WILLIAMSON, JAMES DANIEL
Remains ID announced 08/06/2007
Name: James Daniel Williamson
Rank/Branch: SP4/US Army
Unit: 176th Aviation Company, 14th Aviation Battalion, 23rd Infantry
Division (Americal)
Date of Birth: 24 September 1942 (Wichita Falls TX)
Home City of Record: Tumwater WA
Date of Loss: 05 January 1968
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 161907N 1063445E (XD701021)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1D
Refno: 0967
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 2014.
Other Personnel In Incident: Dennis C. Hamilton; John T. Gallagher; Ernest
F. Briggs; Sheldon D. Schultz (all missing); (indigenous team members,
names, numbers, fates unknown)
REMARKS: NO SIGN OF CREW
SYNOPSIS: On January 5, 1968, WO Dennis C. Hamilton, aircraft commander; WO
Sheldon D. Schultz, pilot; SP5 Ernest F. Briggs, Jr., crew chief; SP4 James
P. Williamson, crewman, and SSgt. John T. Gallagher, passenger; were aboard
a UH1D helicopter (tail # 66-1172) on a mission to infiltrate an indigenous
reconnaissance patrol into Laos.
The reconnaissance patrol and SSgt. Gallagher were operating under orders to
Command & Control North, MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam
Studies and Observation Group). MACV-SOG was a joint service high command
unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations
throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special Forces channeled personnel into
MACV-SOG (although it was not a Special Forces group) through Special
Operations Augmentation (SOA), which provided their "cover" while under
secret orders to MACV-SOG. The teams performed deep penetration missions of
strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were called, depending on
the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions.
As the aircraft approached the landing zone about 20 miles inside Laos south
of Lao Bao, it came under heavy 37mm anti-aircraft fire while at an altitude
of about 300 feet above ground level. The aircraft immediately entered a
nose-low vertical dive and crashed.
Upon impact with the ground, the aircraft burst into flames which were 10 to
20 feet high. No radio transmissions were heard during the helicopter's
descent, nor were radio or beeper signals heard after impact. Four attempts
to get into the area of the downed helicopter failed due to intense ground
fire.
During the next two days more attempts to get to the wreckage failed. The
pilot of one search helicopter maneuvered to within 75 feet of the crash
site before being forced out by enemy fire. The pilot who saw the wreckage
stated that the crashed helicopter was a mass of burned metal and that there
was no part of the aircraft that could be recognized. No signs of life were
seen in the crash area.
Weather delayed further search attempts for a couple of days. After the
weather improved, the successful insertion of a ground team was made east of
the crash site to avoid enemy fire. The team was extracted after the second
day, finding nothing. The crash site was located near the city of Muong Nong
in Savannakhet Province, Laos.
Nearly 600 Americans were lost in Laos. The Pathet Lao insisted that the
"tens of tens" of Americans they held would only be released from Laos, but
the U.S. did not officially recognize the communist faction in Laos and did
not negotiate for American prisoners being held by them. Not one American
held by the Lao was ever released.
Alarmingly, evidence continues to mount that Americans were left as
prisoners in Southeast Asia and continue to be held today. Unlike "MIAs"
from other wars, most of the nearly 2500 men and women who remain missing in
Southeast Asia can be accounted for. Perhaps the crew of the helicopter did
not survive the crash, but until there is positive proof of their deaths, we
cannot forget them. If even one was left behind at the end of the war,
alive, (and many authorities estimate the numbers to be in the hundreds), we
have failed as a nation until and unless we do everything possible to secure
his freedom and bring him home.
==========================================
NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 970-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 06, 2007
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
Public/Industry(703) 428-0711
Soldiers Mia From Vietnam War Are Accounted For
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced
today that group remains of five U.S. servicemen, missing in action from
the Vietnam War, will be returned to their families soon for burial with
full military honors.
They are Chief Warrant Officer Dennis C. Hamilton, of Barnes City, Iowa;
Chief Warrant Officer Sheldon D. Schultz, of Altoona, Pa.; Sgt. 1st Class
Ernest F. Briggs Jr., of San Antonio, Texas; Sgt. 1st Class John T.
Gallagher, of Hamden, Conn.; and Sgt. 1st Class James D. Williamson, of
Olympia, Wash.; all U.S. Army.The group remains of this crew will be buried
on Aug. 14 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.Gallagher's
remains were individually identified, and his burial date is being set by
his family.
Representatives from the Army met with the next-of-kin of these men to
explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment
with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.
On Jan. 5, 1968, these men crewed a UH-1D helicopter that was inserting a
patrol into Savannakhet Province, Laos.As the aircraft approached the
landing zone, it was struck by enemy ground fire, causing it to nose over
and crash.There were no survivors.All attempts to reach the site over the
next several days were repulsed by enemy fire.
Between 1995 and 2006, numerous U.S./Lao People's Democratic Republic
/Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams, all led by the Joint POW/MIA
Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted more than five investigations,
including interviews with Vietnamese citizens who said they witnessed the
crash.Between 2002 and 2006, JPAC led three excavations of the site,
recovering remains and other material evidence including identification
tags for Schultz, Hamilton and Briggs.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence,
scientists from JPAC also used dental comparisons in the identification of
the remains.
For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account
for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http:// www.dtic.mil/dpmo
or call (703) 699-1169.
-------------------------
News : South Sound Published August 07, 2007
Woman finds relief in MIA news
Christian Hill
The Olympian
Nicole Ross of Olympia used to daydream in class that her father had come
home.
Army Sgt. 1st Class James D. Williamson and four other soldiers went missing
in action in 1968 when their helicopter was shot down over Laos during the
Vietnam War. Ross was 5 when it happened......
Christian Hill covers the city of Lacey and military for The Olympian. He
can be reached at 360-754-5427 or chill@theolympian.com.
 
 
 
 
The Olympian
July 6 2014
Missing Olympia soldier inspires Florida woman's Fourth of July ritual
Over the years, a number of people have contacted Ross about her father, whose name appeared on several commemorative POW/MIA bracelets......