LANCASTER, KENNETH RAY

Name: Kenneth Ray Lancaster
Rank/Branch: SP4/US Army
Unit: Headquarters & Headquarters Company, LRRP, 9th Infantry Division
Date of Birth: 24 June 1946 (Washington DC)
Home City of Record: Silver Springs MD
Date of Loss: 03 January 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 122655N 1085844E (BP804769)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H
Refno: 0961

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.

Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: SP4  Kenneth R. Lancaster was a team leader assigned to
Headquarters & Headquarters Company Long Range Reconnaissance Platoon (LRRP)
of the 9th Infantry Division. On January 3, 1968, Lancasters LRRP team was
being extracted by helicopter from a designated pickup point in Khan Hoa
Province, South Vietnam, near the city of Duc My.

About one minute after takeoff, a member of the team saw SP4 Lancaster
hanging onto the right skid of the aircraft as the aircraft continued to
gain altitude. The pilot was informed and requested to land. When it became
evident that the pilot was not able to land due to rough terrain, immediate
efforts were made to lower a rope. However, before the rescue attempt could
be made, Lancaster fell from the skid of the aircraft while the helicopter
was at an altitude of 1000 to 1500 feet above the ground.

The area in which Lancaster fell had heavy vegetation and a triple canopy
jungle, creating a slim possibility that the trees and heavy vegetation may
have broken Lancaster's fall to some degree. The area was searched that day
and again on January 7 and January 8 by American and indigenous platoons
without success.

Efforts to conduct a thorough search were limited because no one was able to
pinpoint the precise location where Lancaster fell, and the area was under
heavy enemy patrol. It was felt that there was a very high probability that
the enemy knew the fate of SP4 Lancaster, alive or dead.

Kenny is one of nearly 2500 Americans still missing, prisoner or unaccounted
for in Southeast Asia. Reports relating to these Americans continue to
mount, and many authorities believe there are hundreds still alive in
captivity today. The Vietnamese deny knowledge of Americans in Southeast
Asia, and the U.S. Government only acknowledges the "possibility" that some
remain.

It would be nothing short of miraculous if Kenny Lancaster survived falling
1000 feet into the jungle, but his family cannot mourn until it is known for
certain that he is dead. They know someone has the answers. It is
devastating to consider that he may have survived to know he was abandoned
to the enemy.

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01/2020

https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt00000001UdhEAE

SFC KENNETH RAY LANCASTER

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Specialist 4 (SP4) Kenneth Ray Lancaster entered the U.S. Army from Maryland and served with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol, 9th Infantry Division. On January 3, 1968, he was the team leader of a reconnaissance patrol being extracted by helicopter from their designated pick-up point in South Vietnam. About a minute after takeoff, SP4 Lancaster was seen hanging from the helicopter's right landing skid. The pilot was informed and attempted to land, but rough terrain precluded a safe landing. A rope was lowered to SP4 Lancaster, but he lost his grip on the skid before he could be pulled aboard and fell into the jungle below. Multiple attempts to locate SP4 Lancaster after he fell were unsuccessful, and he remains unaccounted for. Following the incident, the Army promoted SP4 Lancaster to the rank of sergeant first class. Today, Sergeant First Class Lancaster 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 Deferred.

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