Name: Lester Alan Hansen
Rank/Branch: W2/US Army
Unit: 170th Aviation Company, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade
Date of Birth: 01 July 1942 (Durango CO)
Home City of Record: Pueblo CO
Date of Loss: 13 August 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 141512N 1074200E (YA912773)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1C
Refno: 1481
Other Personnel in Incident: (none 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 2020.


SYNOPSIS: CW2 Hansen was the pilot of a UH1C on a reconnaissance team
insertion mission on August 13 1969. The team was to be inserted at a LZ in
southern Kontum Province, South Vietnam at a point where the Sang Sung River
turns sharply to the east.

As the helicopter approached the landing zone in the lead position, it was
struck with small arms fire and crashed. Another helicopter in the flight
immediately responded and began extracting the crew. Small arms fire caused
the rescue helicopter to take off early, and CW2 Hansen was not able to get
aboard. However, he did grab the skid, but as the aircraft gained altitude,
CW2 Hanson was unable to maintain his grip and fell about 100-500 feet.

Extensive air and ground searches were conducted for the next 4 days without
revealing any trace of CW2 Hansen. He was listed Missing In Action. Hansen's
family knew there was a possibility that he had survived to be captured, and
waited for the war to end.

When the war ended, and 591 Americans were released from communist prison
camps, Lester A. Hansen was not among them. He was one of roughly 3000
Americans who were not accounted for.

Twenty years after he fell from the helicopter skids, the number of missing
has decreased due to the return of remains and resolution of cases, to under
2500. Hansen has never been found.

While the "number" of men missing has decreased, an alarming increase in
reports has escaped Vietnam of Americans still alive and captive there. Many
authorities believe that there are hundreds of Americans still prisoner.
Whether Lester A. Hansen is among them is unknown. What is certain, however,
is that as long as there is even one American being held against his will,
we owe him our best efforts to bring him home.





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Chief Warrant Officer 2 Lester Alan Hansen entered the U.S. Army from Colorado and was a member of the 170th Helicopter Assault Company, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade. On August 13, 1969, he was the pilot of an UH-1H Iroquois that crashed on its approach to a mission landing zone at (GC) YA 904 797 in Kon Tum Province, South Vietnam. He survived the crash and another helicopter on the flight moved in to rescue CW2 Hansen and his crew; however, small arms fire forced the rescue helicopter to take off before CW2 Hansen was securely aboard. He managed to grab the landing skid, but as the aircraft gained altitude, CW2 Hansen lost his grip and fell into thick foliage. Search efforts failed to locate him after he fell, and he remains unaccounted for. Following the incident, the Army promoted CW2 Hansen to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CW3). Today, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Hansen 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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