WIDENER, JAMES EDWARD
http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn/showarticle.php?num=02SUN101206
Remains Returned, ID'd, family announce Sept 20 06.
"A Widener has been killed in every major war since the Revolutionary days.
One, two, three, four, five Wideners have died for their country.
And now ......they will mourn a sixth."
Name: James Edward Widener
Rank/Branch: E2/US Marine Corps
Unit: 3rd Recon Company, 3rd Recon Battalion, 3rd Marine Division
Date of Birth: 12 November 1948
Home City of Record: Churchville NY
Date of Loss: 11 June 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 165454N 1065530E (YD048689)
Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: CH46A
Other Personnel In Incident: Dennis R. Christie, Curtis R. Bohlscheid; John
J. Foley; Jose J. Gonzales; Thomas M. Hanratty; Michael W. Havranek; James
W. Kooi, Jim E. Moshier; John S. Oldham; Charles D. Chomel (all missing)
[Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 from one or more of the
following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
NETWORK NOTE: In May of 1997, we received a note from a woman correcting an
error in the birth date of this biography. That note generated a "Did you
know him?" question that brought the following memories and then the
additonal news copy - which we asked permission to add here. Unfortunately,
none of the articles had a source noted. Updated Memorial Day 1997]
Updated 2003 - see source below.
REMARKS: A/C CRASH-EXPLODED-NO SURVS OBS-J
SYNOPSIS: On 11 June 1967, 1LT Curtis Bohlscheid was the pilot of a CH46A
helicopter inserting a seven-man Marine Force Recon team into a predesignated
area 11 1/2 nautical miles northwest of Dong Ha, South Vietnam -- right on the
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). A total of four aircraft were involved in the mission,
two CH46's and two UH1E helicopter gunships. Bohlscheid flew the lead aircraft.
His crew included MAJ John S. Oldham, LCPL Jose J. Gonzales (crew chief), and
PFC Thomas M. Hanratty (crew chief).
Members of the 3rd Recon Company, 3rd Recon Battalion, 3rd Marine Division who
were being inserted were CPL Jim E. Moshier, LCPL Dennis R. Christie, LCPL John
J. Foley III, LCPL Michael W. Havranek, LCPL James W. Kooi, PFC Charles D.
Chomel, and PFC James E. Widener.
The flight departed Dong Ha at about 11:15 a.m. and proceeded to the insertion
location. The gunships made low strafing runs over the landing zone to clear
booby traps and to locate any enemy troops in the area. No enemy fire was
received and no activity was observed. The lead aircraft then began its approach
to the landing zone. At an estimated altitude of 400-600 feet, the helicopter
was observed to climb erratically, similar to an aircraft commencing a loop.
Machinegunmen had been waiting for the opportune time to fire on the aircraft.
Portions of the rear blades were seen to separate from the aircraft and a radio
transmission was received from the aircraft indicating that it had been hit. The
helicopter became inverted and continued out of control until it was seen to
crash by a stream in a steep ravine.
Subsequent efforts by ground units to reach the crash area failed due to a heavy
bunker complex surrounding the site. The ground units inspected the site from
within 500 meters through binoculars and observed no survivors. All eleven
personnel aboard the helicopter were therefore classified Killed In Action, Body
Not Recovered. Other USMC records indicate that the helicopter also burst into
flames just prior to impacting the ground.
-----------------------------------------------------
June 1967
MARINE JAMES E. WIDENER, CHILI CENTER, KILLED IN WAR
Marine Pfc.  James E. Widener, 18, of 135 Scottsville-Chili Road, Chili
Center, has been killed in action in Vietnam just 14 months after his
graduation from Churchville-Chili High School.
He was killed near Dong Ha, South Vietnam, on June 11 when a helicopter he
was aboard was shot down. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jay C. Widener, were
informed he was missing on June 15 and were notified of his death on
Tuesday.
Mrs. Widener said that her son had a long time ambition to join the Marine
Corps and he enlisted Aug. 25, 1966, two months after his graduation.  He
was sent to Vietnam on Jan. 20 with the Third Marine Division.
Pfc.  Widener was a  high school athlete, earning letters in track,
wrestling and soccer. He played on the 1965 Section 5 championship soccer
team and was selected for All-County soccer and wrestling teams.
