Name: Sanford Ira Finger
Rank/Branch: E6/US Army
Unit: US Army Element Vietnam Army-Air Force Regional Exchange (USA ELM
VRE), PACEX, US Army Headquarters Area Command (USAHAC), US Army, Vietnam
Date of Birth: 19 August 1942
Home City of Record: New York NY
Date of Loss: 26 October 1971
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 121301N 1091847E (CP165510)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Vehicle: CH47B
Refno: 1775

Other Personnel In Incident: Michael Lautzenheiser; Mickey Eveland; Thomas
Green; Albert Trudeau; Robert A. Nickol (all missing); Leonard G. Maquiling
(aircraft commander-remains recovered); three other non-crew aboard-bodies

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: Before dawn on the morning of October 26, 1971, Mickey Eveland was
awakened by his assistant platoon leader, G.J. Curry and told that he was
needed as crew chief for a resupply flight from Camp Holloway at Pleiku to
Cha Rang Valley and An Son.  SP4 Walia, the crew's usual crew chief had to
be present at a promotion board that day, so Mickey Eveland was selected to
fill in for him. Pvt. Green, gunner; WO Albert Trudeau, pilot; CWO Leonard
Maquiling, aircraft commander; SP5 Michael Lautzenheiser, the flight
engineer; were also awakened. The crew flew from the 52nd Aviation
Battalion, "Flying Dragons". Mickey had a hard time waking up, and Curry had
to return to reawaken him. Maquiling, the oldest of the crew, had just
turned 23; Trudeau had just turned 22. Eveland and Green were barely 19.
Mike was 20.

The CH47B, serial #66-19143, call sign Warrior 143, departed Camp Holloway
at 0750 that morning and arrived at An Son at 0900 hours after a stop at Cha
Rang Valley. While at An Son, the aircraft received further orders to fly to
Cam Ranh Bay with a stop at Tuy Hoa. The helicopter arrived at Tuy Hoa at
1115 hours and departed there at 1350 hours. Shortly after departure from
Tuy Hoa, Trudeau radioed that he had 10 people aboard and expected to arrive
at Cam Ranh Bay at 1420 hours. He had taken on 6 passengers for the flight,
Finger, Nickol, and three others. The weather was expected to worsen south
of Tuy Hoa, and the pilot was cautioned to contact Coastal Center for
weather conditions.

The last time anyone saw Warrior 143, it was near Nha Trang, headed south
into bad weather. Search and Rescue was initiated at 1555 hours. Between
October 27 and November 1, debris identified as being from 143 was found
washed ashore on Hon Tre island, just offshore from Nha Trang. The condition
of the debris recovered indicated that the aircraft had struck the water at
high speed. In all, four crew members' remains were found during the search
period. However, there was no sign of Eveland, Trudeau, Nickol, Green,
Finger or Lautzenheiser. An extensive search continued through November 9,
without success. In 1972, the missing crew members were declared Killed in
Action, Body Not Recovered.

An additional recovery attempt was made based on the possible sighting of
the wreckage of the aircraft on October 9, 1974. Two South Vietnamese scuba
divers spent 1 hour and 30 minutes each in an underwater search, but did not
locate the wreckage.
Hon Tre island was definitely Viet Cong territory and their junks plyed the
waters surrounding it at night. Veteran fighter pilots told the
Lautzenheiser family that, in spite of the seemingly dismal facts
surrounding the loss of 123, the presence of so many Viet Cong made it
possible that the crew of the helicopter could have been taken captive.

As the years passed, anguish for the families of the men missing on Warrior
143 only grew as thousands of reports flowed in relating to Americans still
held captive in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese appear, to many authorities,
to be holding the men against the day the U.S. will pay their promised
reconstruction aid. The U.S. firmly holds that it will not pay. Meanwhile,
nearly 2500 American families wait in limbo, and American heroes die in the
hands of a long-ago enemy, victims of a political war that, for them, will
not end.




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On October 26, 1971, a CH-47 Chinook (tail number 66-19143, call sign "Warrior 143") with five crew members and five passengers aboard left Tuy Hoa, South Vietnam, on a supply mission to Cam Rahn Bay, South Vietnam. The helicopter encountered inclement weather and lost radio communication before it crashed into the water off the coast of Nha Trang. Search and rescue missions recovered four bodies and retreived debris that washed ashore on Hon Tre Island. The other six men aboard the helicopter remain missing.

Staff Sergeant Sanford Ira Finger, who joined the U.S. Army from New York, served with the U.S. Army Element Vietnam, Army Air Force Regional Exchange, U.S. Army Headquarters Area Command. He was a passenger aboard the Chinook when it crashed, and his remains were not recovered. Staff Sergeant Finger 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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