MILLINER, WILLIAM PATRICK
MILLINER, WILLIAM PATRICK
Name: William Patrick Milliner Rank/Branch: W1/US Army Unit: Troop B, 7th Squadron, 1st Cavalry, 164th Aviation Group Date of Birth: 12 June 1950 Home City of Record: Louisville KY Date of Loss: 06 March 1971 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 164204N 1063359E (XD670470) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 1 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: AH1G Refno: 1718
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 2012.
Other Personnel in Incident: John F. Hummel (missing)
SYNOPSIS: On March 6, 1971, WO John F. Hummel, pilot, and WO William P. Milliner, co-pilot, were flying an AH1G Cobra helicopter gunship (serial #67-15464) as the wingman in a flight of two helicopters returning from a combat support mission over Laos. While in route, the weather turned hazy. At about 2000 hours, the wingman notified his troop's forward operation at Khe Sanh, South Vietnam, that both gunships were planning to use a ground control approach (GCA). That was the last radio contact with WO Hummel's aircraft.
The lead gunship contacted the Khe Sanh GCA and was told to climb to 5000 feet and make a left 360 degree turn to a heading of 020 degrees. The wingman was still with the lead aircraft at this time, but no radio contact could be established with him.
Shortly after, the GCA control informed the lead aircraft to turn to a heading of 070 degrees at 4000 feet. After a descending turn was initiated, WO Hummel's aircraft passed over the top of the lead aircraft. This separation occurred in the clear, and then the flight leader entered the cloud layer so no further visual sighting of WO Hummel's aircraft occurred. The lead aircraft landed safely.
Search and rescue efforts were begun for Hummel and Milliner, but had negative results. Hummel and Milliner were listed Missing in Action. Some years later, the Defense Intelligence Agency "rated" missing persons in Southeast Asia according to the degree of suspected enemy knowledge, using a scale of 1 to 5. Hummel and Milliner were classified "Category 1", meaning the U.S. had reliable information that the enemy knew the fate of Hummel and Milliner. Category 1 does not suggest whether an individual was alive or dead at the time this knowledge was obtained.
Another confusing aspect of the records of Hummel and Milliner is that the Defense Department classifies their loss as "non-hostile". This information does not seem to correlate with known enemy knowledge of their fates, unless reports were received that the two survived the crash of their aircraft only to stumble into enemy hands at a later time. Clarifying information is not available in public records.
Nearly 600 Americans were lost in Laos during the war in Vietnam. Although the Pathet Lao stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, Laos was not included in the negotiations ending American involvement in the war, and the U.S. has never negotiated for the freedom of these men since that time. Consequently, not one American held in Laos has ever been released.
No one saw Hummel and Milliner die after their aircraft disappeared into the clouds. As participants in missions over Laos, which were often classified and dangerous, they were undoubtedly warned that they could be killed or captured. They may not have dreamed they would be abandoned. ==========================================
[milliner .98 03/01/98]
Louisville, KY Courier Journal January 29, 1998 By Sheldon S. Shafer The Courier Journal
County to fly POW flag; family says son is alive
A black-and-white prisoner of war flag will fly at the Jefferson County courthouse after the family of Army warrant officer William Milliner said they believe he remains alive and captive nearly 27 years after his chopper crashed in Laos......
Note: Joseph Milliner, father of William, was captured and held prisoner of war during WWII. In October of 1998, Joe's book, "The Angel and the Eagle" was released. The book is loaded with POW/MIA documentation. Both paperback ($19.95) and hardback (24.95) are available. Send checks to Mr. J. Milliner, 281 Fincastle Way, Shepardsville, KY 40165. Please add $4.00 for shipping and handling.
================================ This is a conversation with VHPA Historian Gary Roush 08/12/2006
Ken Davis <email@example.com>
Gary Roush <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: VHPA-Aircraft Incident 67-15464, MIA's
This is real bizarre case, aircraft disappears in fog, apparently on GCA and then is seen heading back toward Laos by the lead craft. Crashes somewhere.
Bill, unless the above is stated in Hummel's family's paperwork it's not what happened - at least not according to the VHPA summary. For simplicity, let's term the two AH-1s as "Lead" and "Wing".
