Name: Stephen Chavira
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: Company B, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division
Date of Birth: 10 March 1943 (Baker's Field CA)
Home City of Record: Wasco CA
Date of Loss: 28 May 1971
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162100N 1070818E (YD284087)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: OH6A
Refno: 1750
Other Personnel in Incident: Paul D. Urquhart (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 2020.


SYNOPSIS: Capt. Paul D. Urquhart, pilot and SP4 Stephen Chavira, observer, were
the crew of an OH6A helicopter on a visual reconnaissance mission in the
northern A Shau Valley in Thua Thin Province, South Vietnam. The OH6A and a
UH1A were chase ships for two AH1C gunships on this mission.

During an area recheck, while at an altitude of 30 feet above ground level, one
of the gunship commanders saw a rocket propelled grenade round strike Capt.
Urquhart's aircraft and explode, causing the tail boom to bend in half. The
aircraft was seen to explode into flames, crash and burn on a small knoll.

An area about 25 meters around the crash site was burned off by the ensuing
fire, thus permitting an accessible view by aerial reconnaissance over the area
after the crash. None of the witnesses reported seeing anyone thrown clear of
the helicopter during the mid-air explosion or during the crash. No remains or
survivors were seen after the crash.

No ground search was conducted due to enemy activity in the area. On June 7,
reconnaissance of the area was conducted during which the investigating officer
saw no signs of survivors or remains.

According to witnesses, Urquhart and Chavira are most probably dead.
Tragically, their families have no graves holding their bodies to visit. Their
remains are on enemy soil, and not buried in their homeland. Even more
tragically, evidence mounts that hundreds of Americans are still alive, held
captive in Southeast Asia. What must they be thinking of us? What would Paul
Urquhart and Stephen Chavira think of us?




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On May 28, 1971, an OH-6A Cayuse (tail number 67-16670) carrying two crew members took off as one of four aircraft on a visual reconnaissance mission in the northern A Shau Valley, Thua Thien Province, South Vietnam. During an area recheck, one of the other pilots on the mission saw a rocket-propelled grenade round strike the Cayuse, causing the aircraft's tail boom to bend and double. The aircraft exploded and crashed and burned on a small knoll at grid coordinates YD 284 087. None of the witnesses reported seeing anyone thrown clear of the helicopter during the mid-air explosion or the ensuing crash. No ground search was conducted due to the enemy activity in the area, and aerial searches failed to locate any signs of survivors or the crew's remains.

Specialist 4 Stephen Chavira entered the U.S. Army from California and was a member of Troop B, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. He was the observer aboard the OH-6 and was lost with the aircraft when it crashed. His remains were not recovered. After the incident, the U.S. Army promoted Specialist 4 Chavira to the rank of Specialist 5. Today, Specialist 5 Chavira 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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