BOOTH, GARY PRESTON Name: Gary Preston Booth Rank/Branch: E4/US Army Unit: 18th Aviation Company, 223rd Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade Date of Birth: 11 April 1950 (Chehalif WA) Home City of Record: Olympia WA Date of Loss: 23 December 1970 Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water Loss Coordinates: 125821N 1092507E (CQ285345) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 5 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: U1A Refno: 1684 Other Personnel in Incident: Michael W. McAndrews; Bain W. Wiseman (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: A/C BROKE UP - SAR NEG - J SYNOPSIS: On December 23, 1970, WO1 Michael W. McAndrews, aircraft commander; WO1 Bain W. Wiseman, pilot; and SP4 Gary P. Booth, crew chief, were flying a U1A "Otter" aircraft (tail number 55-3298), call sign Reliable 298, on a courier mission over South Vietnam. At 1845 hours, trained observers on the ground reported seeing an aircraft, later determined to be Reliable 298, break up in mid-air about 10 miles south of Tuy Hoa Air Base. Information indicates that Reliable 298 may have been on fire at the time it broke up. The observers reported that the aircraft broke into two parts, and that these parts crashed in the vicinity. U.S. Army helicopters arrived shortly after the incident and began an unsuccessful search for survivors. Aerial searches the next day were supplimented by ground searches along the nearby beaches. While parts of the aircraft and individual flight equipment were found along the beach, no trace was found of survivors. It was the opinion of the U.S. Army that the crew of Reliable 298 died when it went down on December 23, 1970. Because no remains were found, all the crew was listed among the nearly 2500 Americans missing from the Vietnam war. For others who are missing, determination of death is not possible. Some of the missing were last seen being led away by enemy troops. A few wrote home from POW camps, but were not released at the end of the war. Others were in radio contact with search and rescue teams and advised them of their imminent capture. Since the war ended, thousands of reports have accumulated indicating that hundreds of Americans are still alive, captives of our long-ago enemy. While the crew of Reliable 298 may not be among them, their deaths have little meaning until this war is completely ended - and all Americans come home.