ron Dexter, who was a confirmed Prisoner of War, and other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, their fates could be quite different.

Comment on Incident:
Remains of our fellow Marines: Sgt. Bodden, Capt. Garner and Maj. Hanson were all recovered from Laos 2-16-99 (According to National League of Families newsletter dated 01-03-20.

Homecoming II Project:
Unit: MACV-SOG, Command & Control

Loss Coordinates: 161914N 1064049E (XD795050)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998.

SYNOPSIS: On June 3, 1967, Capt. Steven P. Hanson, pilot; 1stLt. John G. Gardner, co-pilot; Sgt. Timothy R. Bodden, crew chief/door gunner; LCpl. Frank E. Cius, doorgunner; SFC Billy R. Laney, SFC Ronald J. Dexter, SFC Charles F. Wilklow and an unknown number of ARVN personnel, all passengers, were aboard a CH46A helicopter (serial #150955) on an extraction mission in
Laos.

The USMCR aircraft picked up a U.S. Army Special Forces team attached to MACV-SOG, Command and Control, and the ARVN troops they were working with. Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG) was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special Forces channeled personnel into MACV-SOG (not a Special Forces group) through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA) which provided their "cover" while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. These teams performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions.

The aircraft received extensive automatic small arms fire upon takeoff from the Landing Zone, took numerous hits and crashed 350 meters from the LZ, located about 15 miles inside Laos west of the AShau Valley. The helicopter did not burn on impact, and continued to receive fire. Three ARVN troops were able to return to the LZ where the troops remaining at the LZ were extracted the following day.

The troops waiting at the LZ could not search because of the hostile threat in the area. Air searches located the survivors of the crash, but they could not be evacuated. The only America found to be in a position to be safely evacuated was SFC Wilklow. He gave the following account of what happened to the crew and passengers aboard the CH46:

SFC Dexter appeared uninjured and left the wreckage with a large number of ARVN troops. Capt. Hanson was wounded and outside the helicopter, but stated that he had to return to get his carbine. The Marine Corps believes he died of the wounds he received when the aircraft was overrun, although Hanson's wife later identified her husband in a widely distributed Vietnamese propaganda photograph of a pilot being captured. When last seen, all the other Americans were still in the wreckage, and enemy troops (the U.S. Army says they were Viet Cong; the U.S. Marines say they were North Vietnamese Army - possibly a joint force of both) were tossing grenades toward the aircraft with no attempt to capture the personnel inside. Wilklow left the crash site, and noted that gunfire suddenly stopped. He continued to evade the enemy and was picked up 3 days later.

When Mr. Ky, the Nung Commander was being evacuated by the last helicopter out, he noted several men (undoubtedly Dexter and the ARVN) in a large bomb crater firing red star clusters from a flare gun. Frank Cius was taken prisoner and released from Hanoi in 1973. He was one of the dozen or so captured by the Vietnamese and taken immediately to Hanoi claimed to be the ”Laos" prisoners. In reality, none of the dozen had been held in Laos. Ronald Dexter, according to Frank Cius, was captured, and died in captivity on July 29, 1967. John Gardner, according to the USMCR, died on the ground after the crash of the aircraft due to intense enemy fire. Billy Laney was last seen lying wounded on the floor of the aircraft between a crewmember with a broken back and the door gunner with a head wound.

NOTE: the USMCR states that Bodden, door gunner was shot in the back and never left the aircraft, but reports received by the National League of Families indicate that he and Dexter were definitely alive after the aircraft crashed. The U.S. did not know Cius was captured until he was released, evidently believing he never exited the aircraft, and Wilklow had indicated that the Vietnamese were not trying to capture the occupants of the aircraft. Therefore, as door gunner, he must have been the "door gunner with the head wound,” and Bodden the "crewmember with a broken back".

