RIOS, NOEL LUIS
Group burial 1968

Name: Noel Luis Rios
Rank/Branch: E5/US Air Force
Unit: 15th Aerial Port Squadron
Date of Birth: 03 April 1941
Home City of Record: Newark NJ
Date of Loss: 06 March 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 163659N 1064559E (XD933404)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: C123K
Refno: 1074

Other Personnel in Incident: William F. Anselmo (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 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 2010.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: The Fairchild C123 "Provider" was a night attack system/transport
aircraft based on an all-metal glider designed by Chase Aircraft. The
airplane's C123B prototype first flew on September 1, 1954. The C123B, in
the hands of a group of airmen who called themselves "The Mule Train" became
the first transport to see Vietnam service.

The Provider, particularly in camouflage paint with mottled topside and
light bottomside, resembled an arched-back whale suspended from the bottom
midpoint of huge dorsal wings. Like other transports, the Provider proved
its versatility during the Vietnam war.

On March 6, 1968, a C123K departed Da Nang on an administrative flight to
deliver aircraft parts to Khe Sahn.  Sergeants Noel L. Rios and William F.
Anselmo were to fly on one aircraft, but this aircraft was grounded for
mechanical problems, and the two boarded another bound for Khe Sanh.

Near Khe Sahn, the C123K was struck by hostile fire and crashed. According
to the Air Force, there were no survivors. Rios and Anselmo remain
unaccounted for, while the rest of the crew was apparently recovered.

Rios and Anselmo are listed among the missing because their remains were
never found. Others who are missing do not have such clear-cut cases. Some
were known captives; some were photographed as they were led by their
guards. Some were in radio contact with search teams, while others simply
disappeared.

Since the war ended, over 250,000 interviews have been conducted with those
who claim to know about Americans still alive in Southeast Asia, and several
million documents have been studied. U.S. Government experts cannot seem to
agree whether Americans are there alive or not. Detractors say it would be
far too politically difficult to bring the men they believe to be alive
home, and the U.S. is content to negotiate for remains.

Well over 1000 first-hand, eye-witness reports of American prisoners still
alive in Southeast Asia have been received by 1990. Most of them are still
classified. If, as the U.S. seems to believe, the men are all dead, why the
secrecy after so many years? If the men are alive, why are they not home?



From: Randy Watkins
Date: Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 3:57 PM
Subject: Group Burial Section 81 Grave 327-329

My name is Randy Watkins and I work at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery..... The 37 individuals in this grave could not be positively identified therefore they were returned to Jefferson Barracks for interment on 23 November 1968. The remains of the other 18 were positively identified and returned to their family for burial. If I found the burial location of any of these 18 I indicated that location in the document. Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery was selected as the final resting place of the group because of its geographical location which distributed, as equitably as possible, the travel burden upon all next of kin involved. The Department of Defense did not pay for the travel of the next of kin for the internment. Attached you will also find a picture of the headstone on the grave. This is an actual headstone and not a memorial plaque.

 

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

2900 Sheridan Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63125

Section 81 Grave 327-329

 

Organizational Information

311th Air Cargo Squadron, 315th Air Commando Wing

315th Air Division, 7th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)

Phan Rang Air Base, Vietnam

 

Aircraft Manufacturer

Fairchild Engine & Airplane Corporation, Hagerstown, Maryland

Aircraft Type

C-123B-5-FA

Aircraft Name

Provider

Aircraft Tail #

54-0590

 

Facts and Circumstances

This grave marks the final resting place for thirty-seven individuals who were killed while aboard this aircraft when it was shot down by hostile gunfire and crashed near Khe Sanh, Quan Tri Province, South Vietnam. Breakdown of personnel as follows:

 

US Marine Corps

US Navy

US Air Force

Civilian

43

1

6

1

 

