AMESBURY, HARRY ARLO, JR.
Remains retruned and Identified May 2001.
Name: Harry Arlo Amesbury, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Unit: CCK Air Force Base, Taiwan - TDY to 345th Tacticial Airlift Squadron,
Tan Son Nhut ABSV
Date of Birth: 13 February 1932
Home City of Record: Morrison IL
Loss Date: 26 April 1972
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 113803N 1063547E (XT745866)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: C130E
Refno: 1837
Other Personnel In Incident: Calvin C. Cooke; Richard E. Dunn; Donald R.
Hoskins; Richard L. Russell (all missing); Kurt F. Weisman (remains returned)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 31 April 1990 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 2001 with family contact.
REMARKS: CRASH - 1 REM RCV - N SIGN SUBJ - J
SYNOPSIS: From the CCK Air Force Base base in Taiwan, C-130 crews flew to
different locations, including Korea, Borneo, Indonesia, Japan, Africa, etc.
But most trips were to various bases in Vietnam for 3 week stays. Then the
men would return to the base in Taiwan for 3 days. On one such Vietnam tour,
one C130E had a crew consisting of Harry A. Amesbury, pilot; Richard L.
Russell, navigator, Richard E. Dunn, loadmaster, Calvin C. Cooke, Donald R.
Hoskins, and Kurt F. Weisman, crew members. This crew was TDY to 345th
Tactical Airlift Squadron at Tan Son Nhut Airbase, South Vietnam.
On April 26, 1972, Amesbury's aircraft and crew were making a night drop of
supplies to South Vietnamese forces trapped in An Loc, South Vietnam (about
65 miles from Saigon). The provincial capitol had been under seige by North
Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces off and on since early April. Supply drops
and air support were critically needed and often hampered by hostile forces
outside the city. Upon approach to the drop site at a very low level, the
aircraft was hit by enemy fire and was reported to be down. The men onboard
the aircraft were declared Missing in Action.
Supply drops were generally accomplished in one of two ways, both requiring
that the plane be airborne, and flying at very low altitudes. Using one
method, parachutes attached to the supply pallets were deployed. As the
plane flew over, the parachutes pulled the cargo from the plane. Using
another method, a hook attached to the cargo was dropped from the plane,
affixed to some firm fixture on the ground. As the plane departed the area,
the cargo was pulled out of the plane. Both required considerable skill
under the best of circumstances.
According to the Department of the Air Force, it received unspecified
information that contained evidence of death for the crew members on May 5,
1972. The status of the missing men was changed to Killed in Action/Body Not
Recovered.
In February, 1975, non-American friendly forces recovered and returned the
remains of Kurt Weisman. No information surfaced on the rest of the crew.
All onboard had been assumed killed in the downing of the plane. If this is
the case, why weren't the other remains recovered as well?
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UPDATE LINE: June 29, 2001
Thank you for calling the National League of Families Update Line.
This message is being recorded Friday, June 29th. According to the
Department of Defense, the number of Americans missing and unaccounted for
from the Vietnam War is 1,973.
On June 20th, the League was informed that six Americans were recently
accounted for. David W. Morrill and Maxim C. Parker, both USMC, were
jointly recovered in South Vietnam June 9, 1993.
The remains of Victor J. Apodaca, Jr., USAF, were repatriated April 27,
1989.
The November 14, 1991 joint recovery of the remains of Harry A. Amesbury,
Jr., USAF, brought an accepted identification.
And, the remains of Harley B. Pyles, USAF, and Winfield Wade Sisson, USMC,
were jointly recovered in South Vietnam on April 8, 1993.
The accounting for these six US personnel brings the number now missing and
unaccounted for in Vietnam to 1,481, with 417 in Laos, 67 in Cambodia and 8
in the territorial waters of the PRC.  Over 90% of the 1,973 Americans
still missing from the Vietnam War were lost in areas under Vietnam's
wartime control.