BUTLER, DEWEY RENEE
Name: Dewey Renee Butler Rank/Branch: E3/US Army Unit: Troop C; 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry; 1st Cavalry Division Date of Birth: 15 August 1949 (Goldsboro NC) Home City of Record: Washington DC Date of Loss: 14 July 1969 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 111559N 1064500E (XT910459) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1B Refno: 1466
Other Personnel In Incident: WO Ernest Burns; co-pilot SSG Ray G. Davis (platoon Sgt, flying as crew chief on this mission), Maj Thomas M. Felton (aircraft and Troop Commander); all killed, remains recovered.
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 2004 with information provided by Rickey McDonald.
SYNOPSIS: On a rainy July 14, 1969, a UH1B gunship helicopter from Troop C, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry was sent on a night combat support mission in Binh Duong Province, South Vietnam about 10 miles northeast of Ben Cat. Its crew included Maj. Thomas M. Felton, pilot; Warrant officer Ernest D. Burns copilot; PFC Dewey R. Butler, door gunner; Sgt. Ray G. Davis, platoon Sgt and flying as crew chief on this mission. The UH1B was operating with a "Pink Team" when it collided in mid-air with the team's OH6A LOH helicopter.
The UH1B lost it's main rotor system and severed the tail boom of the OH6A. The UH1B exploded and caught fire, and continued in a northwesterly heading until it hit trees and exploded. It then crashed and burned. All four crewmembers of the UH1B were killed, but the three crewmembers of the OH6A survived and were evacuated from the area.
The primary mission of 1/9 cav 1st Cav Div was reconnaissance and they primarily operated independently from other units. The color system of identifying the various units was peculiar to cavalry units. The white section, or "Whites" were the scouts. The LOH lost on July 14, was a "White". The "Reds" were the gun platoon, and were normally Cobra gunships or UH1C / UH1B gunships, which were usually flown by the Troop Commander as a Command and control aircraft. The blue section was the Aero Rifle Platoon.
The common acronym used to describe infantry within the cavalry unit is "Blues", just as other units described infantry as "grunts". The team of two, a LOH and Cobra helicopters came to be known as a "Pink" team and also called Hunter -Killer teams. When the pink team found an enemy unit that they wanted to pursue, they would attack with the gunships and then call the "Blues". The "Whites" would provide scouting assistance in inserting and extracting "Blues", while the "Reds" provided cover. The Blues were inserted and extracted by the "lift" platoon of UH1H or UH1D aircraft.
Butler's aircraft was a red platoon aircraft and the command and control aircraft on this mission.
When search teams located the wreckage of the helicopters, they found the bodies of Burns, Davis, and Felton and Butler whose remains had been mutilated. Identification was still possible as the LRRP Captain on the search and rescue team recognized Butler's negroid features immediately. It was felt that the mutilation was not done by the enemy but was caused by the violent crash.
All of the bodies were left at the crash site for that night because of heavy enemy activity, the following day Butler's body had disappeared before it could be recovered and an official positive identification could be made. As Pig tracks were found leading away from the area, it was believed that the remains may have been carried away by animals and could not be recovered.
There was, however, a boot recovered with the foot of a negroid male. The UH1B, OH6A and many other aircraft were in this area supporting a team of LRRP Rangers that had been ambushed, killing all but one of the LRRPS. This team was attempting to locate a site to insert the Blues to rescue the LRRP and recover the bodies. Due to the low light conditions the two aircraft collided. Sgt Davis had replaced the regular crew chief on this bird because that crew chief was flying on another bird at the time. SSG Davis was scheduled to leave Vietnam and the Army in 3 days.
Dewey Butler's name is on the roll of missing because his family has received no body to bury. Others on the lists of unaccounted for cannot be so easily explained. Experts now believe that hundreds of the nearly 2400 missing are still alive, held captive. Dewey Butler may be dead, but he would surely be willing to fly one more mission to help his comrades to freedom were he alive. Why can't we bring these men home?
The information I have provided is an accurate record of Dewey Butler and the accident that killed him and the other crew members. I was the regular assigned crew chief of that aircraft but I had been flying in another LOH that day, which was supporting the LRRP team before they were ambushed, because my aircraft, the UH1B, was not flying. SSG Davis took this flight when Major Felton came out to the flight line and wanted to go to the site to command the mission. There were only three crew chiefs in the Troop that were experienced on UH1B or UH1C aircraft. Two were unavailable leaving SSG Ray Davis who flew as crew chief. Dewey Butler was a very special person that I will never forget. We had great times flying together, even though it was a short time.
Rickey McDonald LMHC