Name: Howard B. Carpenter
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army 5th Special Forces
Unit: HHC, C & C Detachment
Date of Birth: 23 February 1944 (New Castle PA)
Home City of Record: Youngstown OH
Date of Loss: 06 March 1967
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 161817N 1070226E (YD180036)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 0608
Other Personnel In Incident: (None missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 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: U.S. Army Special Forces SGT Howard B. Carpenter was a member of a
company-sized exploitation force infiltrated into enemy territory. On March
6, 1967, the company was in southern Savannakhet Province, Laos near the
border of South Vietnam when it made contact with an enemy force of unknown
size. In the ensuing battle, Carpenter was fatally wounded as he attempted
to assist other personnel who had been wounded.

Carpenter's remains were recovered by another teammember and it was
determined that he had died from the wounds he had received during the
firefight. Because of enemy pressure in the area, the company was forced to
leave Carpenter's remains behind as they sought a more secure position.

It was not possible to ever retrieve Carpenter's remains. He is listed with
honor among nearly 2500 Americans who remain unaccounted for from the war in
Vietnam. Carpenter's case seems clear enough, and although it is tragic that
this American hero cannot be buried in the soil for which he proudly fought,
his family at least knows with some certainty what happened to him.

Tragically, experts now believe, based on thousands of reports, that
hundreds of Americans did not die, but are still held prisoner in Southeast
Asia. Carpenter would not have left them behind. How can we?




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Sergeant Howard B. Carpenter, who joined the U.S. Army from Ohio, served with the Command and Control Detachment, Headquarters Company, 5th Special Forces Group. On March 5, 1967, he was a member of a Special Forces team aboard a CH-46 Chinook (tail number unknown) that crashed while attempting to insert the team in Laos. No one was killed or seriously injured in the crash, and the Special Forces team and helicopter crew established a defensive perimeter around the crash site. The next morning, they were attacked by an enemy force of unknown size. While attempting to recover wounded members of his group, SGT Carpenter was killed by enemy gunfire. His comrades covered his body with a poncho and hid it near the crash site in the vicinity of (GC) YD 180 036. The remainder of the Special Forces team and the helicopter crew were eventually rescued, but were unable to recover SGT Carpenter’s body at that time. Hostile presence in the area prevented further searches for SGT Carpenter’s remains, and subsequent attempts to locate them have been unsuccessful. Today, Sergeant Carpenter is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.  

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

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