GOEGLEIN, JOHN WINFRED
Remains returned 03/95
Name: John Winfred Goeglein
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Unit: 40th Aerospace Rescue/Recovery Squadron, Udorn Airfield, Thailand
Date of Birth: 30 July 1930
Home City of Record: Kirkwood MO
Date of Loss: 30 June 1970
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 165004N 1063104E (XD617617)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel In Incident: Michael F. Dean; Paul L. Jenkins; Marvin E. Bell;
Leroy C. Schaneberg (missing); on nearby OV10A: Williams S. Sanders (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 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 June 30, 1970, a crew from the 40th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery
Squadron at Udorn Airfield, Thailand was dispatched to rescue a downed flight
crew. Crew aboard the Sikorsky HH53C "Super Jolly" helicopter included the
pilot, Capt. Leroy C. Schaneberg, crewmembers Major John W. Goeglein, MSgt. Paul
L. Jenkins, SSgt. Marvin E. Bell, and SSgt. Michael F. Dean.
The members of the 40th Air R & R were trained for both air and sea recovery,
and the big "Super Jolly" was equipped to airlift both the crew and aircraft out
of sticky situations.
The downed and injured pilot was located in Savannakhet Province, Laos, about
two kilometers south of Bang Tang. The HH53C penetrated the area, known to be
hostile, in an attempt to rescue the pilot, but was forced away by hostile
ground fire. A second attempt was made, but the helicopter was hit by hostile
fire, caught on fire, went out of control and crashed. The Air Force states it
received evidence on July 4, 1970, that the crew was dead, but that evidence is
not specifically described, and no remains identifiable as Bell, Dean, Goeglein,
Schaneberg, or Jenkins have been recovered. Schaneberg received the Air Force
Cross for extraordinary heroism as the aircraft commander on this rescue
On the same day, Capt. Williams S. Sanders was flying an OV10A Bronco southeast
of Khe Sanh at a point where Laos veers north to intrude on South Vietnam. His
aircraft was shot down just inside Laos, not far from the location of the downed
helicopter. The Bronco was generally used for marking targets, armed
reconnaissance and forward air control, so the nature of Capt. Sanders' mission
and its precise relation to the mission of the Super Jolly from Udorn is
unknown. The crew of the helicopter was numerically listed missing before the
OV10, so it is does not seem likely that the helicopter was assisting the
observation aircraft, but as no other aircraft is missing on that day in that
area, either the downed pilot was Sanders or the pilot was rescued by other
Unfortunately, for families of men missing in Laos, information is difficult to
obtain. Twenty and twenty-five year old records remain classified and details
obscured. Much of this information was classified to distort American
involvement in a now well known "secret" war in Laos.
Since the war's end in 1973, thousands of reports have been received by the U.S.
Government regarding Americans still in captivity in Southeast Asia. Many of the
reports involve Americans in Laos, where nearly 600 Americans went missing, and
none released despite public statements by the Pathet Lao that "tens of tens" of
Americans were being held there.
Henry Kissinger predicted, in the 50's, that future "limited political
engagements" would result, unfortunately, in nonrecoverable prisoners of war. We
have seen this prediction fulfilled in Korea and Vietnam, where thousands of men
and women remain missing, and where ample evidence exists that many of them
(from BOTH wars) are still alive today.
For Americans, the "unfortunate" abandonment of military personnel is not
acceptable, and the policy that allows it must be changed before another
generation is left behind in some faraway war.
Remains were returned 03/95 as "120 bone fragments which cannot be
degregated, fragments too small for DNA testing as it would "destroy the
chips", a dental prostheses, a St. Christopher's medal, coins, buttons, etc.
They say the fragments represent a minimum of one person, a maximum of two
people, yet they feel this is a full accounting of five men who served
our government..." FROM a letter to the Editor, Rochelle News
Leader, March 30, 1995, by Dawn Wyatt, niece of Leroy C. Schaneberg.