GATES, ALBERT HENRY JR.
Name: Albert Henry Gates Jr.
Branch/Rank: United States Marine Corps/O3
Unit: HELICOPTER MARINE MEDIUM 263 MARINE AIR GROUP 16
      1 MARINE AIR WING
Date of Birth: 01 September 1943
Home City of Record: EAST GREENBUSH NY
Date of Loss: 07 March 1970
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 161920 North  1074829 East
Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: CH46D   TAIL #154043 CH-46A
Missions:
Other Personnel in Incident:
Refno:
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File. Updated 2003 - see source below.
REMARKS:
==========================
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 20:57:35 -0500
From: Jerry Ostapowicz <jostapwicz@comcast.net>
USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Pilots
Subject: Comments on Gates, Albert Henry
Incident Date 700307 CH-46A 154043+
Austin, Glenn Frederic CPL CrewChief HMM-263/MAG-16/1stMAW 700307
Smith, Andrew William SGT Gunner HMM-263/MAG-16/1stMAW 700307
Kimura, Kay Kazu 1stLT Copilot HMM-263/MAG-16/1stMAW 700307
Gates Jr., Albert Henry CAPT AircraftCommander HMM-263/MAG-16/1stMAW 700307
One Survivor . gunner . name unknown
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AUSTIN GLENN FREDERIC : 500484061 : USMCR : CPL : E4 : 6320 : 22 : MADISON
HEIGHTS : MI : 19700307 : Air Loss Crash Land : Crew : body recovered :
Quang Nam(DaNang) :02 : 19470714 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 13W : 091
GATES ALBERT HENRY JR : 114344622 : USMC : CAPT : O3 : 7562 (H-46) : 26 :
EAST GREENBUSH : NY : 19700307 : Air Loss Crash Land : Aircraft Commander :
body NOT recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) :03 : 19430901 : Cauc :
Protestant/married : 13W : 092
KIMURA KAY KAZU : 518503536 : USMC : 1stLT : O2 : 7562 (H-46) : 26 : NAMPA :
ID : 19700307 : Air Loss Crash Land : Crew : body recovered : Thua Thien
(Hue) :02 : 19431101 : M : married : 13W : 092
SMITH ANDREW WILLIAM : 527624910 : USMCR :SGT : E5 : 2851 : 25 : PHOENIX :
AZ : 19700307 : Air Loss Crash Land : Crew : body recovered : Thua Thien
(Hue) :03 : 19441204 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 13W : 094

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Comments on Incident:
Originally I was scheduled to fly co-pilot with Al Gates that day. The frag
order was for a 46 to chase a Huey that was coming down from up north. The
Huey was carrying a heavy who was attending some sort of change of command
ceremony in the DaNang area. K.K. Kimura had only recently reported in and
was a very junior co-pilot. He was scheduled to fly co-pilot with Paul
Sniffin who had the Recon mission.
The WX was really bad that morning, almost zero/zero, and all launches were
holding. K.K. and I played a little Acey-Deucey while waiting for things to
clear up a bit. While we sat at the A-Doo board, the Ops Officer, Maj. Toben
came in, looked at the schedules board and directed the ODO to switch K.K.
and me. Since I was the more experienced co-pilot, he thought I should be on
Recon instead of what was basically a milk-run VIP chase.
After several hours, the WX improved somewhat and the Recon package launched
out. After an uneventful day of routine inserts and extracts, we recovered
back at Marble around 1700-1800. While I was post-flighting the a/c one of
the crew chiefs came up and asked me if I had heard that his bird had gone
down in the water, killing the entire crew. When I asked who was flying it
he said it was Capt. Gates and Lt. Kimura.
As it turned out, one of the gunners survived. Basically, all we found out
came from his account. He told us that they were flying in "really bad" WX,
chasing the Huey when they went inadvertent IFR and crashed into the water
about 500 yards off the beach. I don't recall the exact location, but it
seems to me that it was north of DaNang. He also told us that even though he
couldn't be sure, he thought he remembered a loud noise coming from the rear
of the a/c and both pilots looking back into the cabin just before impact.
The surviving gunner was picked up by a Vietnamese fisherman, who took him
to the beach, dropped him off and then just left, apparently unconcerned
with helping him any further. About a week later, KK's remains washed up on
the beach down by Chu Lai. To the best of my knowledge, the other three were
never recovered.
I was appointed to the investigating board and tasked with looking into
contributing factors. My comments indicated that the most significant factor
was sending an inexperienced crew (Gates had only recently made HAC with
very little in-country H2P time) out in unsatisfactory weather to fly an
unnecessary mission. Submitted by Jerry Martin, HMM-263 squadron mate,
member of Accident Board