WALTERS, TIM LEROY
Positive ID of teeth 08/11/99
Burial --  Niles, MI 10/23/99
Name: Tim Leroy Walters
Rank/Branch: E6/US Army
Unit: Special Operations Group - MACV
Date of Birth: 24 February 1043
Home City of Record: South Bend IN
Date of Loss: 09 March 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 165219N 1062548E (XD524658)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O2A
Refno: 1403
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: Robert F. Rex (missing)
REMARKS:
SYNOPSIS: Captain Bob Rex and Army Staff Sergeant Tim L. Walters were the
pilot and observer aboard an O2A aircraft (serial #67-21425) on a combat
support mission when it crashed for unknown reasons about 5 miles into Laos
west of the DMZ on March 9, 1969. Walters was from Special Operations Group,
MACV. The O2A was a two-place observation plane which flew forward air
control, marking targets, locating friendly troops, and directing air
strikes.
At first, the enemy feared the presence of the small observation planes,
knowing that they were able to bring in fighter planes. Later, however, it
became more commonplace for any enemy group that believed it had been
sighted to open fire and try to bring down the FAC and reduce the accuracy
of the impending strike.
The crew of these small unarmed crafts had a dim hope of survival if hit
because of their close proximity to the enemy and lack of ability to eject
at high altitude and drift out of the area. The planes were light, however,
and flew low, so survival was not out of the question. Additionally, the
enemy developed weaponry that could knock out the engines only, allowing the
plane to arrive on the ground with far less damage.
After Rex and Walters' aircraft crashed, another aircraft (call sign Knife
55), reported that the aircraft crashed at about 1150 hours. A ground team
inspected the wreckage and reported that both the occupants were dead.
However, hostile ground fire prevented them from recovering the remains. Two
members of the ground team did not personally know SSgt. Walters, but stated
that both individuals were positively dead. An aircraft engine was on top of
the NCO (Walters). The ground team recovered the weapons, map case and
camera from the aircraft, but because of hostile ground fire, left the
remains behind.
The U.S. Department of Defense categorized Bob Rex and Tim Walters "Killed
in Action, Body Not Recovered", yet the U.S. State Department, using Defense
records, coded the demise of Walters as "died while missing" and Rex as
"hostile - killed", indicating that there was a probability that the
aircraft was shot down, rather than downed through some malfunction or pilot
error. Certainly, there is a very high probability that the enemy knows the
whereabouts of Bob Rex and Tim Walters.
The U.S. has approached the Lao only in recent years (mid to late 1980's)
for cooperation in examining crash sites of downed aircraft. While the
product of these searches have yielded remains of some missing men, they
have also resulted in what many call "voodoo forensics" whereby men are
identified from bone fragments non-government experts claim are
unidentifiable. Several POW/MIA families have successfully brought suit
against the government for these faulty identifications.
Even more tragically, reports relating to missing Americans continue to flow
in, convincing many authorities that hundreds of Americans are still alive
in Southeast Asia, waiting for their country to secure their freedom, yet
the U.S. maintains they have no actionable evidence and take no action to
free them.
Rex and Walters, according to the search team, died the day their aircraft
went down in Laos. Until their remains are returned, we are abandoning them
to the enemy.
NOTE: "Special Operations Group-MACV" is not a term used in "The Order of
Battle", a highly comprehensive (although not without errors/omissions)
listing of U.S. Army units in Vietam compiled by noted military historian
Shelby Stanton. The compiler of this synopsis, therefore, questions the unit
designation.
A more common designation for the acronym "SOG", is Studies and Observation
Group, a highly classified group attached to MACV which conducted
clandestine missions of reconnaissance and interdiction. 5th Special Forces
Group channeled personnel through "Special Operations Augmentation" (SOA)
into MACV-SOG. It will interest readers that one of the functions of
MACV-SOG was tracking all imprisoned and missing Americans and conducting
raids to assist and free them. It is possible, although not at all certain,
that the "SOG" referred to in this loss incident could be MACV-SOG.
------------------------------------
    No. 190-M
MEMORANDUM FOR CORRESPONDENTS   December 13, 1999
The remains of eleven American servicemen previously unaccounted-for
from the Vietnam War have been identified and are being returned to
their families for burial in the United States.
They are identified as U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tim L. Walters, South Bend,
Ind.; U.S. Army 1st Lt. James R. McQuade, Hoquiam, Wash.; U.S. Army Spc.
James E. Hackett, Bradenton, Fla.; U.S. Air Force Col. George W. Jensen,
Seattle, Wash.; U.S. Air Force Col. Marshall L. Tapp, Los Angeles,
Calif.; U.S. Air Force Col. Lavern G. Reilly, St. Paul, Minn.; U.S. Air
Force Maj. George W. Thompson, Beckley, W.Va.; U.S. Air Force Chief
Master Sgt. James A. Preston, Bowden, Ga.; U.S. Air Force Chief Master
Sgt. James E. Williams, Oxford, Miss.; U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt.
William L. Madison, Lexington, Ky.; and U.S. Air Force Senior Master
Sgt. Kenneth D. McKenney, Auburn, Mass.
On March 9, 1969, Walters was aboard a 0-2A Super Skymaster flying a
forward air control mission over Laos.  The aircraft crashed, due to an
unknown cause.  Other aircrews in the area reported seeing the aircraft
shortly after impact.  A ground party went to the site shortly after the
crash and determined that both crewmembers were dead, but they could not
recover the remains due to heavy enemy activity in the area.
Joint U.S.-Lao investigators visited several alleged crash sites in
1993, 1994 and 1998, and an excavation was conducted in January,
February and March 1999, where a team recovered human remains, personal
effects and crew-related items.
Hackett and McQuade were attempting to rescue the crew of a downed
aircraft when their own OH-6A helicopter exploded in mid-air over South
Vietnam on June 11, 1972.  In 1993 and 1994, joint U.S.-Vietnamese teams
conducted investigations and an excavation where they recovered numerous
human remains, pilot-related gear and personal effects.
On May 15, 1966, Jensen was piloting an AC-47D gunship on an armed
reconnaissance mission over Laos.  Also aboard the aircraft were Tapp,
Thompson, Preston, Madison, McKenney, Williams, and Reilly.  That
evening, Jensen radioed to his airborne control aircraft that everything
was normal on the mission, but the aircraft never returned to its home
base.  Joint U.S.-Lao investigative teams visited several sites in 1994,
1995, 1996 and 1997 and conducted excavations where they recovered human
remains an d crew-related items.
With the accounting of these servicemen, 2,032 are missing in action
from the Vietnam War.  Another 551 have been identified and returned to
their families since the end of the war.  Analysis of the remains and
other evidence by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii
confirmed the identification of these servicemen.
The U.S. government welcomes and appreciates the cooperation of the
governments of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Lao People's
Democratic Republic that resulted in the accounting of these servicemen.
We hope that such cooperation will bring increased results in the
future.  Achieving the fullest possible accounting for these Americans
is of the highest national priority.
-END-