POWERS, LOWELL STEPHEN

Name: Lowell Stephen Powers
Rank/Branch: W1/US Army
Unit: Company A, 159th Aviation Battalion, 101st Airborne Division
Date of Birth: 25 September 1946 (Oakland CA)
Home City of Record: Scottsdale AZ
Date of Loss: 02 April 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162903N 1064717E (XD908232)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: CH47
Refno: 1421
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)

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 1998.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: At 1240 hours on April 2, 1969, WO1 Lowell Powers was the pilot of
a CH47 helicopter (serial #67-18523). He landed at an LZ in Quang Tri
Province, South Vietnam, near Khe Sanh, where about 73 members of the ARVN
9th Popular Forces Company were loaded onto his aircraft.

Powers left the LZ, the aircraft lost power, settled to earth, but touched
down on the side of a ravine and then rolled down to the bottom of the
ravine, coming to rest on its left side. Upon landing, Maj. Butler, the
aircraft commander, asked WO1 Powers if he was all right, and received a
positive response. Maj. Butler later reported that WO Powers released his
harness and called back through the companionway to the passenger
compartment. Maj. Butler left the aircraft through the left window, but
never saw WO1 Powers again.

A short time later, the aircraft began to explode. The area was reached
quickly by a Republic of Vietnam Popular Forces and their
American/Australian advisors from Advisory Team 19. A series of searches was
undertaken in the immediate area for any survivors. Later, it was determined
that WO1 Powers was missing. Search efforts were made for him. The other
members of the flight crew were able to reach safety.

The result of the crash was one American missing in action, 23 ARVN killed
in action, and 50 ARVN wounded. That night, the area was secured by an ARVN
company, and the next morning an ARVN and 3rd Marine Division Graves
Registration team started the recovery of the remains.

The ARVN team recovered what was thought to be 17 bodies, and the Marine
team recovered 3 bodies. At Quang Tri on April 4, it was found that the ARVN
had taken what they recovered and divided it into 21 caskets, which were
turned over to the next of kin. The ARVN believed that Americans could keep
one of the bodies they had recovered and turn the other 2 over to the ARVN.
The ARVN would then have accounted for all their known losses.

It was later determined that all 3 of the remains recovered by the Marines
were Vietnamese. Efforts were made by the U.S. Army mortuary officer to
exhume the ARVN remains to determine if WO1 Powers was among those remains
turned over to the Vietnamese next of kin, but his efforts were unsuccessful
because of Vietnamese religious restraints.

Although most observers believe that WO1 Powers died in the explosion of the
aircraft following its crippled landing, no one saw him die, and no one saw
his body. Iris Powers, Lowell's mother, haunted by an ever-increasing flow
of reports that Americans were still in captivity after the war was over,
never gave up hope that her son could be alive, or if dead, that she would
finally know for sure. For years, she actively sought information on him and
the nearly 3000 others missing in Southeast Asia. Most of those 3000 men are
still unaccounted for, and the reports continue to flow in. It's time our
men came home.