Name: Dennis Ray Christie
Rank/Branch: E3/US Marine Corps
Unit: 3rd Recon Company, 3rd Recon Battalion, 3rd Marine Division
Date of Birth: 11 August 1946
Home City of Record: Imperial Beach CA
Date of Loss: 11 June 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 165454N 1065530E (YD048689)
Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: CH46A
Refno: 0734

Other Personnel In Incident: Charles D. Chomel, Curtis R. Bohlscheid; John
J. Foley; Jose J. Gonzales; Thomas M. Hanratty; Michael W. Havranek; James
W. Kooi, Jim E. Moshier; John S. Oldham; James E. Widener (all 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.
NETWORK 2003 - see sources below.  2020


SYNOPSIS: On 11 June 1967, 1LT Curtis Bohlscheid was the pilot of a CH46A
helicopter inserting a seven-man Marine Force Recon team into a
predesignated area 11 1/2 nautical miles northwest of Dong Ha, South Vietnam
-- right on the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). A total of four aircraft were
involved in the mission, two CH46's and two UH1E helicopter gunships.
Bohlscheid flew the lead aircraft. His crew included MAJ John S. Oldham,
LCPL Jose J. Gonzales (crew chief), and PFC Thomas M. Hanratty (crew chief).

Members of the 3rd Recon Company, 3rd Recon Battalion, 3rd Marine Division
who were being inserted were CPL Jim E. Moshier, LCPL Dennis R. Christie,
LCPL John J. Foley III, LCPL Michael W. Havranek, LCPL James W. Kooi, PFC
Charles D. Chomel, and PFC James E. Widener.

The flight departed Dong Ha at about 11:15 a.m. and proceeded to the
insertion location. The gunships made low strafing runs over the landing
zone to clear booby traps and to locate any enemy troops in the area. No
enemy fire was received and no activity was observed. The lead aircraft then
began its approach to the landing zone. At an estimated altitude of 400-600
feet, the helicopter was observed to climb erratically, similar to an
aircraft commencing a loop. Machinegunmen had been waiting for the opportune
time to fire on the aircraft. Portions of the rear blades were seen to
separate from the aircraft and a radio transmission was received from the
aircraft indicating that it had been hit. The helicopter became inverted and
continued out of control until it was seen to crash by a stream in a steep

Subsequent efforts by ground units to reach the crash area failed due to a
heavy bunker complex surrounding the site. The ground units inspected the
site from within 500 meters through binoculars and observed no survivors.
All eleven personnel aboard the helicopter were therefore classified Killed
In Action, Body Not Recovered. Other USMC records indicate that the
helicopter also burst into flames just prior to impacting the ground.

For the crew of the CH46A lost on June 11, 1967, death seems a certainty.
For hundreds of others, however, simple answers are not possible. Adding to
the torment of nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in
Southeast Asia is the certain knowledge that some Americans who were known
to be prisoners of war were not released at the end of the war. Others were
suspected to be prisoners, and still others were in radio contact with
would-be rescuers when last seen alive. Many were known to have survived
their loss incidents, only to disappear without a trace.

The problem of Americans still missing torments not only the families of
those who are missing, but the men who fought by their sides, and those in
the general public who realize the full implication of leaving men
unaccounted for at the end of a war.

Tragically, many authorities believe there are hundreds of Americans still
alive in captivity in Southeast Asia today.  What must they be thinking of
us? What will our next generation say if called to fight if we are unable to
bring these men home from Southeast Asia?

Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 19:41:17 -0500
From: Jerry Ostapowicz <>
USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Pilots
Subject: Comments on Sommersail 1 Team

INCIDENT DATE 670611 HMM-265 CH-46A 150270+ EP-158

Hanratty, Thomas Michael PFC CrewChief HMM-265 670611
Gonzalez, Jose Jesus LCPL Gunner HMM-265 670611
Bohlscheid, Curtis Richard CAPT Aircraft Commander HMM-265 670611
Oldham, John Sanders MAJ Copilot HMM-265 670611

Chomel, Charles Dennis PFC Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611
Christie, Dennis Ray LCPL Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611
Foley III, John Joseph LCPL Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611
Havranek, Michael William LCPL Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611
Kooi, James Willard LCPL Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611
Moshier, Jim Edwin CPL Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611
Widener, James Edward PFC Pass 3rdForceRecon 670611

BOHLSCHEID CURTIS RICHARD : 078631 : USMCR : CAPT : O3 : 7562 (H-46) : 30 :
POCATELLO : ID : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Crew : body NOT recovered
: Quang Tri :08 : 19361209 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 21E : 091
CHOMEL CHARLES DENNIS : 2268368 : USMCR : PFC : E2 : 0311 : 19 : COLUMBUS :
IN : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger (3rdForceRecon) : body NOT
recovered : Quang Tri :00 : 19470823 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 21E :

CHRISTIE DENNIS RAY : 2234699 : USMCR : LCPL : E3 : 7141 : 20 : IMPERIAL
BEACH : CA : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger(3rdForceRecon) :
body NOT recovered : Quang Tri :01 : 19460811 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single
: 21E : 087

FOLEY JOHN JOSEPH III : 2253524 : USMCR : LCPL : E3 : 0311 : 20 : PLAINFIELD
: NJ : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger(3rdForceRecon) : body NOT
recovered : Quang Tri :00 : 19470611 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 21E :

GONZALEZ JOSE JESUS : 2018669 : USMCR : LCPL : E3 : 6341 : 22 : EL PASO : TX
: 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Crew : body NOT recovered : Quang Tri
:04 : 19440626 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 21E : 088

HANRATTY THOMAS MICHAEL : 2217895 : USMCR : PFC : E2 : 6311 : 20 : BEULAH :
CO : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Crew : body NOT recovered : Quang Tri
:01 : 19460619 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 21E : 089

