Name: Donald Dawson Burnham
Rank/Branch: O3/US Army
Unit: B Troop, 1st Squad, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division
Date of Birth: 20 April 1940
Home City of Record: Webb AL
Date of Loss: 02 February 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 161209N 1081006E (AT960937)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H
Refno: 1024

Other Personnel In Incident: Kenneth J. Patton; Joe H. Pringle; Joseph Puggi;
Charles Adkins (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.


SYNOPSIS: Donald Burnham was the pilot of a UH1H helicopter (#66-16442) that
departed Camp Evans, Quang Tri, Republic of Vietnam for Chu Lai, Republic of
Vietnam on February 2, 1968. Also aboard were SP4 Charles Adkins, SFC Joe
Pringle, SSgt Joseph Puggi, passengers; and SP4 Kenneth Patton, crewchief. The
personnel aboard the aircraft were all members of B Troop, 1st Squad, 9th
Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division.

During a ground radar-controlled approach to Da Nang Airbase, the controller
lost radio contact with the helicopter and subsequently lost radar contact. The
last positive position of the aircraft was 12 miles north of Da Nang.

After attempts to contact Captain Burnham by radio failed, ramp checks were
conducted by another pilot from his unit. Search of the area to the north of Da
Nang failed to locate the missing aircraft.

On May 28, 1968, a crashed and burned UH1H helicopter (tail #6442) was located
in the appropriate vicinity and a search party recovered an ID tag belonging to
SFC Pringle, several weapons, and some human bones. The ID tag and weapons were
given to an unidentified major; subsequent attempts to trace the weapons have
been unsuccessful.

All human remains were given to the U.S. Army Mortuary at Da Nang, and were
subsequently determined unidentifiable. Search attempts terminated on November
16, 1972. Because of the density of the underbrush, no attempt to recover
further remains was made. The crash site was photographed in July 1974, at which
time it became known that parts of the aircraft had been recovered by a
Vietnamese woodcutter. No evidence of human remains were found in the area.

Donald Burnham's photograph was identified by a Vietnamese rallier as having
been a prisoner of war. CIA analysis failed to determine why Burnham's photo was
selected, as neither he nor the other crew were seen by returned POWs.

If it were not for over 10,000 reports of Americans still held captive in
Southeast Asia, the families of the men aboard UH1H #6442 might be able to give
up hope of seeing their sons and brothers again. But as long as there is
evidence that even one is alive, the possibility exists that any of the crew of
the UH1H lost on February 2, 1968 could be alive.




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On February 2, 1968, a UH-1H Iroquois (tail number 66-16442) carrying three passengers and two crew members was making a ground radar controlled approach to Da Nang Air Base when the ground controller suddenly and unexpectedly lost radio and radar contact with the aircraft. The entire crew was lost along with the helicopter. Several months later in May 1968, the aircraft was discovered to have crashed in a heavily-wooded gully with dense underbrush. Some remains were recovered but could not be identified as any of the crew members. Subsequent efforts to locate the crew's remains have been unsuccessful.

Captain Donald Dawson Burnham entered the U.S. Army from Alabama and served in Troop B, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. He was the pilot of the helicopter when it crashed on February 2, 1968, and his remains were not recovered. Following the incident, the Army promoted CPT Burnham to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (LTC). Today, Lieutenant Colonel Burnham is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

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