On 6 March 1968, Mission # 702 was scheduled to fly to Phu Bai Airfield, South Vietnam, first – some thirty-nine miles northwest of DaNang – then on to Khe Sanh, Quang Tri Province. Lt Colonel Frederick J Hampton, aircraft commander; 1st Lt Ellis E Helgeson, co-pilot; and Sgt Jeffrey F Conlin, crew chief; comprised the crew of the C-123K (serial # 54-0590), Mission # 702. All members of this aircrew were assigned to the 311th Air Cargo Squadron, 315th Air Cargo Wing, Phan Rang Airbase, South Vietnam and were detached to DaNang Airbase. Mission # 702 departed DaNang with its cargo for Phu Bai. After off-loading its cargo was accomplished, the aircraft was subsequently loaded with 43 U.S. Marines bound for Khe Sanh. Phu Bai’s passenger representative assisted the aircraft’s loadmaster in organizing various pallets loaded with the passengers’ gear, another set of pallets stacked with M-60 machine guns and other weapons, and more loaded with beer and soft drinks that were all to be delivered to Khe Sanh. When Mission # 702 departed Phu Bai Airfield, it carried a total of 51 passengers and crew - 43 Marines, 1 Navy corpsman, 1 Civilian photographer, 3 US Air Force passengers and the 3-man Air Force aircrew. Once in the vicinity of their destination, Lt Colonel Hampton established radio contact with ground control and was cleared to land. He initiated his final approach to Khe Sanh’s airfield, but was forced to abort the landing because of a South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) light aircraft that obstructed the runway. The Provider circled around at low altitude to set up for a second approach; however, as it did so, it was hit by enemy ground fire in the port jet engine. Lt Colonel Hampton climbed for altitude as he transmitted their situation and reported that he was returning back to DaNang with battle damage. Shortly thereafter, the Provider spiraled into the ground exploding on impact. The crash site was located in extremely rugged jungle covered mountains that was dotted with small clearings covered with elephant grass and bamboo just a mile southeast of the base’s runway, less then a mile east of the closest point along Route 9 and just north of the closest location on the Song Quang Tri River that nearly encircled the loss location. The crash site was also located approximately 14 miles east of the South Vietnamese/Lao border, 58 miles west-northwest of the Phu Bai Airfield and 100 miles northwest of DaNang Airbase. Due to the tactical situation in and around Khe Sanh, ground search parties first reached the aircraft’s wreckage on 26 April 1968 to begin the grizzly task of recovering remains. Other search teams returned to the crash site on 24 June and 3 July 1968 respectively. On each occasion, human remains, dogtags, other identification media and personal affects were recovered. All possible human remains and personal affects that were recovered were transported to the US Army mortuary facility at DaNang for the arduous task of identification. Military morticians were able to positively identify only 14 of the men aboard the Provider. Those remains were embalmed and returned to each man’s family for burial. Remains of the other 37 personnel on board could not be positively identified, therefore, they were returned to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery for interment on 23 November 1968. Casualty Date reflected as 6 March 1968. Information verified by Aircraft Accident Report # 19680603. Phan Rang Air Base History: Phan Rang Air Base is a former South Vietnamese Air Force and United States Air Force base used during the Vietnam War. It is located in the central coastal area, near the city of Phan Rang-Thap Cham within Ninh Thuan Province, about 50 miles (80 km) south of Nha Trang in Southern Vietnam. The airfield at Phan Rang was used by the Japanese during World War II. In the late 1940's and early 1950's the French Air Force used the same 3,500 foot runway. To accommodate the expanding Vietnam War, Phan Rang Air Base was quickly expanded by the USAF in 1966 to accommodate both American and South Vietnamese fighter and helicopter units. After the end of the war in 1975, the Vietnamese Air Force (Khong Quan Nhan Dan Viet Nam) took over the facility and have since used it as a military airfield, flying various captured Cessna A-37Bs, T-37s and Bell UH-1s until about 1998, being replaced by Russian aircraft after that.

 

 

 

 

 

Individuals buried in Section 81, Grave 327-329 indicated on the next page


 

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

2900 Sheridan Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63125

Section 81 Grave 327-329

 

Organizational Information

311th Air Cargo Squadron, 315th Air Commando Wing

315th Air Division, 7th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)

Phan Rang Air Base, Vietnam

 

The following personnel are interred in Section 81, Grave 327-329

 

Last Name

First Name

MI

Suf

Branch of Service

Rank

Crew Position

Unit

Aldridge

Herbert

Ray

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

5

Anderson

David

George

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

12

Anselmo

William

Frank

 

US Air Force

SSgt

Passenger

1

Boyer

Charles

Goodhue

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

12

Brignac

Joseph

Paul

 

US Marine Corps

Cpl

Passenger

5

Bumstead

Donald

Royce

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

12

Conlin

Jeffrey

Francis

 

US Air Force

Sgt

Crew Chief

2

Elliott

George

L

III

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

3

Ellison

Robert

 

 

Civilian/Newsweek

 

Passenger

7

Gray

Michael

Douglas

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

14

Grzegorek

James

Andrew

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

12

Hall

Blucher

Ray

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

12

Hampton

Frederick

Jordan

 

US Air Force

LTC

Pilot

2

Hicks

Paul

Everett

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

10

Hollar

Howard

E

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

12

Jackson

Andrew

 