His parents were informed in a telegram from Gen. Wallace M Greene, Jr.,
Marine Corps commandant, that Pfc.  Widener was returning with five other
Marines from a five-day reconnaissance foot patrol into hostile territory.
The helicopter was shot down just south of the Demilitarized Zone and 12
miles north of Dong Ha.
His father is a Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. employee and a former
professional middleweight boxer and semi-professional football player.
One of Private Widener's brothers, Peter, 21, a senior in the New York
State University College at Buffalo, won the lightweight boxing district
championship in the Niagra District of the Amateur Athletic Union in 1965
and 1966.
Besides his parents, Pfc. Widener is survived by three brothers, Jay Jr.,
Peter and Mark; and a sister, Julie.  He was a member of the Lutheran Church
of Our Savior in Gates.
-----------------------------------------------
November 1967
Faces and Places in Chili
by Betty Greenfield
LEST WE FORGET.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, many of us in the Town of Chili will
have different memories. There are many kinds of memories - Happy and sad
ones. Thanksgiving Day this year will be one of sad memories at the home of
the Jay C. Wideners' on Chili-Scottsville Road, formerly the Stage Road.
The tragic news of the death of their young son, James E. Widener reached
them on July 4, 1967. He was killed on his mother's birthday, the 11th of
June.....
---------------------------
'We must stop somewhere'
War-scarred Family Looks Back
May 30, 1968
By JOHN McALEENAN
A Widener has been killed in every major war since the Revolutionary days.
One, two, three, four, five Wideners have died for their country.
And now this Memorial Day they will mourn a sixth......
--------------------------------------------
1986
Ceremony to honor soldier missing in Vietnam War
By ELLEN ROSEN
It has been nearly 19 years since U.S. Marine Corps Pvt. James Edward
Widener disappeared while on a helicopter reconnaissance mission in Vietnam.
But tomorrow, Widener's family, friends and veterans in his hometown of
Chili will gather at a special ceremony to remember him....
----------------------------------------
----------------------------------------
When I was a year old, my mom went back to work.  She found the best sitter
possible.  This wonderful woman had four sons.  Jimmy was the third one.  He
was born a few months before my older sister.  Jimmy's younger brother Mark,
was six months older than I was.  I became a member of their family, and it
lasted for many, many years.
Jimmy was five years older than me, and in those days, that was a big
difference.
I still can picture the smile he always had, that will never change.
The family had the only pool in the area, so you can imagine that on the hot
days of the summer months, it was filled will all sorts of people.  What
fun. By the way, Jimmy did get a sister.  His mom had a fifth child, Julie,
in 1965.  Julie was one lucky little girl, with those four brothers.  Before
Jimmy left, there was a promise that she wouldn't cut her hair til he
returned home.  It grew real long, and then some years later, Julie did cut
her hair.
I turned 14 on June 9, 1967, and two days later Jimmy was shot down in
VietNam.
It also happened to be his mother's birthday. I will never forget that day,
nor will I ever forget Jimmy. He will always be there in my mind as a
brother and I will never forget him for as long as I live.
I am going to be 44 in June, and my son, Adam James, turns 18 in August.  I
often look in his face and wonder what Jimmy would of come to be, and thank
God that there is no war like VietNam, and hope there never will be again.
In answer to your original question, "do you know him?"  Yes, I do.  And I
remember him like it was yesterday.
November 12, 1948 is the correct date of his birthday. Thanks for helping to
correct this for him.
I would love for everyone to know that behind the name there is a person.
Over the years, sadly, I have lost contact with the family.  The oldest
brother passed away, along with Jimmy's mom.  And they have had a few tragic
things happen, but above all that, hope was never given up that he would
return.  I guess it never is.
Kathleen
----------------------------------------------
For the crew of the CH46A lost on June 11, 1967, death seems a certainty.
For hundreds of others, however, simple answers are not possible. Adding to
the torment of nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in
Southeast Asia is the certain knowledge that some Americans who were known
to be prisoners of war were not released at the end of the war. Others were
suspected to be prisoners, and still others were in radio contact with
would-be rescuers when last seen alive. Many were known to have survived
their loss incidents, only to disappear without a trace.
