Remains Returned 07/19/01
Name: John Benedict Nahan III
Rank/Branch: E3/US Marine Corps
Unit: A Company, 3rd Recon Battalion, 3rd Marine Division
Date of Birth: 20 June 1945
Home City of Record: Allegan MI
Date of Loss: 03 August 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 160622N 1072247E (YC545820)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: CH46A
Refno: 0784
Other Personnel In Incident: Thomas A. Gopp; Jack Wolpe; James P. McGrath
(all missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 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.
SYNOPSIS: In early August, 1967, a nine-man team from A Company, 3rd
Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division began a night reconnaissance
patrol in the A Shau Valley that was spotted by a Montagnard tribal woman
and child, who alerted a nearby North Vietnamese unit.
North Vietnamese troops slowly surrounded the Marine patrol and another that
had joined it, trapping them for two days in hopes of luring a helicopter
The following day (August 3), the first of two helicopters arrived and
loaded some men from the patrols, but was hit by a bazooka shell and crashed
during takeoff. The pilot was killed by small-arms fire. The nine passengers
were believed to have perished, but all of their bodies could not be
recovered because of hostile fire.
John Nahan and Jack Wolpe were passengers aboard the aircraft. They were two
of the A Company Reconnaissance patrol. Thomas Gopp was crewchief of the
helicopter. James McGrath was a U.S. Navy hospital corpsman attached to H &
S Company accompanying the Recon team. These four were listed as Killed in
Action, Body Not Recovered (KIA/BNR).
The men of the CH46A shot down on August 3, 1967 are listed with honor among
the missing because no remains were found. Their cases seem quite clear. For
others who are listed missing, resolution is not as simple. Many were known
to have survived their loss incident. Quite a few were in radio contact with
search teams and describing an advancing enemy. Some were photographed or
recorded in captivity. Others simply vanished without a trace.
Reports continue to mount that we abandoned hundreds of Americans to the
enemy when we left Southeast Asia. While the men aboard the CH46 may not be
among them, one can imagine their proud willingness to fly one more mission
to help bring them to freedom.
UPDATE LINE: July 31, 2001
Thank you for calling the National League of Families Update Line.  This
message is being recorded Monday, July 31st.  According to the Department of
Defense, there are now 1,957 Americans missing and unaccounted for from the
Vietnam War.
This morning, the League was informed that two Americans, initially listed
as MIA on January 21, 1968, are now accounted for.  The remains of US Army
Reserve Warrant Officer 2nd Class William Kimsey and his co-pilot, a US
Marine, were jointly recovered in North Vietnam on January 1, 1998.
On July 19th, the League learned that five Americans whose remains were
jointly recovered in South Vietnam were also identified.  The remains of
one, a KIA/BNR on October 6, 1969, were jointly recovered on November 20,
2000, but his family requested that his name not be publicly announced.  The
other four were lost on August 3, 1967, and their remains were jointly
recovered on June 8, 1994.  Their names are Corporal Thomas A. Gopp, USMC,
of OH, Seaman James P. McGrath, USN, of IL, Lance Corporal John B. Benedict,
III, USMC, of MI and Corporal Jack Wolpe, USMC, of NY.
John B. Benedict should read John Benedict Nahan III.