MILLINER, WILLIAM PATRICK
|Name: William Patrick Milliner
Rank/Branch: W1/US Army
Unit: Troop B, 7th Squadron, 1st Cavalry, 164th Aviation Group
Date of Birth: 12 June 1950
Home City of Record: Louisville KY
Date of Loss: 06 March 1971
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 164204N 1063359E (XD670470)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
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: John F. Hummel (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
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.
[milliner .98 03/01/98]
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......
Note: Joseph Milliner, father of William, was captured and held prisoner of
war during WWII. In October of 1998, Joe's book, "The Angel and the Eagle"
was released. The book is loaded with POW/MIA documentation. Both paperback
($19.95) and hardback (24.95) are available. Send checks to Mr. J. Milliner,
281 Fincastle Way, Shepardsville, KY 40165. Please add $4.00 for shipping
This is a conversation with VHPA Historian Gary Roush 08/12/2006
Ken Davis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Gary Roush <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: VHPA-Aircraft Incident 67-15464, MIA's
This is real bizarre case, aircraft disappears in fog, apparently on GCA
and then is seen heading back toward Laos by the lead craft. Crashes
Bill, unless the above is stated in Hummel's family's paperwork it's not
what happened - at least not according to the VHPA summary. For simplicity,
let's term the two AH-1s as "Lead" and "Wing".
The VHPA Summary says the two aircraft "WERE PROVIDING SUPPORT FOR THE
EXTRACTION OF A DOWNED AIRCREW IN LAOS". There was a SAR effort underway
about 15 NM west of Khe Sanh on 06 Mar ... don't know who started it, but a
1st SOS Skyraider (A-1H 52-139734) was shot down during it. Pilot 1stLt C L
Tipton was picked up by USAF SAR helo. No further word on the initial SAR
target, though. However -
* The two aircraft presumably were in formation or whatever passed for a
combat spread in AH-1s when they departed station for Khe Sanh.
* Lead calls a radio frequency change to GCI freq. Summary IMPLIES but
does not explicitly state that Wing responded ("THIS WAS THE LAST RADIO
CONTACT" Lead had with Wing to me implies a response from Wing).
* GCI directs climb to 5000' and 020 heading.
* Aircraft attain that altitude and heading and are in formation in
* At undefined position GCI directs a descending right turn to 4000' heading
* Lead complies but Wing does not.
* Lead notes Wing passing overhead, maintaining altitude and heading
* Lead enters undercast, shoots GCI, lands.
* Nobody knows nothing about Wing.
In short, nobody saw Wing after Lead entered the undercast, and at that time
Wing was heading 020 degrees (north-northeast) at approx 5000' going toward
the DMZ. Further, nobody had radio contact with him after the frequency
shift to GCI freq.
I've never even contemplated a GCI run into Khe Sanh, although I eyeballed
it often enough going to and from Laos. The geometry indicates the aircraft
were being brought in from the west or southwest. The initial 020 heading
turning to 070 sounds like a cut to intercept extended base leg followed by
a descending turn to base leg preparatory to a further right turn to final
heading down the valley to the east of the airfield (the valley ran NW-SE,
although the runways weren't parallel to the valley axis).
If all that makes sense, what you end up with is Wing trucking along 020
toward the DMZ for some indefinite period of time. What he might have done
after that seems to be pure speculation.
I've both brought home, and been brought home while in, "no radio" aircraft
and durned if that's not what this evolution sounds like to me. What I
don't understand, though, is why * Lead did not verify radio comms with Wing
*after* the freq change (that's SOP in the dark-blue-suit world, as are
missed-comm procedures) * Why, when Lead saw Wing obviously missing the
boat, Lead didn't take immediate action to rejoin on Wing but rather just
went on his merry way (dark-blue-suit SOP is that Lead is responsible for
the flight, not just his own butt) and/or * Lead didn't start hollering on
all available radios and/or communicate the problem to GCI *before* getting
on the ground (that's called common sense everywhere) Personally, I wouldn't
want to have (much less be) a Lead so blase about a Wingie who is obviously
having a problem.
As to qualifications...
* TAGCEN lacks MOS for both crewmen
* CACCF lacks MOS for Hummel, says Milliner was 100E ("Attack Helicopter
* TAGCEN shows Hummel as "pilot/operator", Milliner as "copilot" -
i.e., both crewmen. 1993 and 2003 CACCFs concur.
* VHPA says AC CW3 HUMMEL JOHN FLOYD BNR
P CW3 MILLINER WILLIAM PATRICK BNR but don't know the source for labeling
Milliner as a passenger. That conflicts with TAGCEN and CACCFs.
The confusion on Milliner is because he was not AH-1G rated and was sent to
the unit by mistake. He volunteered to fly this mission because they were
short of pilots. There was also a belief, which was incorrect, that he was
also not helicopter rated. This is probably what led to the designation of
passenger. In any case, he was helicopter rated so the passenger
designation is wrong.
Won't get too much argument out of me ... I don't know. I will again note
that the 1993 and 2003 CACCFs claim he was a "100E", which I thought was an
You are right on the MOS. Either way it does not change that we carry him
as a pilot in a Cobra.
SHOCKING REVELATION: U.S. POWS STILL IN LAOS
AFP & others have said it for years; now proof emerges U.S. soldiers still held in Southeast Asian camps
By Christopher J. Petherick
There is new evidence that American GIs are
being held against their will in Southeast Asia more than three decades
after the Vietnam War officially ended. A letter recently received by the
father of a U.S. pilot, who went missing in action in 1971, could provide
a key piece of information that proves American prisoners of war are alive
and imprisoned in remote areas of South Vietnam.
(Issue # 27, July 7, 2008)
Not Copyrighted. Readers can reprint and are free to redistribute - as long as full credit is given to American Free Press - 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 100 Washington, D.C. 20003
The National Alliance of Families mourns the passing of Ron Milliner, brother of POW/MIA William Milliner. To Ron’s wife, Susan and his parents Joe and Mary, we offer our deepest sympathy.
Visitation will be Wednesday, from 4 - 8 PM, and Thursday from 12 - 8 P.M. at the Highland Funeral Home on
It is with deep sadness we report the passing of Joe Milliner, father of POW/MIA William P. Milliner. Joe, a POW during World War II, his wife Mary and their daughter-in-law Susan worked tirelessly to bring Billy home and were fixtures at Alliance meetings over the years. To Mary, Susan and the entire Milliner family we offer our deepest sympathy.
The National Alliance of Families mourns the passing of Mary Milliner, mother of POW/MIA William Milliner and widow of the late Joseph Milliner a former POW from World War II.
Mary's obituary follows.
Mary Maxine Milliner
(Died October 25, 2012)
MILLINER, Mary Maxine, 86 of Louisville, peacefully passed away on, Thursday, October 25, 2012.
Born in Owensboro, KY she was a homemaker.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 66 years, Joseph E. “Joe” Milliner; son, Joseph “Ronnie” Milliner; brother, Pete Phillips; parents, George & Mary Phillips; and undetermined, a son, CWO William P. Milliner (P.O.W., M.I.A. March 6, 1971, Vietnam).
Mary is survived by her sons, John K. Milliner (Kris) and Charles M. Milliner (Linda Chaney); daughter, Debra S. Marinis (Darren); daughter-in-law, Susan Milliner; sister, Sue Miller; 9 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; and 1 great-great-grandchild.
A short prayer service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, October 29, at Highlands Funeral Home, 3331 Taylorsville Road, with burial immediately following in Cave Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, at Highlands.