Arlington National Cemetery Website:

Name: Stephen Paul Hanson
Rank/Branch: Major/US Marine Corps
Unit: HMM 165, Marine Air Group 36
Date of Birth: 04 January 1940
Home of Record: Burbank, California
Date of Loss: 03 June 1967
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 161914N 1064049E (XD795050)
Status in 1973: Missing in Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: CH46A "Sea Knight"
Other Personnel In Incident: Timothy R. Bodden; Ronald J. Dexter; John G. Gardner and Billy Laney; (all missing); Mr. Ky and Charles F. Wilklow (rescued); Frank E. Cius (returned POW)
REMARKS: LAST SEEN IN CRASHED AIRCRAFT

SYNOPSIS:

The Boeing-Vertol CH46 Sea Knight arrived in Southeast Asia on 8 March 1966 and served the Marine Corps throughout the rest of the war. With a crew of three or four depending on mission requirements, the tandem-rotor transport helicopter could carry 24 fully equipped troops or 4600 pounds of cargo and was instrumental in moving Marines throughout South Vietnam, then supplying them accordingly.

Military Assistance Command Vietnam - Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG) was a joint service unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special Forces channeled personnel into MACV-SOG through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA) that provided their "cover" while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. These teams performed highly classified, deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction that were called, depending on the location and time frame, "Shining Brass," “Salem House,” “Daniel Boone” or "Prairie Fire" missions.

Oscar Eight was the code name given to a sector of eastern Laos located in rugged jungle covered mountains approximately 25 miles northwest of the infamous A Shau Valley, Saravane Province, Laos. The area encompassed the junction of Highway 92, which was a primary north-south artery of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and Highway 922, which branched off and ran directly east where it crossed into South Vietnam at a strategic point near the northern edge of the A Shau Valley. Oscar Eight was also located at the southeastern end of a large and narrow jungle covered valley that had two primary roads running through it, one on each side of the valley. Highway 92 ran along the west side and Highway 919 along the east. A power line ran parallel to Highway 92 and sometimes crossed it. In addition to the roads and power line, the Hoi An River also flowed through the valley passing the road junction roughly 1 mile west of it.

More American aircraft were downed in this sector than any other place in Laos. This was because burrowed deep in the hills of Oscar Eight was North Vietnamese General Vo Bam's 559th Transportation Group's forward headquarters. It was also the Ho Chi Minh Trail's control center and contained the largest NVA storage facility outside of North Vietnam. Oscar Eight was defended by consecutive belts of anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) guns of all sizes that were not only stationed on the ground, but also mounted on platforms in the trees and were expertly camouflaged. Oscar Eight also favored the enemy because the only suitable landing zones were located in a wide bowl surrounded by jungle covered high ground containing AAA guns and bunkered infantry.

A major raid on Oscar Eight began on 2 June 1967 with a dawn Arc Light mission by 9 B52 bombers. As the smoke cleared, 9 ARVN Kingbee and 5 Marine CH46 helicopters landed a Nung Hatchet Force company including the company's MACV-SOG advisors SFC Billy R. Laney, SFC Ronald J. "Ron" Dexter and SFC Charles F. "Charlie" Wilklow. The raiders had barely landed when the 100-man force was surrounded and vastly outnumbered by NVA soldiers. They took cover in bomb craters, then called in gunships and tactical airstrikes dangerously close. Even though the raiders were armed with enough firepower to cut down any NVA assault, they did not have enough to launch an assault. The situation rapidly turned into a stalemate that lasted all afternoon and all night. Shortly after dawn on 3 June, helicopters supported by fighters took off from Khe Sanh to retrieve the Hatchet Force. Throughout the rescue mission, airstrikes by a wide variety of US and ARVN aircraft were employed. During these airstrikes 4 American aircraft were shot down - 1 A1E Skyraider, 1 F4 Phantom and 2 helicopter gunships. Only the pilot of the A1E, Lt. Col. Lewis M. Robinson, was not recovered. He was unable to eject before he crashed into a jungle covered valley roughly 5 miles south and slightly east of the battle site. Lewis Robinson was listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.

Finally the first Marine CH46 Sea Knight was able to settle among the bomb craters while taking hits from enemy ground fire. It safely lifted away with almost a platoon of Nung strikers aboard including Mr. Ky, the commander. The crew of the second Sea Knight (serial #150955), call sign "Shark 03," to reach the LZ was comprised of then Capt. Steven P. Hanson, pilot; 1st Lt. John G. Gardner, co-pilot; Sgt. Timothy R. "Tim" Bodden, crew chief; LCpl. Frank E. Cius, door gunner. After the first helicopter lifted off, it landed to pick up more survivors. Billy Laney, Ron Dexter, Charlie Wilklow and roughly two dozen Nungs leaped aboard as it lifted off the ground. NVA tracer rounds were seen focused on the aircraft. When one of the pilots was wounded the aircraft veered out of control, hit the trees, spun violently, fell 100 feet and broke in half landing approximately 350 meters from the LZ.