The VHPA Summary says the two aircraft "WERE PROVIDING SUPPORT FOR THE EXTRACTION OF A DOWNED AIRCREW IN LAOS". There was a SAR effort underway about 15 NM west of Khe Sanh on 06 Mar ... don't know who started it, but a 1st SOS Skyraider (A-1H 52-139734) was shot down during it. Pilot 1stLt C L Tipton was picked up by USAF SAR helo. No further word on the initial SAR target, though. However -
* The two aircraft presumably were in formation or whatever passed for a combat spread in AH-1s when they departed station for Khe Sanh. * Lead calls a radio frequency change to GCI freq. Summary IMPLIES but does not explicitly state that Wing responded ("THIS WAS THE LAST RADIO CONTACT" Lead had with Wing to me implies a response from Wing). * GCI directs climb to 5000' and 020 heading. * Aircraft attain that altitude and heading and are in formation in the clear * At undefined position GCI directs a descending right turn to 4000' heading 070. * Lead complies but Wing does not. * Lead notes Wing passing overhead, maintaining altitude and heading * Lead enters undercast, shoots GCI, lands. * Nobody knows nothing about Wing.
In short, nobody saw Wing after Lead entered the undercast, and at that time Wing was heading 020 degrees (north-northeast) at approx 5000' going toward the DMZ. Further, nobody had radio contact with him after the frequency shift to GCI freq.
I've never even contemplated a GCI run into Khe Sanh, although I eyeballed it often enough going to and from Laos. The geometry indicates the aircraft were being brought in from the west or southwest. The initial 020 heading turning to 070 sounds like a cut to intercept extended base leg followed by a descending turn to base leg preparatory to a further right turn to final heading down the valley to the east of the airfield (the valley ran NW-SE, although the runways weren't parallel to the valley axis).
If all that makes sense, what you end up with is Wing trucking along 020 toward the DMZ for some indefinite period of time. What he might have done after that seems to be pure speculation.
I've both brought home, and been brought home while in, "no radio" aircraft and durned if that's not what this evolution sounds like to me. What I don't understand, though, is why * Lead did not verify radio comms with Wing *after* the freq change (that's SOP in the dark-blue-suit world, as are missed-comm procedures) * Why, when Lead saw Wing obviously missing the boat, Lead didn't take immediate action to rejoin on Wing but rather just went on his merry way (dark-blue-suit SOP is that Lead is responsible for the flight, not just his own butt) and/or * Lead didn't start hollering on all available radios and/or communicate the problem to GCI *before* getting on the ground (that's called common sense everywhere) Personally, I wouldn't want to have (much less be) a Lead so blase about a Wingie who is obviously having a problem.
As to qualifications... * TAGCEN lacks MOS for both crewmen * CACCF lacks MOS for Hummel, says Milliner was 100E ("Attack Helicopter Pilot") * TAGCEN shows Hummel as "pilot/operator", Milliner as "copilot" - i.e., both crewmen. 1993 and 2003 CACCFs concur. * VHPA says AC CW3 HUMMEL JOHN FLOYD BNR P CW3 MILLINER WILLIAM PATRICK BNR but don't know the source for labeling Milliner as a passenger. That conflicts with TAGCEN and CACCFs.
The confusion on Milliner is because he was not AH-1G rated and was sent to the unit by mistake. He volunteered to fly this mission because they were short of pilots. There was also a belief, which was incorrect, that he was also not helicopter rated. This is probably what led to the designation of passenger. In any case, he was helicopter rated so the passenger designation is wrong.
Won't get too much argument out of me ... I don't know. I will again note that the 1993 and 2003 CACCFs claim he was a "100E", which I thought was an AH-1 MOS.
You are right on the MOS. Either way it does not change that we carry him as a pilot in a Cobra.
SHOCKING REVELATION: U.S. POWS STILL IN LAOS
AFP & others have said it for years; now proof emerges U.S. soldiers still held in Southeast Asian camps
By Christopher J. Petherick
There is new evidence that American GIs are
being held against their will in Southeast Asia more than three decades
after the Vietnam War officially ended. A letter recently received by the
father of a U.S. pilot, who went missing in action in 1971, could provide
a key piece of information that proves American prisoners of war are alive
and imprisoned in remote areas of South Vietnam.
(Issue # 27, July 7, 2008)
Not Copyrighted. Readers can reprint and are free to redistribute - as long as full credit is given to American Free Press - 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 100 Washington, D.C. 20003
The National Alliance of Families mourns the passing of Ron Milliner, brother of POW/MIA William Milliner. To Ron’s wife, Susan and his parents Joe and Mary, we offer our deepest sympathy.
Visitation will be Wednesday, from 4 - 8 PM, and Thursday from 12 - 8 P.M. at the Highland Funeral Home on
-- Lynn Lynn O'Shea Director of Research National Alliance of Families for the Return of America's Missing Servicemen World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam - Gulf Wars - Afghanistan
It is with deep sadness we report the passing of Joe Milliner, father of POW/MIA William P. Milliner. Joe, a POW during World War II, his wife Mary and their daughter-in-law Susan worked tirelessly to bring Billy home and were fixtures at Alliance meetings over the years. To Mary, Susan and the entire Milliner family we offer our deepest sympathy.