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
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 2020.
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.