PHIPPS, JAMES LARRY
RIP - Remains identification announced 07/11/2015

Name: James Larry Phipps
Rank/Branch: W1/US Army
Unit: Troop C, 7th Squad, 17th Air Cavalry, 17th Aviation Group, 1st
Aviation Brigade
Date of Birth: 09 December 1943 (Washington DC)
Home City of Record: Matoon IL
Date of Loss: 09 January 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 153817N 1080930E (AT955308)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1C
Refno: 0979

Other Personnel in Incident: Warren E. Newton; Rainier S. Ramos (missing);
Fred J. Secrist (remains recovered)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 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 2015.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: On January 9, 1968, the crew of a UH1C (tail #66-00745) consisting
of WO1 James L. Phipps, aircraft commander; WO Rainier S. Ramos, pilot; SP4
Warren E. Newton, doorgunner; and PFC Fred J. Secrist, gunner, were on a
gunship-cover mission about 20 miles west of the city of Tam Ky in Quang Tin
Province, Republic of Vietnam.

LT Williamson, the pilot of another helicopter, was flying as scout in front
of WO Ramos' aircraft when he received a call from WO Phipps indicating that
he had been hit, was on fire, and was going down. LT Williamson stated he
would follow the aircraft down. He saw smoke training from Ramos' aircraft,
but did not sight flames until the aircraft impacted on the ground.

The helicopter hit and exploded (the estimated impact speed was between 65
and 80 knots). The senior officer of Troop C, 7th Squad, 17th Air Cavalry
arrived and made several passes over the downed aircraft. Heavy automatic
weapons fire from the north and east of the downed aircraft was received on
the third pass, but it was noted that the downed aircraft was gutted by fire
and explosions. At no time was any evidence seen that suggested that the
crew had been thrown clear of the crash.

During the first 45 minutes of the on-scene observation, the munitions,
consisting of 2.75 rockets and 40 mm grenades were exploding every minute or
two. The senior officer remained in the area for about one and one-half
hours. On January 20, a recovery operation was initiated and the remainder
of the aircraft was located in the bottom of a large trench. About three
sets of remains were recovered, but only one set (that of PFC Secrist) was
subsequently identified.

Newton, Phipps and Ramos were not declared dead, but Missing in Action,
indicating that there was still the possibility that they were thrown clear
of the aircraft and captured by the enemy.

Since American involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, over 10,000 reports
relating to Americans missing, prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in
Indochina have been received by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having
examined this largely classified information, have reluctantly concluded
that many Americans are still alive today, held captive by our long-ago
enemy.

Whether Newton, Phipps and Ramos survived the crash of their helicopter to
be captured by the enemy firing at other aircraft in the area is certainly
not known. It is not known if he might be among those thought to be still
alive today. What is certain, however, is that as long as even one American
remains alive, held against his will, we owe him our very best efforts to
bring him to freedom.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. NR-229-15
June 11, 2015

Soldier Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For
 
The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be buried with full military honors.

Army Chief Warrant Officers 3 James L. Phipps of Mattoon, Illinios, and Rainer S. Ramos of Wiesbaden, Germany, were the pilots of a UH-1C Iroquois (Huey) helicopter gunship that was shot down in Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam. Also aboard the aircraft were door gunners Staff Sgt. Warren Newton of Eugene, Oregon, and Spc. Fred J. Secrist of Eugene, Oregon. The crew was assigned to Troop C, 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 14th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade. The crew will be buried, as a group, on June 17 at Arlington.

On Jan. 9, 1968, the crew was on a mission over Quang Tin Province (now part of Quang Nam Province), South Vietnam, when the Huey was struck by ground fire, causing it to crash and explode in a North Vietnamese bunker and trench system. The crew was declared missing in action. On Jan. 20, 1968, a U.S. led team recovered the body of Secrist and he was returned to his family for burial.

Between August 1993 and August 2011, U.S.-Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams surveyed and/or excavated the site three times. From Aug. 6-21, 2011, a joint U.S.-S.R.V. team recovered human remains and personal effects.

In the identification of the recovered remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) analyzed circumstantial evidence and used forensic identification tools, to include mitochondrial DNA, which matched Secrist's sister and brother. Remains not individually identified represent the entire crew and will be buried as a group.

Today, 1,627 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover Americans lost during the Vietnam War.

 

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for Americans, who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call 703- 699-1420.