NICKOL, ROBERT ALLEN Name: Robert Allen Nickol Rank/Branch: E5/US Army Unit: Headquarters & Headquarters Troop, 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade, Camp Holloway, Pleiku RV Date of Birth: 08 July 1951 (Wilkes-Barre PA) Home City of Record: Bethlehem PA Date of Loss: 26 October 1971 Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water Loss Coordinates: 121301N 1091847E (CP165510) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 5 Refno: 1775 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 1998. Other Personnel In Incident: Michael Lautzenheiser; Mickey Eveland; Thomas Green; Albert Trudeau; Sanford I. Finger (all missing); Leonard G. Maquiling (aircraft commander-remains recovered); three other non-crew aboard-bodies recovered. REMARKS: CRASHES-4 REMS FND-NOT SUBJS SYNOPSIS: Before dawn on the morning of October 26, 1971, Mickey Eveland was awakened by his assistant platoon leader, G.J. Curry and told that he was needed as crew chief for a resupply flight from Camp Holloway at Pleiku to Cha Rang Valley and An Son. SP4 Walia, the crew's usual crew chief had to be present at a promotion board that day, so Mickey Eveland was selected to fill in for him. Pvt. Green, gunner; WO Albert Trudeau, pilot; CWO Leonard Maquiling, aircraft commander; SP5 Michael Lautzenheiser, the flight engineer; were also awakened. The crew flew from the 52nd Aviation Battalion, "Flying Dragons". Mickey had a hard time waking up, and Curry had to return to reawaken him. Maquiling, the oldest of the crew, had just turned 23; Trudeau had just turned 22. Eveland and Green were barely 19. Mike was 20. The CH47B, serial #66-19143, call sign Warrior 143, departed Camp Holloway at 0750 that morning and arrived at An Son at 0900 hours after a stop at Cha Rang Valley. While at An Son, the aircraft received further orders to fly to Cam Ranh Bay with a stop at Tuy Hoa. The helicopter arrived at Tuy Hoa at 1115 hours and departed there at 1350 hours. Shortly after departure from Tuy Hoa, Trudeau radioed that he had 10 people aboard and expected to arrive at Cam Ranh Bay at 1420 hours. He had taken on 6 passengers for the flight, Finger, Nickol, and three others. The weather was expected to worsen south of Tuy Hoa, and the pilot was cautioned to contact Coastal Center for weather conditions. The last time anyone saw Warrior 143, it was near Nha Trang, headed south into bad weather. Search and Rescue was initiated at 1555 hours. Between October 27 and November 1, debris identified as being from 143 was found washed ashore on Hon Tre island, just offshore from Nha Trang. The condition of the debris recovered indicated that the aircraft had struck the water at high speed. In all, four crew members' remains were found during the search period. However, there was no sign of Eveland, Trudeau, Nickol, Green, Finger or Lautzenheiser. An extensive search continued through November 9, without success. In 1972, the missing crew members were declared Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered. An additional recovery attempt was made based on the possible sighting of the wreckage of the aircraft on October 9, 1974. Two South Vietnamese scuba divers spent 1 hour and 30 minutes each in an underwater search, but did not locate the wreckage. Hon Tre island was definitely Viet Cong territory and their junks plyed the waters surrounding it at night. Veteran fighter pilots told the Lautzenheiser family that, in spite of the seemingly dismal facts surrounding the loss of 123, the presence of so many Viet Cong made it possible that the crew of the helicopter could have been taken captive. As the years passed, anguish for the families of the men missing on Warrior 143 only grew as thousands of reports flowed in relating to Americans still held captive in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese appear, to many authorities, to be holding the men against the day the U.S. will pay their promised reconstruction aid. The U.S. firmly holds that it will not pay. Meanwhile, nearly 2500 American families wait in limbo, and American heroes die in the hands of a long-ago enemy, victims of a political war that, for them, will not end.