Dead and wounded Nung strikers were piled everywhere. Search and Rescue (SAR) aircrews located the bulk of the survivors of the crash in and near the wreckage, but could not evacuate them due to enemy activity nearby. Three of the Nung strikers exited the wreckage and made their way back to the LZ where they were extracted with the other survivors the next day. The only American to be rescued from Shark 03 was Charlie Wilklow. In is debriefing he provided the following information.

Immediately after the crash, he looked around and saw Billy Laney lying on the helicopter floor next to the Marine crewchief, Tim Bodden. SFC Laney had sustained a chest wound prior to boarding the aircraft and had a possible broken ankle while Sgt. Bodden had a broken back. Suddenly the Marine door gunner next to him, Frank Cius, was shot in the head and slumped over his machinegun. SFC Wilklow was shot in his right leg and rolled out of the helicopter. Capt. Hanson was outside the wreckage. He said he had to get something from the aircraft. SFC Wilklow crawled away, and as he did so, he became light-headed from the loss of blood. The gunfire abruptly stopped. With his strength gone, Charlie Wilklow collapsed. He looked up and for the first time saw an NVA soldier watching him from a 60-foot high platform next to a 12.7mm machinegun. Further, he realized there were gun emplacements all around him and he had crawled into the NVA's base camp. Enemy soldiers were everywhere. Charlie Wilklow expected to be seized, but NVA soldiers merely walked over, saw his condition and left him there. SFC Wilklow passed out. When he awoke, his web gear was gone and he'd been dragged a few yards into a clearing. An orange signal panel was laid out beside him and NVA gunners had their weapons trained on the clearing in the hope a rescue attempt would be made. As aircraft searched for the missing men, SFC Wilklow watched the NVA carry several American bodies away, decapitate them, than mount their heads on stakes like trophies. American POWs were also led past him, but he could not identify them. Lack of food and water kept his mind hazy and he slipped in and out of consciousness.

On the second day he saw two Caucasians in civilian clothes watching him from a distance. NVA officers were escorting them and he believed they were Russian advisors. The third day it rained for hours. On the fourth day he squirmed when he saw maggots crawling in his open wound. Barely clinging to life, the NVA no longer even watched him. That night SFC Wilklow found the strength to move and he crawled away from the enemy camp. The pain helped keep him lucid. By sunrise he had crawled and dragged himself nearly two miles. The sun was high when Charlie Wilklow heard a plane overhead. He found a signal panel the NVA missed and waved it before passing out. When he awoke, a shadowy figure was shaking his shoulders. It was SSgt. Lester Pace who had just repelled in to the area in response to the signal. Within minutes an ARVN helicopter appeared to pick them up.

Of the other men on board the Sea Night when it crashed, Capt. Steven Hanson was out of the helicopter, but returned to it to retrieve his weapon. The condition of 1st Lt. John Gardner was unknown. Sgt. Tim Bodden sustained a broken back, but was alive. LCpl. Frank Cius had been shot in the head and was lying over his machinegun. SFC Billy Laney was seen lying on the floor of the aircraft with a chest wound, and a possible broken ankle. SFC Ron Dexter left the wreckage uninjured. When last seen by Mr. Ky, the Nung Commander who was being evacuated by helicopter, Ron Dexter and several Nung strikers were in a large bomb crater firing red star clusters from a flare gun as a signal to rescue aircraft. At the time the rescue effort was terminated, Tim Bodden, Ron Dexter, John Gardner, Billy Laney, Frank Cius, Charlie Wilklow and Stephen Hanson were listed Missing in Action.

LCpl. Frank Cius was taken prisoner, moved immediately from Laos to North Vietnam and released from Hanoi on 5 March 1973. The US did not know that LCpl. Cius had been captured when the NVA reached the wreckage of the CH46A until he was released during Operation Homecoming. During his debriefing, he confirmed the fact he was the door gunner who sustained a head wound during the fight. According to Frank Cius, SFC Ronald Dexter was also captured, but died in captivity on 29 July 1967. While the Marine Corps believes Steven Hanson died of wounds received when the aircraft was overrun, his wife positively identified her husband in a widely distributed Vietnamese propaganda photograph of a pilot being captured.

