BRIGGS, RONALD DANIEL Remains Identified - ID announced 11/06/02
Name: Ronald Daniel Briggs Rank/Branch: O2/US Army Unit: Advisory Team 4, MACV Date of Birth: 24 March 1944 Home City of Record: Philadelphia PA Date of Loss: 06 February 1969 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 162750N 1070238E (YD182212) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 4 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H
Other Personnel In Incident: Robert C. O'Hara; Charles I. Stanley; David E. Padgett; Eugene F. Christiansen; Donald E. Parsons (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. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2002.
SYNOPSIS: On February 6, 1969, CW2 Charles I. Stanley, pilot; 1Lt. David E. Padgett, aircraft commander; SP5 Robert C. O'Hara, crew chief; PFC Eugene F. Christiansen, door gunner; LtCol. Donald E. Parsons, 1Lt. Ronald D. Briggs, and Maj. Vu Vanh Phao, ARVN, all passengers, were aboard a UH1H (serial #67-17499) on a resupply mission in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam.
While in route from Landing Zone Vandergrift to LZ Tornado, 1Lt. Padget contacted the LZ Tornado radio operator at about 1100 hours and stated that due to poor weather conditions and poor visibility, the flight was returning to LZ Vandergrift.
At that time, the radio operator at LZ Tornado could hear the helicopter northeast of his location, which sounded as if it were heading in a northerly direction. When the aircraft failed to return to LZ Vandergrift, a coordinated search and rescue operation was initiated and continued for seven consecutive days, finding nothing.
However, on the morning of February 7, Crown, an airborne control aircraft, reported receiving radio beeper signals several times from the general vicinity of where Lt. Padgett's aircraft was last reported. The beeper signals were estimated to emanate from that general direction. The source of the signals was never determined.
The area in which the aircraft was estimated to go down has been dubbed "Antenna Valley" and is located west of Cam Lo and on the backside of Camp Carrol. The area was occupied by NVA regulars, and was never cleared. On-site search was not possible at that time.
On September 4, 1969, an ARVN source reported that in August he had seen LTC Parsons, Maj. Phao, LT Briggs, and four other unidentified American POWs in a hospital in Laos. The U.S. Army determined that the four unidentified Americans could possibly be Christiansen, Stanley, Padgett and O'Hara.
On July 5, 1972, an NVA rallier reported seeing two caucasian POWs in the vicinity of a T-35 commo-liaison station on the 499th infiltration corridor in Laos. The two POWs were being taken to North Vietnam. This information was tentatively correlated to LT Padgett and PCF Christiansen.
In September 1970, LTC Parson's wife and friends identified him in a North Vietnamese film of a protestant service in a POW environment. CW2 Stanley's mother made a tentative identification of her son in the same film.
In December 1979, an alleged "gun-runner", Sean O'Toolis reported that he had the fingerprints of Robert O'Hara, and that O'Hara was at that time being held south of Hanoi near Bong Song. O'Toolis' information was summarily dismissed by the U.S. Government and he was thoroughly discredited, thus it is not clear how much credence can be given to his information.
The reports relating to the crew of the UH1H that went down on February 6, 1969 are typical of the over 10,000 reports received by the U.S. Government relating to Americans prisoner, missing or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. After reviewing "several million documents" and conducting "over 250,000 interviews" the USG has been unable to state categorically that Americans are still alive.
Many authorities, however, including a former Director of Defense Intelligence Agency, have reluctantly concluded that there are many Americans still held against their will in Southeast Asia.
Families who receive these reports are especially tortured. With no means to prove or disprove them, the tormen is indescribable. When they turn to their government, they are usually met with the "mindset to debunk" described by one high official in Congressional hearings. When they approach Vietnam, they are told the person they seek is unknown to them. Yet the reports continue to flow in, month after month, year after year. And year after year, families wait.
And year after year, American servicemen wait -- wondering if their country will ever bring them home.
[r1372.97 PROJECT X SUMMARY SELECTION RATIONALE
NAMES: BRIGGS, Ronald D., lLT, USA
CHRISTIANSEN, Eugene F., PFC, USA
O'HARA, Robert C.,, SP5, USA
PARSONS, Donald E., LTC, USA
PADGETT,, David E., lLT, USA
STANLEY, Charles I., CW2, USA
OFFICIAL STATUS: BRIGGS: DEAD, BODY NOT RECOVERED
PARSONS: DEAD, BODY NOT RECOVERED
CASE SUMMARY: SEE ATTACHED
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION: All of these individuals were lost in one helicopter incident. There are two correlated intelligence reports describing four of them, and two of the individuals were identified by family and friends in a North Vietnamese film. There have been no confirmations of death on any of these men since the incident date.
