ADAMS, JOHN ROBERT
Name: John Robert Adams
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army
Unit: 189th Aviation Co., 17th Aviation Group
Date of Birth: 31 July 1946 (Anderson Dam ID)
Home City of Record: Chico CA
Date of Loss: 08 November 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 144400N 1073600E (YB800300)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: WO McKenna (pilot); SP4 Begay (crewmember); WO
Weaks (copilot) - all rescued
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. Updated by the P.O.W.
SYNOPSIS: SP5 John Adams was crewchief aboard a UH1C gunship flying cover on
a Special Forces insertion mission west of Dak Tho, Republic of Vietnam on
November 8, 1967. While circling the inserted troops, the helicopter began
to lose power and attempted to land.
Failing to find a suitable landing zone, McKenna allowed the aircraft to
settle tail first into the trees. At the helicopter struck the trees, the
tail boom snapped off, spun and came to rest on an upslope, caving in the
front of the aircraft. McKenna and Begay exited the right side of the
chopper, while Weaks and Adams exited the left. Begay had suffered a broken
leg, Weaks had injured his right foot, and Adams was broken his arm and
appeared to be in shock.
The four had barely exited the helicopter when they began to receive small
arms fire. McKenna radioed for help, and he, Begay and Weaks made their way
to an extraction point, with Begay dragging Adams. Begay, because of his own
injuries, was unable to carry Adams far, and left him in a slumped-over
position against some bushes. Begay later stated that Adams' condition had
While awaiting extraction, McKenna returned to the crash site to see if he
could help Adams. He saw two Viet Cong, one of whom appeared to be shooting
at Adams. McKenna shot at the Viet Cong, then fell down the slope to the
creekbed from which he was extracted. Adams was last seen slumped over just
outside the left cargo door of the crashed aircraft.
Subsequent rescue efforts were frustrated by enemy fire, and the company
commander ordered all rescue attempts terminated. Following termination of
rescue efforts, the downed aircraft was destroyed to prevent capture of
weapons and equipment.
John Adams survived the crash of his helicopter, and with the presence of
enemy forces, stands a good chance of being captured. His helicopter
contained equipment the Army did not want in the hands of the enemy. Twelve
500 lb. bombs, six CBU-2's, 1600 rounds of 20 mm fire, additional bombs and
napalm were dropped on the crash site to prevent capture.
Whether Adams is one of the hundreds of Americans experts believe are still
alive in captivity is not known. It is possible that he was shot by the Viet
Cong, or worse, died from the heavy bombing laid on the crash site by his
own countrymen. What is certain, however, is that the Vietnamese know what
happened to John Adams.