Name: Kevin O'Brien
Rank/Branch: O2/US Army
Unit: HHC, 2nd Battalion, 94th Artillery, 108th Artillery Group
Date of Birth: 30 August 1946 (Bronx, NY)
Home City of Record: Farmingville NY
Date of Loss: 09 January 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162816N 1070200E (YD170220)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O1G # 5059
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: Hugh M. Byrd (missing)
SYNOPSIS: Kevin O'Brien was born in the Bronx on August 30, 1946. He also
lived for a time in Farmingville, New York. The blue-eyed, brown-haired
O'Brien, one of four siblings whose parents were deceased, attended
Tottenville High School and later Bronx and Suffolk County community
O'Brien attended Officers Candidate School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and was a
First Lieutenant when he was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters
Company, 2nd Battalion, 94th Artillery in Vietnam.
On January 9, 1969, Capt. Hugh Byrd, pilot, and 1Lt. Kevin O'Brien,
observer, were on a visual reconnaissance mission over the Khe Sanh area of
South Vietnam in an O1G Bird Dog aircraft, tail #51-5059. Byrd's aircraft
flew from the 200th Aviation Company, 212th Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation
Brigade. O'Brian's job as observer from HHC, 2nd Battalion, 94th Artillery,
was to identify artillery targets. The plane diverted to assist a
reconnaissance team that was in enemy contact in the Khe Sanh area.
After aiding the team and being relieved by another aircraft, Byrd headed
his plane back to Phu Bai. The weather was bad and the pilot reported at
1940 hours that that he was lost and the weather was worsening. The aircraft
was not equipped to fly instrument in meteorlogical conditions. Dong Ha and
other radar controllers tried to get a fix on the Bird Dog, and were able to
maintain constant radio contact, but were able only to get an imprecise
location. Based on the direction the aircraft told them it was flying, the
radar station advised it to climb because of mountains in the area. No
further transmissions were heard.
Numerous searches were initiated following the disappearance of the
aircraft, but were broken off after a few days due to weather conditions.
When searches were resumed when the weather cleared, they failed to locate
any wreckage. Byrd and O'Brien were declared Missing In Action.
In August 1975, in the presumed crash area, a refugee reported seeing 2
downed U.S. aircraft which he described as one F5 jet and one L19. He was
told that 2 Americans on the L19 were killed and buried 1 kilometer from the
crash. The Army feels this report could possibly relate to Byrd and O'Brien.
(The O1 was formerly known as L19.)
Many authorities believe, based on thousands of refugee reports, that
hundreds of Americans are still alive, held captive in Southeast Asia. If
Byrd and O'Brien are among them is unknown. Dead or alive, they are in enemy
hands. It's time to bring these men home.
Major Kevin O'Brien
Friday, January 9, 2009 – 12 Noon
Refreshments in the Blue Room
On January 9, 1969 in Quang Tri, South Vietnam a 23-year-old Mount Loretto graduate gave his life in defense of our country.
Kevin O'Brien was officially listed as missing in action after a plane he was in presumably crashed into a mountain when attempting to assist a reconnaissance team that was engaged in combat.
Numerous searches were initiated following the disappearance of
the aircraft, but were broken off after a few days due to weather
conditions. When the weather cleared and searches were resumed, they
failed to locate any wreckage in the remote, triple-canopy jungle area.
Byrd and O'Brien were declared Missing In Action (MIA). In August 1975,
in the presumed crash location, a refugee reported seeing 2 downed
Beginning in 1990, then Staten Island Borough President Guy V.
Molinari and Congresswoman Susan Molinari began an aggressive effort to
The US Department of Defense POW/MIA Office conducted a series of
searches in the suspected crash area in 1993, 1999 and 2000.
The results of excavations revealed parts of the aircraft (a
serial number was confirmed), and other debris. Also recovered was the
lower-half of a ball-point pen indicating “Bravo Battery, 2nd
Battalion…,” a unit of the 94th Artillery.
An artillery collar insignia was also recovered. Unfortunately,
no DNA evidence has been found to date.