In 1996, a team from the Joint Task Force for Full Accounting (JTFFA) traveled to Saravane Province to investigate this incident. Local Lao took them to a crash site where the team conducted a survey and dug a test pit from which they recovered fragments of bone and teeth. They also recovered a dogtag baring the name Steven Hanson. In February 1999, a recovery team returned to the surveyed site to excavate it. In addition to aircraft wreckage, they recovered crew-related items, more teeth and bone fragments. The team again returned to the site in June 1999 to complete the excavation and again recovered additional possible human remains. Shortly thereafter the combined remains were transported to the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CIL-HI) for examination.

On 14 August 1999, those remains were identified in this manner: For Steven Hanson, a single unrestored tooth consistent with his dental records yielded enough material for a mt-DNA match to family samples. For John Gardner a single restored molar matched dental records. For Billy Laney 6 restored teeth matched his dental records and mt-DNA taken from a fragment of the ulna (forearm) matched the family sample. For Tim Bodden there was no individual identification. According to the official record, his "identification was made through circumstantial evidence." Some of the bone fragments yielded mt-DNA sequences that did not match the missing Americans and it was assumed they were Nung. Shortly thereafter the remains were returned to the families for burial. On 29 September 2000, the small amount of fragmented remains recovered from this crash site were interred as a group burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

Submitted by Alan H Barbour, Historian, USMC Combat Helicopter Association

Comment on Incident from “Stars and Stripes” 10 Sept 2000:
Details on the Marine officer’s death still are fuzzy.
On June 3, 1967, Gardner’s helicopter crew and four other crews flew their CH46A Sea Knights into the Saravane Province of Laos. Their mission: pull out a team of Army Special Forces and South Vietnamese soldiers from a jungle floor filled with enemy soldiers.

They successfully flew in and loaded the Americans and South Vietnamese, but moments after liftoff they came under heavy fire, and three of the birds went down, including Gardner’s.
One soldier who was captured by the Viet Cong that day and later released testified to U.S. military investigators that he last saw Gardner strapped in the cockpit.

“The soldier said the pilot and Gardner had both survived the crash, but he never saw whether they got out of the helicopter or not,” said Larry Greer, a spokesman for the Defense Department POW/MIA Office at the Pentagon.
Over the past decade, as relations between Vietnam and the United States have improved, some U.S. soldiers’ remains have been returned.

Missions to Vietnam and Laos typically take place five times a year, with six teams deploying to Vietnam and three or four teams deploying to Laos, according to Defense Department officials. To date, about 2,100 Americans still remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

It took investigators at the Joint Task Force Full Accounting Office and the Central Identification Laboratory, both in Hawaii, several years and three major expeditions to discover Gardner’s remains, along with several other Marines and Army soldiers at the crash site.

It wasn’t until January of this year that they finally identified a molar tooth of Gardner’s through DNA tests provided by blood samples previously provided by his mother and several other family members.

No one knew that Gardner, a Marine helicopter pilot, would die in June 1967, just two months after he said goodbye in Hawaii and shipped out to Vietnam.
But on Friday, 33 years later, Gardner finally made it back when his remains were interred at Arlington National Cemetery in an emotional ceremony that included a full Marine honor guard, a 21-gun salute and a six-horse caisson from the Army 3rd Infantry Division’s “Old Guard” at Fort Myers, Va.

And while Gardner gave his life trying to carry Army soldiers to safety, he relied on his family to get him to his final resting place. The service member who performed the traditional duty of escorting the remains — more specifically, a single molar tooth — to their burial was none other than Brewer.

“I’ve gone through every emotion imaginable in the last three days,” said Brewer, who flew to the military’s Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii earlier last week. “I was sitting with the casket in the chapel in Hawaii and said, ‘Uncle John, I’m taking you home.’

“I’m so proud to be his nephew,” he said. “This is the greatest honor I’ve ever had.”

