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
Category: 1
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: AH1G
Refno: 1718
m152.jpg (12680 bytes)

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
and handling.

This is a conversation with VHPA Historian Gary Roush 08/12/2006

Ken Davis <>

Gary Roush <>

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
  the clear
* 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.
    P CW3 MILLINER WILLIAM PATRICK BNR but don't know the source for labeling
    Milliner as a passenger.  That conflicts with TAGCEN and CACCFs.


Hi Ken,

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.


Hi, Gary...

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


Hi Ken,

You are right on the MOS.  Either way it does not change that we carry him
as a pilot in a Cobra.




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.

Over the years, historians, researchers and independent journalists have made a compelling case that, during the Cold War, thousands of U.S. POWs were moved among Soviet, Chinese and North Korean labor camps, where they toiled and died under the worst conditions.

Families of POWs and MIAs say the U.S. government has turned a blind eye to the plight of these men, even going so far as to sabotage their efforts at finding out what exactly happened to their loved ones.*

But Joe Milliner’s incredible story of his son, told at the June 20 meeting of the National Alliance of POW/MIA Families in Crystal City, Va., could change all of that. Documentation compiled by Milliner could finally force the country to come to terms with the fact that thousands of Americans were abandoned by the U.S.

There is confusion over what happened to Milliner’s son, U.S. Army Warrant Officer William P. Milliner, when the helicopter he was co-piloting disappeared on March 6, 1971. What is known is that William, who was 20 years old at the time, was the co-pilot on an AH1G Cobra helicopter gunship. He was returning from a combat support mission over Laos when he disappeared in cloudy weather.

The military reportedly dispatched a search-and-rescue team to locate William and the pilot of the helicopter, John F. Hummel. Tragically, the two were never located, and the Army eventually gave up looking for them. Over the years, the Milliner family has never given up hope that their son would be found. As with many families of missing soldiers, the U.S. military has been unhelpful, some would even say willfully obstructing honest inquiries into what happened to lost loved ones.

However, recent events have renewed the Milliner’s faith that William is alive and is being held in Southeast Asia against his will, possibly as a slave laborer. The first occasion came as a result of a classified document, which was given to Milliner by a source inside the Pentagon who is sympathetic to MIA-POW families.

The official document was dated Oct. 4, 1989, and reports of a Thai businessman who said U.S. citizens, including a “William P. Milliner,” are being held in a dangerous “no-man’s land” controlled by thugs and warlords in a mountainous region in Laos.

A Thai businessman said he could secure William’s release if the U.S. government were willing to pay a ransom. According to Milliner, U.S. officials shot down any discussion of a reward, effectively killing off any hopes of freeing the American.

Were it not for his friend at the Pentagon, Milliner said the classified account of the exchange between U.S. officials in Thailand and the unnamed businessman was slated to be archived for 50 years and would not be released—even to family members—until 2039.

Since that time, Milliner says that there have been sporadic sightings of his son, including another U.S. document that claims warlords were seeking only $1,800 for the release of his son.

But the most compelling piece of evidence arrived just last year in the form of a letter from a doctor who had been working in Cambodia. According to Milliner, the physician’s account proves to him that his son is still alive somewhere in the jungle.

In September 2007, Milliner says, he received an unsigned letter from someone claiming to be a physician working in Cambodia and Laos.

The doctor wrote that, in early September 2007, he had treated an American man with certain tell-tale wounds. The doctor said that the patient was suffering from a poor amputation of his arm. He also described certain scars that matched other sightings of William that the Milliners have collected over the years.

The doctor said he was unnerved by the extent of secrecy surrounding this patient. He had been driven through the jungle for what he described as a long time, and he was allowed to bring just a few medical instruments and medicine—but no assistants.

The doctor wrote that the guards kept a close watch over this patient. However, in a free moment, the man said in perfect English, punctuated by some Vietnamese, that he is an American being held against his will.

Milliner received that letter in September of last year. Since then, Milliner says he believes the doctor now fears for his life and has gone into hiding. Over the years, he says, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) have both undermined efforts to help Americans who are still being held against their will. McCain and Kerry have both weighed in against offering reward money for the release of U.S. citizens who may still be in captivity in Laos, Vietnam, China and North Korea, said Milliner.

