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 Category: 4 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: AH1G Refno: 1774 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 1998. REMARKS: 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 path. 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 brought home.