BARDEN, HOWARD LEROY Name: Howard Leroy Barden Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 12th Air Commando Squadron Date of Birth: 28 October 1933 Home City of Record: Cuyahoga Falls OH Date of Loss: 31 January 1967 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 163407N 1061448E (XD331322) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UC123B Refno: 0587 Other Personnel in Incident: Lloyd F. Walker; Roy R. Kubley; Ronald K. Miyazaki; Harvey Mulhauser (all missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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 1998. REMARKS: CRASH - SURV POSS BT NO SIGN - J SYNOPSIS: The Fairchild C123 "Provider" was aircraft based on an all-metal glider designed by Chase Aircraft and was the first transport to see Vietnam service. The Provider, when it was in camouflage paint with mottled topside and light bottomside, resembled an arched-back whale suspended from the bottom midpoint of huge dorsal wings. One of the Provider versions was the UC123B of Project Ranch Hand. Ranch Hand aircraft sprayed pesticides for malaria prevention and herbicides, including Agent Orange, that destroyed both the forest that concealed the Viet Cong and the rice and manioc plant that fed them. Maj. Lloyd F. Walker was the pilot of a 12th Air Commando Squadron UC123B which was sent on a defoliation mission on January 31, 1967. His crew that day included Capt. Howard L. Barden, Capt. Roy R. Kubley, Capt. Harvey Mulhauser, and Airman 1st Class Ronald K. Miyazaki, the flight mechanic. The aircraft had leveled off and started spraying when it suddenly inverted and crashed. Further investigation revealed that hostile fire struck the propeller causing the crash. The crash occurred about 5 miles south-southwest of Sepone in Savannakhet Province, Laos. All crewmembers were eventually determined to have been killed in the crash of the aircraft. The Ranch Hand crew is among nearly 600 Americans listed missing in Laos. Although the Pathet Lao stated on several occasions they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, Laos was not included in the agreements ending American involvement in the war, and the U.S. has not negotiated for the freedom of these men since that day. Consequently, not one American held in Laos has ever been released. 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? Ronald K. Miyazaki was promoted to the rank of Sergeant prior to determination of death.