PEARCE, DALE ALLEN
Name: Dale Allen Pearce Rank/Branch: W1/US Army Unit: Company A, 158th Aviation Battalion, 101st Airborne Division Date of Birth: 26 November 1950 (Cleveland OH) Home City of Record: Mentor OH Date of Loss: 17 May 1971 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 163425N 1065323E (YD048268) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H Refno: 1747
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.
Other Personnel in Incident: David P. Soyland (missing)
SYNOPSIS: W1 Dale A. Pearce, pilot; W1 David P. Soyland, aircraft commander; SP5 Harold E. Parker, crew chief; and SP4 Gary A. Alcorn, door gunner, comprised the crew of a UH1H helicopter on an assault/extraction mission on May 17, 1971.
The aircraft departed Camp Evans in South Vietnam as the assault aircraft of a helicopter team attempting to extract a reconnaissance team that was under heavy fire by an unknown size enemy force about 10 miles northeast of Khe Sanh in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam.
Upon approach to the target, WO1 Pearce's aircraft began taking heavy enemy fire. The aircraft began to bank to the right and was hit, causing the helicopter to start to turn over. An RPG hit and severed the tail boom, and the violence of the explosion threw Alcorn from the aircraft just before it crashed. After impact, the aircraft slid to the bottom of a slope.
On May 18, a recovery team was inserted in the area to recover the remains of the original reconnaissance team and to search the aircraft wreckage for survivors. At this time, both Parker and Alcorn were discovered alive, and remains which were assumed to be those of Pearce were found. Without tools, the recovery of the remains was impossible, as they were wedged beneath the aircraft debris. The left pilot seat was completely intact, and no sign of blood on it or in the immediate area was found. All harnesses in the aircraft had been unfastened.
Alcorn reported that he saw a man in a white t-shirt running across the ridge line. A search aircraft in the area reported hearing a loud beeper distress signal. It was concluded that the man had been W1 Soyland, who would have been the occupant of the left pilot seat. From the way the aircraft impacted, on its right side, Soyland, seated on the left side of the aircraft, would have had a high probability of surviving the crash.
Searches continued until May 27, 1971 for Soyland, but no trace was found of him. It was concluded that he survived the crash and was probably captured. It was concluded that W1 Pearce died in the crash.
WO Soyland was not among the prisoners of war that were released in 1973. High ranking U.S. officials admit their dismay that "hundreds" of suspected American prisoners of war did not return.
Alarmingly, evidence continues to mount that Americans were left as prisoners in Southeast Asia and continue to be held today. Unlike "MIA's" from other wars, most of the nearly 2500 men and women who remain missing in Southeast Asia can be accounted for. Soyland could be one of those thought to be alive today. The U.S. believes there is a strong probability that the Vietnamese know the fates of both men - alive or dead. Isn't it time we brought our men home?
SUMMARY SELECTION RATIONALE
NAME: SOYLAND David P., W01, USA
OFFICIAL STATUS: MISSING
CASE SUMMARY: SEE ATTACHED
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION: Two crewmembers survived the aircraft crash. W01 Soyland's side of aircraft was undamaged and his harness was unbuckled, indicating he left under his own power. One of the rescued crewmembers stated he had seen an individual in a white T-shirt he believed to be W01 Soyland on the next ridge. No correlated related reports of W01 Soyland's possible death have been received since the incident date.
REFNO: 1747 31 Mar 75
(U) CASE SUMMARY
1. On 17 May 1971 W01 David P. Soyland, aircraft commander, WOI Dale A. Pearce, pilot, SP5 [blank] crew chief, and SP4 [blank] door gunner, were the crew of a UH-1H assault helicopter, (#65-17607), which departed Camp Evans, South Vietnam, to extract a reconnaissance team that was under heavy fire by an unknown-size enemy force. On target approach the helicopter began taking heavy enemy fire. The aircraft began banking right and was hit by the enemy fire, causing the aircraft to continue to bank and start to turn over. A rocket-propelled grenade hit and severed the tail boom. The violence of the explosion threw SP4 [blank] out of the aircraft, just before the aircraft crashed. After the impact the aircraft continued to slide to the bottom of the slope, (in the vicinity of grid coordinates (GC) YD 048 268).
2. On 18 May a recovery element was inserted into this area to recover the bodies of the original reconnaissance team and to search the aircraft wreckage for survivors. At this time both SP5 [blank] and SP4 [blank] were discovered alive, and a set of remains which was assumed to be W01 Pearce was found. The pilot's seat on the left side of the aircraft was not damaged; all harnesses had been unfastened. There was no blood on the seat or surrounding area to indicate any injury to WOI Soyland. SP4 [blank] reported that he saw a man in a white T-shirt running across a ridgeline in the estimated location of grid coordinates YD 047 273, near his position that same afternoon, and a search aircraft in the area reported hearing a loud beeper distress signal. It was concluded that the man in the white T-shirt was W01 Soyland, and who would have been the occupant of the left pilot's seat of the aircraft. According to the way the helicopter impacted he would have had a high probability of surviving the crash. Search and recovery missions were performed in the general area of the crash site from 17 to 27 May, (1971), but no trace was found of W01 Soyland. it was concluded that he had survived the helicopter crash and was probably captured.
3. During the existence of JCRC, the hostile threat in the area precluded any visits to or ground inspections of the sites involved in this case. In July 1973, at the request of JCRC, The U.S. Defense Attache Office, Saigon, reviewed available aerial photography. No evidence of crash site or downed aircraft was found at the listed coordinates. This individual's name and identifying data were turned over to Four-Party Joint Military Team with a request for any information available. No response was forthcoming. WOI Pearce is currently carried in the status of Missing.
1. Ltr (U), 101st Abn Div 1 Aug 71.
2. MSG: CG, USARV LBN RVN 190936Z May 71.
1. David P. Soyland 1747-0-01
2. Dale E. Pearce 1747-0-02
* National Alliance of Families Home Page
From - Tue Aug 11 16:11:26 1998 From: "The Siegel's" <email@example.com>
You have a great site. We found that one of the names on the bracelets we have worn belongs to a man who actually came back. What great news! ..... One of our bracelets still belongs to a missing man, Edwin Jack Pearce, who lives near us and whose parents we know very well. Did you know that Jack's father was a prisoner of war in World War II for more than two years? What a very sad story. His two brothers were in Vietnam the same time as him, but they returned unharmed and he is still missing in Laos...although the government does not agree that he is missing. James Patterson (5/19/67) is the other name of a bracelet we wore. I have not searched on his name yet. Just wanted to thank you for a great site and see how we can help, if at all. Thanks.
Sharon and Stan Siegel