GARRETT, MAURICE EDWIN JR.
Name: Maurice Edwin Garrett, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O3/US Army
Unit: Troop A, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division
Date of Birth: 17 April 1946 (Sharon PA)
Home City of Record: Mercer PA
Date of Loss: 22 October 1971
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 163701N 1065442E (YD033383)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: Danny A Cowan (killed, remains recovered)
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: Maurice E. Garrett Jr. wanted to fly from the time he was four
years old. He accomplished this goal by learning to fly in the private
sector. Garrett entered the U.S. Army in May, 1966, and steadily advanced
through the ranks and completed Military Police training. Later he graduated
from officer training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. Receiving his commission as a
2nd Lieutenant in August 1967, Garrett was in Vietnam by November for his
first tour of duty.
During his first tour, Garrett was a paratrooper. He was wounded three times
during this tour and received three purple hearts, a Silver Star, and other
decorations. He was also promoted to 1st Lieutenant.
Upon completion of his tour, Garrett was selected tor flight training and
trained on the Huey Cobra gunship, and promoted to the rank of Captain. In
December 1970, he returned to Vietnam as the commander of the helicopter
squadron, Troop A, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division.
On October 22, 1971, Capt. Maurice E. Garrett, Jr., pilot and 1Lt. Danny A.
Cowan, co-pilot/gunner, were aboard an AH1G helicopter (serial #67-15752) as
part of a "Hunter-Killer" team consisting of two AH1G helicopters, one OH6A
and one UH1H.
The team departed Quang Tri and proceeded west on an armed visual
reconnaissance mission. Capt. Garrett instructed the flight to hold on the
eastern side of a ridge line while he continued westward into a valley to
check weather that appeared marginal for team operations.
About one minute after entering the valley, Garrett reported the weather to
be about 200 feet overcast, and continued his weather assessment flight.
About 5 minutes from the time he was last seen, Garrett reported that he was
in the cloud and would return to Quang Tri on instruments. He gave
instructions for the rest of the flight to stay clear of his intended flight
Shortly afterwards, the aircraft apparently struck trees and continued for a
short distance before crashing. The aircraft impacted and exploded with such
force that the only large identifiable aircraft part that was found was a
vertical fin with part of the serial number. Some parts of the cockpit
section could be identified, but all were badly burned, smashed and
scattered by the explosion.
1Lt. Cowan's remains were found after a ground search was conducted of the
area. As no trace of Capt. Garrett was found, it was determined that he was
killed in the crash, and his body completely destroyed upon impact and
explosion. However, the thorough search failed to reveal any trace of
Maurice E. Garrett--no helmet, no watch, no dentures, no boot
eyelets--nothing at all.
Even though the Garrett family was given three separate versions of the loss
of their loved one, for years they were given hope that he could have
survived. Then in 1984, the Garrett family received word from a private
source that their son was still alive. They were among eight families who
were so notified. According to the U.S. this information is false, but the
Garretts are not so sure. And in the back of their minds remains the seeming
uncertainty surrounding the loss as indicated by the Army's three versions.
Whether Garrett survived is unknown. For some of his comrades, however,
there is ample reason for hope. Mounting evidence indicates that hundreds of
Americans were abandoned as prisoners of war at the end of the war and
remain in captivity today. For the honor of those who died in Southeast Asia
as well as the honor of our country itself, those live Americans must be