The problem of Americans still missing torments not only the families of
those who are missing, but the men who fought by their sides, and those in
the general public who realize the full implication of leaving men
unaccounted for at the end of a war.
Tragically, many authorities believe there are hundreds of Americans still
alive in captivity in Southeast Asia today.  What must they be thinking of
us? What will our next generation say if called to fight if we are unable to
bring these men home from Southeast Asia?
======================
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 19:41:17 -0500
From: Jerry Ostapowicz <jostapwicz@comcast.net>
USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Pilots
Subject: Comments on Sommersail 1 Team
INCIDENT DATE 670611 HMM-265 CH-46A 150270+ EP-158
[CREW]
Hanratty, Thomas Michael PFC CrewChief HMM-265 670611
Gonzalez, Jose Jesus LCPL Gunner HMM-265 670611
Bohlscheid, Curtis Richard CAPT Aircraft Commander HMM-265 670611
Oldham, John Sanders MAJ Copilot HMM-265 670611
[PASSENGERS]
Chomel, Charles Dennis PFC Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611
Christie, Dennis Ray LCPL Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611
Foley III, John Joseph LCPL Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611
Havranek, Michael William LCPL Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611
Kooi, James Willard LCPL Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611
Moshier, Jim Edwin CPL Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611
Widener, James Edward PFC Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
BOHLSCHEID CURTIS RICHARD : 078631 : USMCR : CAPT : O3 : 7562 (H-46) : 30 :
POCATELLO : ID : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Crew : body NOT recovered
: Quang Tri :08 : 19361209 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 21E : 091
CHOMEL CHARLES DENNIS : 2268368 : USMCR : PFC : E2 : 0311 : 19 : COLUMBUS :
IN : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger (3rdForceRecon) : body NOT
recovered : Quang Tri :00 : 19470823 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 21E :
087
CHRISTIE DENNIS RAY : 2234699 : USMCR : LCPL : E3 : 7141 : 20 : IMPERIAL
BEACH : CA : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger(3rdForceRecon) :
body NOT recovered : Quang Tri :01 : 19460811 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single
: 21E : 087
FOLEY JOHN JOSEPH III : 2253524 : USMCR : LCPL : E3 : 0311 : 20 : PLAINFIELD
: NJ : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger(3rdForceRecon) : body NOT
recovered : Quang Tri :00 : 19470611 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 21E :
088
GONZALEZ JOSE JESUS : 2018669 : USMCR : LCPL : E3 : 6341 : 22 : EL PASO : TX
: 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Crew : body NOT recovered : Quang Tri
:04 : 19440626 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 21E : 088
HANRATTY THOMAS MICHAEL : 2217895 : USMCR : PFC : E2 : 6311 : 20 : BEULAH :
CO : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Crew : body NOT recovered : Quang Tri
:01 : 19460619 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 21E : 089
HAVRANEK MICHAEL WILLIAM : 2231606 : USMCR : LCPL : E3 : 0311 : 19 :
MISSOULA : MT : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger(3rdForceRecon) :
body NOT recovered : Quang Tri :00 : 19480530 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single
: 21E : 089
KOOI JAMES WILLARD : 2245916 : USMCR : LCPL : E3 : 3516 : 18 : FRUITPORT :
MI : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger(3rdForceRecon) : body NOT
recovered : Quang Tri :01 : 19481118 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 21E :
090
MOSHIER JIM EDWIN : 2242254 : USMCR : CPL : E4 : 0311 : 23 : BAKERSFIELD :
CA : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger(3rdForceRecon) : body NOT
recovered : Quang Tri :04 : 19430803 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 21E : 091
OLDHAM JOHN SANDERS : 067132 : USMCR : MAJ : O4 : 7562 (H-46) : 33 : TINNIE
: NM : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Crew : body NOT recovered : Quang
Tri :16 : 19330703 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 21E : 091
WIDENER JAMES EDWARD : 2317507 : USMCR : PFC : E2 : 0311 : 18 : CHURCHVILLE
: NY : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger(3rdForceRecon) : body NOT
recovered : Quang Tri :00 : 19481112 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 21E : 093

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Comments on Incident:
3rd Force Recon Company - TEAM SOMERSAIL ONE:
Sgt. Jim E. Moshier, LCpl. James E. Kooi, LCpl. Michael W. Havranek, LCpl.