Personal Narrative:
I was not on this mission, but like all of the pilots in the squadron was very concerned about all the crew, particularly Steve Hanson. He was one of the plank holders in 165 and was liked by all. My recollection of the incident comes from our ready room discussions and the words we heard from LtCol Romine, our X.O. at the time of the incident, on his return. In fact, the survivors probably owe a lot to him, because he was a trained ALO and he called in the airstrikes that kept the NVA at bay.

The situation in the pickup zone was chaotic and we felt the helos were most likely overloaded. When LtCol Romine turned his a/c to the left and Steve went to the right, they had trouble gaining altitude. Enemy fire was contributing as well; however, the one advantage the H-46 had over previous helicopters was its ability to climb out of danger quickly. With the heavy loads that advantage was lost. We all felt that Steve's crew were lost, especially after the Army Sgt was recovered and debriefed. I wore a bracelet with Steve's name on it until it finally broke and was always alert for news.

I read later that Steve's wife identified his picture as a prisoner, but wondered if it could be true, given what I knew. Later I had closure from the postings on this site. He was a great squadron mate and will always be remembered.

Submitted by Joseph NeSmith, LtCol USMC (ret), Pilot in HMM-165 and friend of Steve Hanson's

Personal Narrative:
By a quirk of fate, I was taken off the mission and John was put on it.

It was deternmined that Steve and I could not be on the same plane as pilot and co-pilot, since we were the only two in the squadron the had the combination to the S&C safe. The powers in command said that one of us had to come off. This type of mission was a "take turn" and the command said it was Steve's turn. I was in country about 3 months and they said I would have my turn at a later time. I told John at the time I had nothing to do with the decision.

All these years I wondered what happened to John, and in the mid-nineties I saw where Frank Cius was released as a POW and communicated with him as to what happened. His story is a little different from what I read in this synopsis, but it is close.

He commented that it was John out of the aircraft and Steve was still in the aircraft. It is a moot point but Frank eluded capture for several days, couldn't get the attention of the overhead a/c, so he and some of the Nungs tried to walk out, and were later captured. I have thought of John and Steve many times over the years and had many sleepless nights thinking of them. No one in life can think why things happen the way they do but I surely offer my sympathy and condolences to these fine men.

Submitted by Thomas W. Hummel, closest friend to John in the squadron

Mission Information:
Steve Hanson, my good friend from flight school and HMM-165, shouted to me the morning before the incident as we walked across the LZ at Khe Sanh "Hey Roger, I have a mission for you." At first I thought he was serious, then he grinned an said SOG. "No, I just got off, thank you." We parted ways and I never saw him again. Later that afternoon I was launched with another H-46 to the incident area but was turned before we got there to pick up a recon team in that area. The other 46 did a rope extraction while I circled. On our way back to Khe Sanh we heard the A-1 that was damaged in the mid air ask if Khe Sahn had fire fighting ability. The answer was no, so he said he was going to land elswhere. A few days later Mike Pepple and I went over to the Army side to read the hand written report from Wilklow. It has never been mentioned that a "butterfly" was shot down on that mission but he was rescued.

Submitted by Roger Simmons, Steve Hanson replaced me as SOG stand by

Capt John G. Gardner:

Capt John Garrett Gardner and family



Submitted by MGySgt George Curtis, Popasmoke Admin

MSgt Timothy Roy Bodden:

http://www.popasmoke.com/visions/image.php?source=2314


Submitted by MGySgt George Curtis, Popasmoke Admin

MSgt Timothy Roy Bodden, HMM-165:

http://www.virtualwall.org/db/BoddenTR01a.htm


Submitted by MGySgt George Curtis, Popasmoke Admin

Maj Stephen Paul Hanson:

Capt. Steve Hanson rests in his bunk at Ky Ha. This is one of the last known photos of him before he was shot down on 3 June, 1967

http://www.hmm165whiteknights.com/namphoto/1967pho2.htm

Submitted by MGySgt George Curtis, Popasmoke Admin

Burial Information - Arlington National Cemetery:

Photograph By M. R. Patterson, October 2002
On 29 September 2000, the small amount of fragmented remains recovered from this crash site were interred as a group burial in Arlington National Cemetery.

Capt John G. Gardner, Caisson:

A caisson from the Army 3rd Infantry Division’s “Old Guard” at Fort Myer, Virginia, carries the remains of Marine Corps Capt. John Gardner to his final resting place at Arlington National Cemetery on 09/08/2000.

