BERRY, JOHN ALVIN
Name: John Alvin Berry
Rank/Branch: W1/US Army
Unit: HHC; 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division
Date of Birth: 14 February 1946 (Delta CO)
Home City of Record: Naturita CO
Date of Loss: 05 December 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 113045N 1055322E (WT970727)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel In Incident: Billy K. Evans (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: The Hughes Aircraft OH6A Cayuse ("Loach") was envisioned as an
all-purpose helicopter to perform such duties as personnel or cargo
transport, light ground attack or casualty evacuation, observation, and
photographic reconnaissance. But the Loach proved most effective at visual
reconnaissance, searching out signs of the enemy even in heavily defended
areas. The light helicopter skimmed the treetops, its crew peering through
gaps in the jungle canopy in search of tracks, cooking fires, huts, or other
signs of the enemy.
On December 5, 1968, SP4 Billy K. Evans Jr., observer, and WO1 John A.
Berry, pilot, were aboard the lead OH6A helicopter (tail #67-16341), in a
flight of two OH6As on a reconnaissance mission on a suspected enemy bunker
complex in Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam, very near the border of
Cambodia. During a pass over the complex, Berry's aircraft received fire,
and he notified his wingman of the situation. Berry's helicopter then turned
left, nosed over, crashed and burned. The wingman and his observer had
continuous observation of the incident and saw no one thrown from the
aircraft or departing the wreckage.
An aerial search of the open area around the crash site indicated no
survivors. No ground search was possible due to enemy anti-aircraft weapons
and extensive enemy bunkers in the area. At the time of the crash, Berry's
OH6A had half a tank of fuel and more than 3000 rounds of ammunition aboard.
A small portion of the tail boom and a piece of the tail rudder were the
only recognizable portions of the aircraft remaining. Both Berry and Evans
were initially declared Missing in Action, on the chance that they may have
escaped the burning aircraft.
On October 18, 1973, a message from DIA cited a captured enemy film of a
crash site which showed 2 deceased American helicopter crewmembers. Based on
the analysis of this film, the status of Evans and Berry was changed to
Killed in Action, Bodies Not Recovered (KIA/BNR) by the U.S. Army.
A hearsay report was later received indicating that a set of remains had
been found in a crashed helicopter in the jungles of Tay Ninh Province.
Allegedly, the remains were those of a Second Lieutenant named Bill. This
may correlate to SP4 Billy Evans. Jr.
Like hundreds of others, Berry and Evans fate is unknown. While it is
thought they are dead, their families cannot be sure. Increasing number of
reports of Americans still alive and held captive prevent the families from
being able to lay the matter to rest. Until these men are brought home,
someone will always wonder, "Where are John Berry and Billy Evans?"