 

US Marine Corps

LCpl

Passenger

9

Kennedy

Larry

S

 

US Marine Corps

Cpl

Passenger

3

MacMillan

Thomas

 

 

US Marine Corps

LCpl

Passenger

15

Marturano

Joseph

A

Jr

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

10

McCosar

Winford

 

 

US Marine Corps

LCpl

Passenger

5

Mead

Dennis

M

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

8

Miles

James

E

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

11

Minch

Roger

C

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

12

Moore

Dallas

H

 

US Air Force

Sgt

Loadmaster

2

Moore

James

E

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

10

Moss

Thomas

J

Jr

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

12

O'Hare

Richard

J

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

10

Pizarro

Vic

M

 

US Marine Corps

Cpl

Passenger

3

Rios

Noel

L

 

US Air Force

SSgt

Passenger

1

Robinson

Samuel

P

 

US Marine Corps

Cpl

Passenger

10

Sears

Michael

 

 

US Marine Corps

Cpl

Passenger

12

Stanciu

Kenneth

A

 

US Marine Corps

LCpl

Passenger

15

Strong

Stanley

G

 

US Marine Corps

Cpl

Passenger

6

Terhune

Daryl

B

Jr

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

10

Terrell

William

L

 

US Marine Corps

Cpl

Passenger

4

Toner

Louis

J

 

US Navy

HM3

Passenger

13

Waldron

Howard

B

 

US Marine Corps

MSgt

Passenger

5

 

 

 

 

 

Code

Unit

 

Code

Unit

1

15th Aerial Port Squadron

 

9

F Company, 2nd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment

2

311th Air Cargo Squadron, 315th Air Cargo Wing

 

10

G Company, 2nd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment

3

A Battery, 1st Battalion, 13th Marine Regiment

 

11

H Company, 2nd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment

4

A Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment

 

12

H&S Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment

5

B Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment

 

13

H&S Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment

6

C Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment

 

14

H&S Company, Force Logistics Support Group A

7

Civilian Photographer for Newsweek Magazine

 

15

K Company, 3rd Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment

8

D Company, 1st Battalion, 26th Marine Regiment

 

 

 

 

 

Individuals positively identified in this crash are listed on the next page


 

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

2900 Sheridan Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63125

Section 81 Grave 327-329

 

Organizational Information

311th Air Cargo Squadron, 315th Air Commando Wing

315th Air Division, 7th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)

Phan Rang Air Base, Vietnam

 

 

 

The below named individuals were aboard this aircraft when it crashed, positively identified and returned to their families for an appropriate military burial. Burial location is unknown

 

 

Last Name

First Name

MI

Suf

Branch of Service

Rank

Crew Position

Beale

George

Eugene

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

Beauford

Willis

 

Jr

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

Clark

John

Howard

Jr

US Marine Corps

LCpl

Passenger

Helgeson

Ellis

Eugene

Jr

US Air Force

1Lt

Co-Pilot

Higgs

Ralph

Edward

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

Horvath

Robert

John

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

Latshaw

Harry

Kenneth

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

Medeiros

Dennis

Joseph

 

US Marine Corps

Cpl

Passenger

Presley

Ronnie

Calvin

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

Rodriguez

Domingo

 

Jr

US Marine Corps

PVT

Passenger

Russell

John

Malcolm

Jr

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

Ryan

Ronald

Royce

 

US Marine Corps

Cpl

Passenger

Smith

James

Herbert

Jr

US Marine Corps

Cpl

Passenger

Taylor

James

Otis

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

Taylor

Louis

Gaines

 

US Marine Corps

LCpl

Passenger

Vickers

Robert

Lee

 

US Marine Corps

LCpl

Passenger

West

Stephen

Alan

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

Wienckoski

David

Raymond

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

Williams

Hollis

 

Jr

US Marine Corps

LCpl

Passenger

Williams

Thomas

Hansford

 

US Marine Corps

PFC

Passenger

 

 

 

 

 

Burial locations on the individuals above are unknown with the exception of the five listed below

 

Helgeson, Ellis Eugene Jr

Section 17, Grave 24412

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington, Virginia

Higgs, Ralph Edward

Section H P, Grave 1711

Hampton National Cemetery

Hampton, Virginia

 

 

Russell, John Malcolm Jr

Section 52, Grave 1140

Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington, Virginia

Taylor, James Otis

Section E, Grave 375

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

St. Louis, Missouri

 

Williams, Thomas Hansford

Section D, Grave 1300, Houston National Cemetery, Houston, Texas