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jgardner.htm



Submitted by MGySgt George Curtis, Popasmoke Admin

Capt John G. Gardner, HMM-165:

Margorie Daigle, Capt. John Gardner's widow; Susan Gardner Daigle, his daughter; and Army Staff Sgt. Keith Brewer, his nephew, watch the solemn military burial ceremony on 09/08/2000.

http://www.arlingtoncemetery.net/jgardner.htm

Submitted by MGySgt George Curtis, Popasmoke Admin

Family Information:
Gentlemen, thank you for letting my uncle John live on in your continued efforts to pursue the remainder of our heroes so they are not forgotten. I was stationed in Germany when I received the news of my uncle's remains and subsequent recovery.

I flew from Frankfurt to Hawaii and met my uncle again for only the second and last time. As I walked in I saw his coffin that had been draped with the American flag and I felt his presence. I sat in the funeral home for some time with what was left of him and finally told him out loud that I was taking him home. I felt sudden spiritual relief and knew without a doudt that he was with me there in the room. I looked down in the casket and saw his Marine Corps uniform with combat awards and gold aviators wings. I felt the bag placed under the right shoulder sleeve and eppilet with his bone fragment inside and knew I was doing something wonderful for him. He just wanted to go home to America.

This was the most important mission I have ever done and I can compare nothing to it. Even the birth of my children do do justice to what my family and the Marine Corps asked me to do. I am a veteran of several conflicts and am a disabled vet myself but I cannot compare my ordeal to what he must have gone through in the moments preceeding his death. I do know that he was a born again Chrisitan and I do know that he is in a better place and I do know that bringing him home has eased years of pain for my Aunt Marjorie and his daughter Susan. Thank you all and God bless you and America

P.S. the photo of Uncle John is not his wife and children but that of my Mom (Louise), brother (Kevin) and me (he has his hand on my head) taken in Honolulu Hawaii. My Father took the photo just before he (Uncle John) left for Vietnam

Sincerely
Keith P. Brewer, GS-12
Antiterrorist Officer
SSG, USA Retired

Submitted by Keith P. Brewer, SSG USA (Ret), Nephew of CPT Gardner and burial escort

Personal Narrative:
It was a moving experience to learn that Tim Bodden had finally made it home, as well as to see pictures of a man I never knew, but think of often. I had his bracelet "back in the day," when POW/MIA bracelets were fairly common, &nd retained it until it broke during my own service in the Marines ('75-'78), then hanging on to the two halves for many years.

Now, here's something a little eerie; in the late '80s, I was living in Austin TX, and the Texas Viet Nam Vets had a booth at an event I attended, so I thought I'd see about getting a replacement bracelet. A gentleman working the booth gave me a form to fill out with all the information I could remember about my MIA. When I handed it back, he looked at it, got a strange look, and whistled. It turned out that he had Tim Bodden's bracelet on HIS wrist at that very moment! This same gentleman (whose name I wish I could recall) personally delivered the new bracelet to my workplace; I wear it to this day, even though its original red color has almost entirely faded, and it's fairly scratched up. Although Tim Bodden is now home and rests in a place of honor, I will continue to do so, for those who are, as the submariners say, "still on patrol."

Submitted by Rob Moore, Fellow Marine, bracelet wearer

Family Information:
I would like to give the MIA bracelet that I have had for all these years for Capt Stephen Hanson, MIA 6-3-67 back to his family. Can anyone help me find them please?
Submitted by Mary Johnson, MIA Bracelet

Family Interest:
I have a bracelet with Capt Stephen Hanson's name on it. I would like to return it to his family.
Submitted by Debbie Greig, bracelet wearer

Family Information:
Today is Veterans Day 2010.. today I saw the picture of Steven Hanson who's bracelet I have been wearing for so many years. I would like to give it to his family. Please help me to get in touch with them.
Submitted by Mary Warren, Still wearing pow/mia bracelet

Personal Request:
I have a MIA bracelet with Capt. Hanson's name on it since 1967. MIA 6-3-67. I would like to give it to his family...
Submitted by Jeanette Seidl, Wore MIA bracelet for Capt. Shephen Hanson USMC


USMC/COMBAT HELICOPTER ASSOCIATION