LONGANECKER, RONALD LEE
Name: Ronald Lee Longanecker
Branch/Rank: United States Marine Corps/E3
Unit: A CO 3 REC BN 3 MAR DIV
Date of Birth: 13 October 1947
Home City of Record: PORTLAND OR
Date of Loss: 08 July 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162354 North  1074250 East
Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground:  CH46 #151947
Missions:
Other Personnel in Incident:
Refno: 0390
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 below.
REMARKS:
CACCF/CRASH/NON-AIRCREW/THUA THIEN
==============================================
March 01, 2001
Thought you would like some acurate information on the loss of Ronald Lee
Longanecker (MIA) KIA/BNR since you have nothing in your
file on him other then ID information.
George Neville
see
http://georgeneville.com/longanecker.htm
Enter website at http://www.georgeneville.com/alpha.htm
===============================
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 21:50:46 -0500
From: Jerry Ostapowicz <jostapwicz@comcast.net>
USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Pilots
Subject: Info on Longanecker, Ronald Lee
Incident Date 660708 CH-46A HMM-164 151947+
Longanecker, Ronald Lee LCPL Passenger "A"Co/3rdRecBn 660708

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LONGANECKER RONALD LEE : 2153617 : USMCR : LCPL : E3 : 0311 : 18 : PORTLAND
: OR : 19660708 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger - "A"Co3rdRecBn : body
NOT recovered : Thua Thien (Hue) : 00 : 19471013 : Cauc : Protestant/single:
09E : 007
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Comments on Incident:
2 H46's inserted recon team SW of Cam Lo. The team made heavy contact and
were successfully extracted. The same team was inserted 2 hours later. On
this insertion a 46 piloted by 1st Lt. Bert L. Nale and 1st Lt David W.
McCleery (HMM-164) was shot down. The helo burst into flames and all on
board were able to exit the bird with exception of Recon LCpl Ronald
Longanecker who is believed to have perished in the blaze. This incident was
the first of many choppers to be shot down in Quang Tri Province and
Longanecker was the first Marine KIA in Quang Tri. Also the first to be
listed as KIA/BNR. Submitted by George Neville, A/3rdRecBn/3rdMarines.
Narrative from "Never Without Heroes" by Lawrence C. Vetter Jr.
"The first patrol zone was to be about 4.5 miles southwest of Cam Lo in a
pocket with ridgelines on all sides. The only openings were made by the Rao
Vinh River where it flowed into and then out of the bowl. The method of
operation was the same.
Al Gordon was on the first chopper to land and remembers:
"The back hatch dropped, and I ran down the ramp into the grass followed by
Ray. The whole squad was out and heading for the tree line when we suddenly
realized that the second chopper had come under heavy fire and couldn't get
in. There seemed to be a couple of automatic weapons, and I don't know how
many other small amts firing away at the birds from a nearby hill not more
than two to three hundred meters away. We took cover in the trees and
watched our helicopters in the air trying to stay out of range, and we
wondered what the hell was going to happen next.
Then we got the word that jets were coming in to rip the area, and we should
mark our positions. So I took a colored panel out in front of us and then
just sat back and was fascinated by the air show that came in. Our squad
hadn't yet come under fire, and now it was an air?to?ground battle with us
as spectators."
"The Huey gunships came in first," Ray Strohl added. "We always had two of
them nearby during these DMZ patrols. They were the first to hit that
hillside. When the jets came in, I swear they were so close I believe I saw
the pilot of one of those jets wink at me."
Sitting in the trees and wondering about its fate, the first squad didn't
have long to wait before the 46 returned under fire to extract the
Reconners.
The platoon was flown back the nine miles to Dong Ha. The men were starting
to unpack when the word came that they were going back immediately. Within
the hour, the platoon was back in the air. Ray Strohl stated that they had
just about made up their minds that there was no need to take any chow, just
stock up on ammo. In fact, at that point they started taking an M60 machine
gun with them. This time the patrol insertion point was going farther south,
about two miles southeast of the last attempt and at a higher elevation, a
threehill complex about 300 meters tall. They were to land in the middle and
just to the side of the center knoll.
The first chopper, with Gordon, Strohl, and Lieutenant Terrebonne, dropped
down to the planned LZ and immediately was hit by enemy fire. Before the
team was able to jump out, the chopper pulled away, under fire all the
while, and miraculously made it out. The second chopper wasn't so lucky. The
first tried to warn the second away but, hit by ground fire, the second
helicopter lost power, tried to jettison fuel, but instead came in for a
crash landing. The pilot did manage to fly a short distance to the west
before bouncing down and rolling over. A fire burst out within the chopper
as the Marines on board fought to get out of the bird in both directions.
The lead chopper had turned and followed its crashing wingman. It quickly
set down not far from the first, and the first squad scrambled out the back
hatch to set a security perimeter for the Reconners trying to get out of the
crashed chopper. Al Gordon and Lieutenant Terrebonne, however, both ran for
the helicopter, which was lying in heavy brush on its side.
Al Gordon said:
"We landed below the other 46 before those guys had been able to get out. I
ran for them, and Terrebonne was right behind me. It was lying on its side,
and I climbed up on the topside and looked in the window. And to this day I
can still see Longanecker sitting there, on his back now as the chopper was
on its side. He was dead, but his eyes were staring straight ahead. Then a
little voice told me to get the hell out of there. The fire was starting to
burn more, and everybody had gotten out. Some had to stumble and run through
the fire. I ran, and when I was about fifty meters away, the chopper blew
sky?high behind me."
Strohl couldn't tell what exactly was happening at the helicopter because he
was a part of a defensive position in the bush farther out. But one Marine
had been killed and seven wounded in the crash."