Name: Dickie Waine Finley
Rank/Branch: E3/US Army
Unit: HHC, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
Date of Birth: 29 June 1947 (East Prairie MO)
Home City of Record: Sweet Springs MO
Date of Loss: 21 October 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 124615N 1075719E (ZV207135)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground
Refno: 1308

Other Personnel In Incident: SP4 Luther Anderson Ghahate, killed [American

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 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: On October 21, 1968, PFC Dickie Finley was the team leader of a
5-man Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) team operating in the vicinity
of Ban Me Thuot in Darlac Province, South Vietnam. The unit was based at
Kontum in South Vietnam. During the evening, PFC Finley reported enemy
contact and after expending their ammunition, the team withdrew to a pickup
zone to await a helicopter.

The enemy had previously given a false report on their position and marked
their location with red smoke. Finley radioed again for a pickup. The
extraction helicopter hovered over a shallow pond and began loading the team
members. Finley threw his rifle onboard and was helpint three team members
board the aircraft when it took off prematurely, leaving PFC Finley behind.
SP4 Ghahate was clinging to the skids until he fell off.

In the darkness, it was not immediately known that all the team members were
not aboard. One team member looked out and saw a man hanging on the
helicopter landing skid. He signaled the pilot, but when he looked again,
the man was gone. The pilot circled the area in search of the 2 missing men.
the search was terminated after 30 minutes because of darkness.

The following day a 3 day search was initiated by ground forces and
helicopter units. The body of Ghahate was recovered. He had been wounded and
it was believed that it was he who fell from the helicopter. No sign was
found of Finley.

The family was told by friends of Finley's that during the searches his
Lieutenant went back and found a Bible and flashlight in the fork of a tree,
indicating that some sort of marker had been placed for search teams. The
Army reports no evidence of this in their files. Another account, given by
Finley's wife states that Finley's strobe light was found wedged in the
branch of a tree.

Dickie Finley, according to friends, was a scrapper. He wouldn't give up
easily on anything. It's their feeling that if Dickie was not killed, he is
still fighting for his freedom.

Dickie W. Finley was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant during the
period he was maintained Missing in Action.




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On October 21, 1968, a five-man reconnaissance patrol from the U.S. Army 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, was on an operational mission in the area of Ban Me Thuot, Dac Lac Province, South Vietnam. During the evening, the patrol reported encountering an enemy force near their location. The patrol expended their ammunition then proceeded to a pick-up zone to await helicopter extraction. During extraction, only three members of the patrol were able to board the helicopter before it prematurely took off. In the ensuing confusion, personnel aboard the helicopter reported that a fourth man was able to grab onto the skid of the helicopter as it took off from the landing zone. The helicopter crew and members of the patrol attempted to pull the man on the skid into the cabin, but they could not, and he fell to the ground. Upon learning this, the extraction helicopter returned immediately to the location where it was believed he had fallen and searched for the two missing team members without success. An accompanying chase helicopter also joined the search, returning to the original landing zone from which the patrol had been extracted. U.S. forces searched the area for the next three days. On the second day, searchers found the body of one of the patrol members and the pack of another in a tree near the landing zone, in the vicinity of (GC) ZV 203 143.  The body was recovered but the missing fifth patrol member was never located.

Private First Class Dickie Waine Finley, who joined the U.S. Army from Missouri, served with the 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division. He was not rescued during the initial helicopter extraction, nor was his body recovered by the rescue team when they returned to the extraction site.  He remains unaccounted for. After the incident, the Army promoted PFC Finley to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSG). Today, Staff Sergeant Finley 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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