Accounted for 2008

Name: Bobby Lyn McKain
Rank/Branch: W2/US Army
Unit: A Troop, 1st Squad, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division
Date of Birth: 11 February 1946 (Wichita KS)
Home City of Record: Garden City KS
Date of Loss: 03 May 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 163736N 1063605E (XD685382)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: AH1G
Refno: 1155

Other Personnel In Incident: Arthur F. Chaney (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990 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 2020.


SYNOPSIS: On the afternoon of May 3, 1968, CWO Bobby McKain, pilot, and WO
Arthur Chaney, co-pilot, were flying aboard an AH1G helicopter on an armed
escort mission for a reconnaissance team operating west of Khe Sanh. At
about 1405 hours, while making a pass on an enemy gun position, they were
hit by 37mm anti-aircraft fire from the gun emplacement and the helicopter
exploded in mid-air. They were about 1500 feet above the ground when the
explosion occurred, separating the tail boom and one main rotor blade from
the aircraft.

The aircraft spun to the ground on fire and impacted, and seconds later, the
ammunition onboard detonated. Other pilots in the area immediately flew to
the site and observed the aircraft engulfed in flames with no visible signs
of life. Shortly thereafter, they were driven from the area by other heavy
automatic weapons fire. Air searches were made, but revealed no signs of the
crew. No radio contact was made.

Because of the close proximity to enemy positions, Chaney and McKain's fates
were almost certainly known by the enemy. The Army holds out no hope they
survived, but believes that their cases may someday be resolved.

Chaney and McCain are among nearly 2500 unresolved deaths or disappearances
of Americans in Southeast Asia. Tragically, thousands of reports indicate
that many of these cases involve Americans still alive and held captive by
the communist countries of Laos and Vietnam. Chaney and McCain would not
have left their comrades in the hands of the enemy. How can we?


July 17, 2008


            The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

            They are Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bobby L. McKain, of Garden City, Kan. ; and Warrant Officer Arthur F. Chaney, of Vienna , Va. , both U.S. Army.  McKain will be buried on Aug. 11 in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington , D.C. , and Chaney will be buried Sept. 16 in Arlington .

            Representatives from the Army met with the next-of-kin of these men to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.

            On May 3, 1968, these men flew an AH-1G Cobra gunship on an armed escort mission to support a reconnaissance team operating west of Khe Sanh, in Quang Tri Province , South Vietnam .  Their helicopter was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire, exploded in mid-air and crashed west of Khe Sanh near the Laos-Vietnam border.  The crew of other U.S. aircraft flying over the area immediately after the crash reported no survivors, and heavy enemy activity prevented attempts to recover the men’s bodies.

            In 1985, an American citizen with ties to Southeast Asian refugees turned over to U.S. officials human remains supposedly recovered from an AC-130 aircraft crash in Laos .  While subsequent laboratory analysis disproved the association of the remains to the AC-130 crash, some of the remains were those of McKain and Chaney. 

Between 1989 and 2003, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) investigative teams working in Laos and Vietnam made five attempts to locate the crew’s crash site, but could not confirm the location.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in identifying the remains.

            For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at or call (703) 699-1169.


CJ SAYS Honoring a soldier gone before his time
Tasley Eastern Shore News
He put the bracelet on my wrist, squeezed it tight, and he asked me to never forget the name engraved there. I am looking at that POW-MIA bracelet right now ...




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On July 17, 2008, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) identified the remains of Chief Warrant Officer 2 Bobby Lyn McKain, missing from the Vietnam War.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 McKain entered the U.S. Army from Kansas and served with Troop A, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. On May 3, 1968, he piloted an AH-1G Cobra (tail number 66-15332) with a crew of two on an armed escort mission to support a reconnaissance team operating west of Khe Sanh in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. The helicopter was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire, exploded in midair, and crashed near the Laos-Vietnam border, killing CW2 McKain. Enemy activity prevented attempts to recover CW2 McKain's remains at the time. However, between 1989 and 2003, investigative teams working in Laos and Vietnam collected human remains from the crash site and used modern forensic technology to identify the remains of CW2 McKain.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 McKain is memorialized in the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

If you are a family member of this serviceman, you may contact your casualty office representative to learn more about your service member.