REFNO: 1372 20 Apr 76
(U) CASE SUMMARY
1. On 6 February 1969 CW2 Charles I. Stanley, pilot, 1Lt. David E. Padgett, aircraft commander, LTC Donald E. Parsons, lLT Ronald D. Briggs, and Maj. Vu Vann Phao (ARVN), passengers, SP5 Robert C. O'Hara, crewchief, and PFC Eugene F. Christiansen, gunner, were aboard a UH1H helicopter, ( #67-17499), on a resupply mission in South Vietnam. At about 1100 hours, while enroute from Landing Zone ((LZ) Vandgrift to LZ Tornado, 1LT. Padgett contacted the LZ Tornado radio operator, and stated that due to poor weather conditions and Door visibility the flight was returning to LZ Vandgrift. At that time the radio operator at LZ Torando could hear the helicopter northeast of his location, which sounded as though it was heading- in a northerly direction. When the aircraft failed to return to LZ Vandgrift a coordinated search and rescue operation was initiated and continued for a period of seven consecutive days, finding nothing. However, on the morning, of 7 February, R-Crown, (an airborne control aircraft), reported receiving radio beeper signals several times from the -general vicinity of where lLT Padgett's aircraft was last reported. The beeper signals were estimated to eminate from a point-- near grid coordinates (GC) YD 170 300. (The incident coordinates are listed in JCRC files as YD 182 212). (Ref 1 & 3)
2. On 4 September 1969 an ARVN source reported that in August he had seen LTC Parsons, Maj. Phao, LT. Briggs, and four other unidentified American POW's at a hospital in Laos. (The four unidentified POW's possibly were PFC Christiansen, CW2 Stanley, 1LT. Padgett and SP5 O'Hara). (Ref 2)
3. On 5 July 1972 an NVA rallier reported seeing two Caucasian POW's in the vicinity of a T-35 Commo-Liaison station on the 599th Infiltration Corridor in Laos (UTM coordinates unknown). The two POW's were being taker to North Vietnam. (Information in this report possibly correlates -To LT. Padgett and PFC Christiansen). (Ref 3)
4. LTC Parsons' spouse and friends identified him in a North Vietnamese film of a Protestant Service in September 1970. CW2 Stanley's mother made a tentative identification of her son in the same film. (Ref 3)
5. During the existence of JCRC, the limited information available precluded any efforts toward the resolution of this case. These individuals' names and identifying data were turned over to the Four-Party Joint Military Team with a request for any information available. No response was forthcoming. lLT Briggs and LTC Parsons are currently carried in the presumptive status of Dead, Body Not Recovered. CW2 Stanley, lLT Padgett, PFC Christiansen and SP5 O'Hara are currently carried in the status of Missing.
1. RPT (U), HQ USARV W w/inclosures, 7 Apr 69.
2. RPT- (U), HQ 3rd Army (Information from Mrs Patrick A. Parsons) 15 Sep 70.
3. RPT (U), MIA SEA.- Page 16, 31 Mar 73.
1. Ronald D. Briggs 1372-0-01
2. Eugene F. Christiansen 1372-0-02
3. Robert C. O'Hara 1372-0-03
4. Donald E. Parsons 1372-0-04
5. David E. Padgett 1372-0-05
6. Charles I. Stanley 1372-0-06
* National Alliance of Families Home Page
NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 571-02 (703) 697-5131(media) IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 6, 2002 (703) 428-0711(public/industry)
VIETNAM MIAS IDENTIFIED
The remains of three U.S. soldiers previously unaccounted for from the war in Vietnam have been identified and will be buried as a group at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday, Nov. 8.
They are Capt. Ronald D. Briggs, Philadelphia, Sgt. 1st Class Robert C. O'Hara, Lost Nation, Iowa; and Maj. David E. Padgett, Washington, Ind.
On Feb. 6, 1969, Padgett and O'Hara were crewmembers on a UH-1H Huey helicopter, flying Briggs and three other soldiers on an emergency resupply mission in South Vietnam. While enroute from a landing zone in the Quang Tri province, the crew radioed that the flight was returning due to poor weather conditions and reduced visibility. When the flight did not return, a search and rescue mission was initiated, but was unsuccessful in locating the missing aircraft.
In December 1993, a joint U.S. and Vietnam investigation team, led by the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting, interviewed several local informants in Quang Tri province. One claimed to possess the remains of a missing serviceman. Two months later, the remains were repatriated to U.S. officials and submitted to the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii (CILHI) for analysis.
On July 16, 1995, another joint U.S. and Vietnam team interviewed a witness who gave information about a helicopter crash site in the Huong Hoa District. After investigating the site, the team recovered aircraft debris, personal artifacts, and human remains that corresponded to the missing aircraft and its crewmembers. This additional evidence was also transported to CILHI.
From July 1996 to October 1996, additional remains, personal artifacts, and aircraft debris were recovered from the crash site. Some of the remains were submitted by CILHI to the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory for mitochondrial DNA analysis. By analyzing dental records and comparing the DNA of skeletal fragments found at the crash site to that of maternal family members, CILHI scientists were able to make identifications of the missing servicemen. The remains of three others from the same incident were previously identified.
News came 30 years later, and it was bad
Still in doubt, By SCOTT FLANDER email@example.com
.....Although the wreckage of the helicopter was discovered in 1995, along with the remains of several of the Americans, all that was found of Ron Briggs was an acrylic piece of his false teeth......