John J. Foley, LCpl. Dennis R. Christie, Pfc. Charles D. Chomel, Pfc. James
E. Widener
On 11 June 1967 a seven man Recon Team "Somersail-One" from 3rd Force left
Dong Ha for an insertion LZ at YD 041681. This LZ was directly on the
southern boundary of the DMZ . This area was four kilometers north of Hill
208 which was identified, during Operation Hastings in July 66, as the
Division Command Post for the 324B NVA and 900 meters west of Hill 174,
another well known NVA position.
The Flight left Dong Ha at 11:15hrs. A total of four Helicopters were
involved. Two CH 46A's and two UH1E gunships. As the insertion helicopter
was approaching the LZ it snapped up vertically and then rolled inverted
tumbling end over end and crashed. It was seen spiraling out of control and
the rear blades were seen separating. The helicopter crashed then burst into
flames. The bodies of the men lost were never recovered and they are listed
today as KIA/BNR. Summary taken from 3rd Recon narrative. Submitted by John
Lane. [The UH-1E gunship crews were eyewitnesses to the crash and indicated
no enemy action evident - suspect mechanical failure. Aircraft burned upon
impact with full load of fuel - no survivors possible.]
Comments on Incident:
I don't know where to start, except to say that the day Dick [Bohlscheid]
went down still echoes in my soul. I was lead of the section of the [VMO-2]
gunships which escorted Dick's recon insert. We briefed early in the
morning. Dick was mission command; he briefed. He was nervous for no reason
I could understand. I knew him from the time we were flight instructors
together in VT-2, Unit 4, at Whiting. I remember so clearly those recon
Marines outside the briefing hootch, there faces covered with camouflage
paint, but uneasy also.
As I remember and have remembered forever, Dick tried to insert the team
somewhere west of the China Wall, got shot out; we returned to Dong Ha;
rebriefed, refueled, went somewhere almost at the base of the China Wall,
shot out again. Dong Ha, refueled, rebriefed again. Then ordered to insert
that team, period. I guess there was suspicion of pressure, heavy pressure,
from the north.
This time we tried just northwest of Dong Ha. I think this was right. I
looked at my log book and find that I have three flights that day, the first
for a 3.9, the second for a 1.0, and the third, a 0.3. I remember clearing
the zone and seeing nothing, nor experiencing any fire. It was a terrible
day at that point, and I was relieved. I called Dick in clear and turned to
escort him on his port side.
As he transitioned to landing speed, in almost slow motion his nose rose,
then rose more sharply, then climbed toward the vertical. Then the a/c
rolled inverted, split S, and dived down and exploded. To this day, I will
never forget, can never forget, that Dick keyed the mic at about the time he
was inverted and started to say something, but what came out was a strangled
cry, "Mama." Then it was over.
Sorry to get emotional, but this event, this tragedy, was and is the
apotheosis of Vietnam to me. Dick was such a gentle man. God bless him, and
all who went with him. For a long time, Dick's name was not on the Wall,
because, I guess, he was still MIA, but it is now, and I have touched it.
Submitted by Hank Trimble, VMO-2 gunship escort
Comments on Incident:
LOSS COORDINATES: 165454N 1065530E (YD048689) [N16 54 54 E106 55 30]
SOURCE: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. NETWORK NOTE: In May
of 1997, we received a note from a woman correcting an error in the birth
date of this biography. That note generated a "Did you know him?" question
that brought the following memories and then the additional news copy -
which we asked permission to add here. Unfortunately, none of the articles
had a source noted. Updated Memorial Day 1997
REMARKS: A/C CRASH-EXPLODED-NO SURVS OBS-J
SYNOPSIS: On 11 June 1967, CAPT. Curtis Bohlscheid was the pilot of a CH46A
helicopter inserting a seven-man Marine Force Recon [3rd Force Recon] team
into a predesignated area 11 1/2 nautical miles northwest of Dong Ha, South
Vietnam -- right on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). A total of four aircraft
were involved in the mission; two CH46's and two UH1E helicopter gunships
[VMO-2]. Bohlscheid flew the lead aircraft. His crew included MAJ John S.
