HUMMEL, JOHN FLOYD
Name: John Floyd Hummel Rank/Branch: W1/US Army Unit: Troop B, 7th Squadron, 1st Cavalry, 164th Aviation Group Date of Birth: 10 August 1948 (Pecos TX) Home City of Record: Barstow TX Date of Loss: 06 March 1971 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 164204N 1063359E (XD670470) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 1 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: AH1G Refno: 1718
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.
Other Personnel in Incident: William P. Milliner (missing)
SYNOPSIS: On March 6, 1971, WO John F. Hummel, pilot, and WO William P. Milliner, co-pilot, were flying an AH1G Cobra helicopter gunship (serial #67-15464) as the wingman in a flight of two helicopters returning from a combat support mission over Laos. While in route, the weather turned hazy. At about 2000 hours, the wingman notified his troop's forward operation at Khe Sanh, South Vietnam, that both gunships were planning to use a ground control approach (GCA). That was the last radio contact with WO Hummel's aircraft.
The lead gunship contacted the Khe Sanh GCA and was told to climb to 5000 feet and make a left 360 degree turn to a heading of 020 degrees. The wingman was still with the lead aircraft at this time, but no radio contact could be established with him.
Shortly after, the GCA control informed the lead aircraft to turn to a heading of 070 degrees at 4000 feet. After a descending turn was initiated, WO Hummel's aircraft passed over the top of the lead aircraft. This separation occurred in the clear, and then the flight leader entered the cloud layer so no further visual sighting of WO Hummel's aircraft occurred. The lead aircraft landed safely.
Search and rescue efforts were begun for Hummel and Milliner, but had negative results. Hummel and Milliner were listed Missing in Action. Some years later, the Defense Intelligence Agency "rated" missing persons in Southeast Asia according to the degree of suspected enemy knowledge, using a scale of 1 to 5. Hummel and Milliner were classified "Category 1", meaning the U.S. had reliable information that the enemy knew the fate of Hummel and Milliner. Category 1 does not suggest whether an individual was alive or dead at the time this knowledge was obtained.
Another confusing aspect of the records of Hummel and Milliner is that the Defense Department classifies their loss as "non-hostile". This information does not seem to correlate with known enemy knowledge of their fates, unless reports were received that the two survived the crash of their aircraft only to stumble into enemy hands at a later time. Clarifying information is not available in public records.
Nearly 600 Americans were lost in Laos during the war in Vietnam. Although the Pathet Lao stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, Laos was not included in the negotiations ending American involvement in the war, and the U.S. has never negotiated for the freedom of these men since that time. Consequently, not one American held in Laos has ever been released.
No one saw Hummel and Milliner die after their aircraft disappeared into the clouds. As participants in missions over Laos, which were often classified and dangerous, they were undoubtedly warned that they could be killed or captured. They may not have dreamed they would be abandoned.
Louisville, KY Courier Journal January 29, 1998 By Sheldon S. Shafer The Courier Journal
County to fly POW flag; family says son is alive
A black-and-white prisoner of war flag will fly at the Jefferson County courthouse after the family of Army warrant officer William Milliner said they believe he remains alive and captive nearly 27 years after his chopper crashed in Laos.
"Our son is alive. We know where he is within 10 kilometers," Joe Milliner, the missing officer's father, said at a Fiscal Court meeting Tuesday.....