HAVRANEK MICHAEL WILLIAM : 2231606 : USMCR : LCPL : E3 : 0311 : 19 :
MISSOULA : MT : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger(3rdForceRecon) :
body NOT recovered : Quang Tri :00 : 19480530 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single
: 21E : 089

KOOI JAMES WILLARD : 2245916 : USMCR : LCPL : E3 : 3516 : 18 : FRUITPORT :
MI : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger(3rdForceRecon) : body NOT
recovered : Quang Tri :01 : 19481118 : Cauc : Roman Catholic/single : 21E :

MOSHIER JIM EDWIN : 2242254 : USMCR : CPL : E4 : 0311 : 23 : BAKERSFIELD :
CA : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger(3rdForceRecon) : body NOT
recovered : Quang Tri :04 : 19430803 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 21E : 091

OLDHAM JOHN SANDERS : 067132 : USMCR : MAJ : O4 : 7562 (H-46) : 33 : TINNIE
: NM : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Crew : body NOT recovered : Quang
Tri :16 : 19330703 : Cauc : Protestant/married : 21E : 091

: NY : 19670611 : hostile, crash, land : Passenger(3rdForceRecon) : body NOT
recovered : Quang Tri :00 : 19481112 : Cauc : Protestant/single : 21E : 093

Comments on Incident:
3rd Force Recon Company - TEAM SOMERSAIL ONE:
Sgt. Jim E. Moshier, LCpl. James E. Kooi, LCpl. Michael W. Havranek, LCpl.
John J. Foley, LCpl. Dennis R. Christie, Pfc. Charles D. Chomel, Pfc. James
E. Widener
On 11 June 1967 a seven man Recon Team "Somersail-One" from 3rd Force left
Dong Ha for an insertion LZ at YD 041681. This LZ was directly on the
southern boundary of the DMZ . This area was four kilometers north of Hill
208 which was identified, during Operation Hastings in July 66, as the
Division Command Post for the 324B NVA and 900 meters west of Hill 174,
another well known NVA position.

The Flight left Dong Ha at 11:15hrs. A total of four Helicopters were
involved. Two CH 46A's and two UH1E gunships. As the insertion helicopter
was approaching the LZ it snapped up vertically and then rolled inverted
tumbling end over end and crashed. It was seen spiraling out of control and
the rear blades were seen separating. The helicopter crashed then burst into
flames. The bodies of the men lost were never recovered and they are listed
today as KIA/BNR. Summary taken from 3rd Recon narrative. Submitted by John
Lane. [The UH-1E gunship crews were eyewitnesses to the crash and indicated
no enemy action evident - suspect mechanical failure. Aircraft burned upon
impact with full load of fuel - no survivors possible.]

Comments on Incident:
I don't know where to start, except to say that the day Dick [Bohlscheid]
went down still echoes in my soul. I was lead of the section of the [VMO-2]
gunships which escorted Dick's recon insert. We briefed early in the
morning. Dick was mission command; he briefed. He was nervous for no reason
I could understand. I knew him from the time we were flight instructors
together in VT-2, Unit 4, at Whiting. I remember so clearly those recon
Marines outside the briefing hootch, there faces covered with camouflage
paint, but uneasy also.

As I remember and have remembered forever, Dick tried to insert the team
somewhere west of the China Wall, got shot out; we returned to Dong Ha;
rebriefed, refueled, went somewhere almost at the base of the China Wall,
shot out again. Dong Ha, refueled, rebriefed again. Then ordered to insert
that team, period. I guess there was suspicion of pressure, heavy pressure,
from the north.

This time we tried just northwest of Dong Ha. I think this was right. I
looked at my log book and find that I have three flights that day, the first
for a 3.9, the second for a 1.0, and the third, a 0.3. I remember clearing
the zone and seeing nothing, nor experiencing any fire. It was a terrible
day at that point, and I was relieved. I called Dick in clear and turned to
escort him on his port side.

As he transitioned to landing speed, in almost slow motion his nose rose,
then rose more sharply, then climbed toward the vertical. Then the a/c
rolled inverted, split S, and dived down and exploded. To this day, I will
never forget, can never forget, that Dick keyed the mic at about the time he
was inverted and started to say something, but what came out was a strangled
cry, "Mama." Then it was over.

Sorry to get emotional, but this event, this tragedy, was and is the
apotheosis of Vietnam to me. Dick was such a gentle man. God bless him, and
all who went with him. For a long time, Dick's name was not on the Wall,
because, I guess, he was still MIA, but it is now, and I have touched it.

Submitted by Hank Trimble, VMO-2 gunship escort




Return to Service Member Profiles


On June 11, 1967, a CH-46 Sea Knight (bureau number 150270) took off as lead helicopter in a flight of four (one other CH-46 and two UH-1 Iroquois) on an insertion mission to land a patrol of Marines in hostile territory north of Cam Lo, Quang Tri Province. Twelve miles west of Dong Ha, Quang Tri Province, the CH-46 took enemy small arms fire while at low altitude, causing it to crash and burn. Personnel in other helicopters in the flight believed that there could have been no survivors. Searchers repeatedly attempted to reach the crash site over the next two weeks but enemy forces prevented them from doing so until June 30, when they found no evidence of survivors and no remains. 

Lance Corporal Dennis Ray Christie, who joined the U.S. Marine Corps from California, served with the 3rd Force Reconnaissance Company, 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. He was aboard the CH-46 when it crashed on June 11, 1967, and he was lost with the aircraft. His remains could not be recovered at the time of loss, and later searches failed to locate his remains. Today, Lance Corporal Christie 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.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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