Oldham, LCPL Jose J. Gonzales (crew chief) and PFC Thomas M. Hanratty (crew
chief).
Members of the 3rd Recon Company, 3rd Recon Battalion, 3rd Marine Division
[3rd Force Recon] who were being inserted were CPL Jim E. Moshier, LCPL
Dennis R. Christie, LCPL John J. Foley III, LCPL Michael W. Havranek, LCPL
James W. Kooi, PFC Charles D. Chomel, and PFC James E. Widener.
The flight departed Dong Ha at about 11:15 a.m. and proceeded to the
insertion location [YD041681]. The gunships made low strafing runs over the
landing zone to clear booby traps and to locate any enemy troops in the
area. No enemy fire was received and no activity was observed. The lead
aircraft then began its approach to the landing zone. At an estimated
altitude of 400-600 feet, the helicopter was observed to climb erratically,
similar to an aircraft commencing a loop. Machinegun men had been waiting
for the opportune time to fire on the aircraft. Portions of the rear blades
were seen to separate from the aircraft and a radio transmission was
received from the aircraft indicating that it had been hit. The helicopter
became inverted and continued out of control until it was seen to crash by a
stream in a steep ravine.
Subsequent efforts by ground units to reach the crash area failed due to a
heavy bunker complex surrounding the site. The ground units inspected the
site from within 500 meters through binoculars and observed no survivors.
All eleven personnel aboard the helicopter were therefore classified Killed
In Action, Body Not Recovered. Other USMC records indicate that the
helicopter also burst into flames just prior to impacting the ground.
=====================
Chili MIA ordeal ends
Marine's remains ID'd, 39 years after helicopter crash in Vietnam
Ernst Lamothe Jr.
Staff writer
(September 22, 2006) - CHILI - The Widener family never gave up hope. But
they were realistic about the odds of ever hearing word about their son, who
was declared missing in action after a helicopter crash during the Vietnam
War.
On Wednesday, a Marine Corps officer came to Jay and Lenore Widener's Union
Street home and ended their long wait. The remains of their son, missing in
action for 39 years, had been identified......
ELAMOTHE@DemocratandChronicle.com
===============================
Nov. 1, 2006
MARINE MIA FROM VIETNAM WAR IS IDENTIFIED
        The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO)
        announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in
        action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to
        his family for burial with full military honors.
        He is Pfc. James E. Widener, U.S. Marine Corps, of Churchville, N.Y.
        He will be buried on Friday at Arlington National Cemetery near
        Washington, D.C.
        On June 11, 1967, Widener was one of 11 passengers on board a CH-46A
        Sea Knight helicopter that was inserting ground forces into Quang
        Tri Province, South Vietnam, when the aircraft crashed.  Pilots from
        two nearby helicopters saw the crash and reported that none of the
        men on board could have survived.  Aircraft flew over the site for
        several hours, but aircrew didn't observe and survivors.  A patrol
        was sent the next day to confirm the status of the 11 crewmembers,
        but the site could not be accessed due to enemy forces in the area.
        Later that month, enemy activity prevented a second attempt to
        patrol the site.
        Between 1993 and 1994, U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.)
        teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted
        two surveys of an area that was believed to be Widener's crash site.
        The teams also interviewed several Vietnamese citizens who recalled
        the crash.  Two of the citizens claimed to have seen bone fragments
        while scavenging the site years earlier.  When the teams visited the
        purported crash site, they found small pieces of wreckage, but found
        no human remains.
        In May 2005, Vietnamese officials notified U.S. specialists that
        possible human remains were present at a district security compound
        in Quang Tri province.  The Vietnamese claimed to have confiscated
        the remains and other items, including Widener's identification tag,
        from a Vietnamese local in 1996.  The remains were then buried in
        the security compound, but the ID tag and other material evidence
        had supposedly been lost over the years.  Later that month, a
        U.S./S.R.V. team excavated the burial site in the security compound
        and recovered a box containing human remains.
        Among dental records and other forensic tools and circumstantial
        evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA
        Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA from two
        known maternal relatives to confirm 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 or call
        (703) 699-1169.
-end-