BYRD, HUGH MCNEIL, JR. Name: Hugh McNeil Byrd, Jr. Rank/Branch: O3/US Army Unit: 220th Aviation Company, 212th Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade Date of Birth: 22 October 1943 (Pueblo CO) Home City of Record: Berea KY Date of Loss: 09 January 1969 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 162816N 1070200E (YD170220) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 4 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O1G Refno: 1357 Other Personnel In Incident: Kevin O'Brien (missing) Source: Compiled 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 in 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: On January 9, 1969, Capt. Hugh Byrd, pilot, and 1Lt. Kevin O'Brien, observer, were on a visual reconnaissance mission over the Khe Sanh area of South Vietnam in an O1G Bird Dog aircraft, tail #51-5059. Byrd's aircraft flew from the 200th Aviation Company, 212th Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade. O'Brian's job as observer from HHC, 2nd Battalion, 94th Artillery, was to identify artillery targets. The plane diverted to assist a reconnaissance team that was in enemy contact in the Khe Sanh area. After aiding the team and being relieved by another aircraft, Byrd headed his plane back to Phu Bai. The weather was bad and the pilot reported at 1940 hours that that he was lost and the weather was worsening. The aircraft was not equipped to fly instrument in meterological conditions. Dong Ha and other radar controllers tried to get a fix on the Bird Dog, and were able to maintain constant radio contact, but were able only to get an imprecise location. Based on the direction the aircraft told them it was flying, the radar station advised it to climb because of mountains in the area. No further transmissions were heard. Numerous searches were initiated following the disappearance of the aircraft, but were broken off after a few days due to weather conditions. When searches were resumed when the weather cleared, they failed to locate any wreckage. Byrd and O'Brien were declared Missing In Action. In August 1975, in the presumed crash area, a refugee reported seeing 2 downed U.S. aircraft which he described as one F5 jet and one L19. He was told that 2 Americans on the L19 were killed and buried 1 kilometer from the crash. The Army feels this report could possibly relate to Byrd and O'Brien. (The O1 was formerly known as L19.) Many authorities believe, based on thousands of refugee reports, that hundreds of Americans are still alive, held captive in Southeast Asia. If Byrd and O'Brien are among them is unknown. Dead or alive, they are in enemy hands. It's time to bring these men home.