*For more read Perfidy: The Government Cabal That Knowingly Abandoned Our POWs and Left Them to Die by Sgt. John Top Holland and Fr. Patrick Bascio. Softcover 225 pages. Price: $25 for one copy. $19 per copy for active and retired U.S. military. Order from AFP, 645 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 100, Washington, D.C. 20003. Call 1-888-699-NEWS toll free to charge. No S&H inside the U.S.

Christopher J. Petherick is AFP’s founding editor. He now runs BRANDYWINE HOUSE BOOKS & MEDIA, P.O. Box 638, Cheltenham, MD 20623. Toll free: 1-866-656-7583.

(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

Oct 12, 2009

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 3331 Taylorsville Rd. in Louisville , KY.   The funeral is 10:00 AM Friday October 16th at St. Pious.


Lynn O'Shea
Director of Research
National Alliance of Families
for the Return of America's Missing Servicemen
World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam - Gulf Wars - Afghanistan

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.
Joe's obituary follows.
MILLINER, JOSEPH E. "JOE," 90, of Louisville, peacefully passed on to our Heavenly Father Friday, May 18, 2012.

He was a graduate of Fern Creek High School, an Army Air Force World War II pilot and POW from 1941 - 1945 in Europe and North Africa. Joe was an active member of Rolling Thunder Chapter 4, Taskforce Omega and the American Legion, Shepherdsville, KY.

Joe was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Anna Milliner; son, Joseph "Ronnie" Milliner; brothers, Leo and Mark; and sisters, Pauline, Helen, Ellen, Loretta and Gertrude.

He is survived by his loving wife and best friend of 66 years, Mary Maxine Phillips Milliner; sons, John K. Milliner (Kris), CWO William P. Milliner (M.I.A., March 6, 1971, Vietnam) and Charles M. Milliner (Linda Chaney); daughter, Debra S. Marinis (Darren); daughter-in-law, Susan Milliner; grandchildren, Lisa Arvanites (Jimmy), Christy Sangali (Tom), Marcy O'Shea (Kevin), Heather Mivalez, Katie Drook, Jeanne Milliner, Macy Milliner and Tyson and Maxine Marinis; and great-grandchildren, Cassie, Brittany, Jacob, Amber, Sarah, Brooke, Sydney, Ava, Zoie, Lex, Abigail, Hunter and Harper.

His funeral service will be at noon Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at Highlands Family-Owned Funeral Home, 3331 Taylorsville Road with burial lead by Rolling Thunder/ Patriot Guard in Cave Hill Cemetery. Visitation will be 10 a.m. until time of service Tuesday at Highlands.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Rolling Thunder Chapter 4, P.O. Box 1295 Radcliff, KY 40159



Lynn O'Shea
Director of Research
National Alliance of Families
For the Return of America's Missing Servicemen
World War II + Korea + Cold War + Vietnam + Gulf Wars + Afghanistan

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.



Kelly Shehan invited you to Rolling Thunder KY5's event

Vietnam MIA Remembrance and Wreath Laying Ceremony


Sunday, March 3, 2019 at 2 PM


Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky


Vietnam POW​​MIA Remembrance and Wreath Laying Ceremony for Chief Warrant Officer William Patrick Milliner US Army Born: 12 August 1950 - Louisville KY 1968 Graduate of Trinity High School and a...

Kelly Shehan and Suzanne Hoff Ogawa are going.






Return to Service Member Profiles

On March 6, 1971, an AH-1G Cobra (serial number 67-15464) with two crew members was one of two helicopters on a combat mission over enemy targets in Laos. On the return flight, amid poor weather conditions, the Cobra radioed ahead to its ground station at Khe Sanh, Vietnam, and was then seen disappearing into a dense cloud bank. The helicopter never emerged from the clouds, and the ground station lost all radio and radar contact with the aircraft. Immediate searches were conducted but were unsuccessful in locating a crash site. Following the war, investigators eventually located the crash site; however, the remains of neither crew member could be located or identified. 

Warrant Officer 1 William Patrick Milliner entered the U.S. Army from Kentucky and served in Troop B, 7th Squadron, 223rd Aviation Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division. He was the copilot of this Cobra when it went missing on March 6, 1971, and he was not located following the incident. He remains unaccounted-for. Following the incident, the Army promoted WO1 Milliner to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 3 (CWO3). Today, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Milliner 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.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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