Name: John Douglas Hale
Rank/Branch: O2/US Army
Unit: Troop B, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division
Date of Birth: 07 December 1942 (Louisville KY)
Home City of Record: Brandenburg KY
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: Robert E. Grantham (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: 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.





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On March 8, 1971, an OH-6A Cayuse (tail number 67-16645) with two crew members took part in an armed reconnaissance mission over Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, along with two other helicopters. During the mission, the helicopters received enemy ground fire, and this OH-6 was hit and crashed in the vicinity of grid coordinates YD 199 129, exploding on impact. One of the other helicopters made two attempts to examine the crash site, but on both attempts, the crew saw no sign of survivors before the helicopter was driven away by intense enemy fire. The enemy presence in the area prevented insertion of a ground search team, and both members of the crew were lost in the crash.

First Lieutenant John Douglas Hale, who entered the U.S. Army from Kentucky, served with Troop B, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. He was the pilot of this OH-6 at the time of its loss. His body was not recovered and he remains unaccounted for. Today, First Lieutenant Hale 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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