GRANTHAM, ROBERT EUGENE Name: Robert Eugene Grantham Rank/Branch: E4/US Army Unit: Troop B, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division Date of Birth: 09 December 1951 Home City of Record: Los Angeles CA Date of Loss: 08 March 1971 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 162319N 1070333E (YD199129) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: OH6A Refno: 1721 Other Personnel in Incident: John D. Hale (missing) 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: On March 8, 1971, 1Lt. John D. Hale, pilot, and Cpl. Robert E. Grantham, observer, were on board an OH6A helicopter (serial #67-16645) on an armed reconnaissance mission with an AH1G Cobra gunship and a UH1A helicopter as a control ship. The OH6A aircraft was attempting to start a fire on a hilltop by dropping incinerary grenades. When 1Lt. Hale's aircraft later made a pass over the area to see if the fire had started, it began receiving ground fire. The crew of the AH1G gunship saw the ground fire and engaged a target while instructing Hale to break away. Lt. Hale called after he broke away, "I'm taking fire from 3 o'clock." The AH1G gunship then broke away from the first source of gunfire to engage the second. At that time both the OH6A and AH1G pilots reported taking fire. In the next radio transmission, Hale's OH6A reported that he was hit and was going down, and asked if he was in sight. The AH1G gunship did see him and called the UH1H control ship to confirm the sighting, but the control ship could not spot Hale's aircraft. The gunship began dropping white phosphorous grenades to help illuminate the area of Hale's aircraft. At the time Hale called that he was going down, his aircraft seemed to come apart and begin spinning, as if it had a tail rotor failure. Numerous objects were flying out of the aircraft while it was spinning. The spinning slowed at about 500 feet above the ground, but increased again prior to impact. The aircraft exploded upon impact with the ground. The chase control ship went over the crash site and hovered there, looking for survivors, but due to the intense enemy fire, it had to leave the area. The control ship returned, but saw no survivors on either hover. The largest part of the aircraft that could be seen was what appeared to be the left engine door. An electronic search was unsuccessful. No ground search was possible because of the intense enemy activity. Hale and Grantham went down in an area so hot that no one could go in for them. Because of this, the U.S. believes there is a strong probability that the Vietnamese know exactly what happened to them and to their aircraft. By 1973, aerial photographs revealed no sign of the aircraft; presumably, the aircraft parts had been salvaged by villagers or soldiers. What of the crew? Thousands of reports have been received concerning Americans still alive in Southeast Asia. Clearly, the Vietnamese have a lot of information they are not revealing. Hale and Grantham are prisoners of war - dead or alive.