ADAMS, OLEY NEAL
Name: Oley Neal Adams
Rank/Branch: E5/US Air Force
Unit: 12th Armament Electronic Maintenance Squadron
Date of Birth: 27 June 1937
Home City of Record: Green City MO
Date of Loss: 17 June 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 125336N 1093123E (CQ398257)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: Ralph B. Cobbs; Jack I. Dempsey; Stanley J.
Freng; Edward L. Romig; M.J. Savoy; Donald E. Siegwarth; Curtis D. Collette;
Gene K. Hess; Connie M. Gravitte; Robert A. Cairns; Larry E. Washburn (all
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.
REMARKS: EXPLODE AIR & IMPACT SEA - J
SYNOPSIS: On June 17, 1966, a C130E "Hercules" aircraft departed Cam Ranh
Bay, South Vietnam en route to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa on an operational
airlift support mission. Aboard the flight were the crew, consisting of
LtCdr. Ralph Cobbs; ADJ2 Curtis D. Collette; YN2 Jack I. Dempsey; ADR2
Stanley Freng; Ltjg. Edward Romig; AN M.J. Savoy; and Ltjg. Donald
Siegwarth. All were assigned to the 7th Air Transport Squadron. Also aboard
the aircraft were U.S. Air Force personnel SSgt. Robert Cairns; SSgt. Gene
Hess; Capt. Connie Gravitte; SSgt. Oley N. Adams; and A1 Larry Washburn, and
one other individual.
About 30 minutes into the flight, as the aircraft was 43 miles northeast of
Nha Trang, the crew of a naval gunboat cruising off the South Vietnam coast
observed the C130 explode and crash into the South China Sea. No hostile
fire was observed, and the exact cause of the crash could not be determined.
The vessel arrived at the crash scene only minutes after the impact and
began an immediate search. The accident occurred so swiftly that it was
assumed all aboard perished instantly. Some debris and wreckage have been
recovered including parts of the aircraft and personal belongings. Only one
body was recovered from the crash site. The others are listed as "Dead/Body
Cobbs and Siegworth were pilots, and probably the co-pilots of the aircraft,
although this information is not included in public data relating to the
loss. Crew positions of the remaining crew members are not available.
Inexplicably, Cobbs' loss coordinates place him on the coast of South
Vietnam a few miles northeast of Tuy Hoa, while the others aboard are listed
as lost northeast of Na Trang. (This is a difference of about 55 miles.)
Also, the entire crew of the aircraft has been assigned "Knowledge Category
4", while the passengers are in "Knowledge Category 5". Category 5 includes
those individuals whose remains have been determined to be non-recoverable.
Category 4 includes individuals whose loss details, such as location and
time, are unknown and who do not fit into any of the varying degrees of
knowledge other than category 5. No reason for this discrepancy can be
The Americans aboard the C130E are listed among the missing because their
remains were never found to be returned to their homeland. They are among
nearly 2500 Americans who remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam war. The
cases of some, like the C130E crew, seem clear - that they perished and will
never be recovered, Unfortunately, many of the missing do not have such
clear cut cases. Some were known captives; some were photographed in
captivity. Some were in radio contact with search teams, while others simply
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.
Over 1000 eye-witness reports of living American prisoners were received by
1989. 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?
In our haste to leave an unpopular war, it now appears we abandoned some of
our best men. In our haste to heal the wounds of this same war, will we sign
their death warrants? Or will we do what we can to bring them home?