Name: Joseph Rose III
Rank/Branch: Warrant Officer/United States Army, pilot
Unit: 58th AVN DET
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Morganstown WV
Date of Loss: 08 February 1968
Country of Loss: SVN
Loss Coordinates: 164425N  1071955E
Status (in 1973):
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1D

Other Personnel in Incident: Lenker, Michael, returnee; Purcell, Benjamin,
returnee; Chenoweth, Robert, returnee; Ziegler, Roy "Dick", returnee;
George, James Edward, missing

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK 02 March 1997 from one or more of the
following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with
POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews, "Love & Duty", by Ben and
Anne Purcell.

REMARKS: 03/27/73 Released by PRG

The 101st Airborne Division had a new battalion just outside of Quang
Tri City. "Charlie" was everywhere around the city. Radio contact was
yet to be established with logistics. A single band radio needed to be
delivered there ASAP. Colonel Pen Purcell was the executive commander of
the 80th General Support Group and deputy commander of the Dan Nang
Sub-Area Command. Purcell decided to hand carry the radio on their way
to Dong Ha to check on other troops.

Warrant Officer Joe Rose was flying the UH-1 "Huey" and Warrant Officer
Dick Ziegler was his copilot. The crew chief was SP/4 Robert Chenoweth,
and SP/4 Mike Lenker was the door gunner. Pfc. James E. George, a
refrigeration mechanic from Purcell's command, sat in the jump seat.

Purcell handed the radio he had come to deliver to Capt Drake. Private
George, the refrigeration mechanic, hurried over to repair the disabled
reefer truck, which was his mission on this trip.

Captain Drake and his commo sergeant got in their jeep and drove off. As
Purcell started back toward the helicopter, he saw that the two pilots
and Chenoweth had a panel raised and were looking at something.

One of the radios was out and they could not fly back up through the
overcast skies without it. They had to cancel the rest of the trip up to
Dong Ha.

Rose turned the helicopter toward the southeast and headed toward the
coast. They were flying about three hundred feet or so above the
ground - not high enough to be out of range of small-arms fire.

Suddenly Warrant Officer Ziegler turned toward Purcell and shouted,
"We're being fired on!" His next message was, "We're on fire!"

The helicopter gave a sudden lurch and then the inside flared brightly
with an orange light. Only seconds after the first round hit, the fire
was already hot just forward of the transmission housing in the center
of the passenger compartment of the helicopter. Private George and
Col. Purcell were sitting on the outside seats as far away from the heat
as it was possible to be.

The helicopter made a sweeping turn to the right and toward the ground
trailing fire and smoke. Rose fought to control the helicopter and to
land it as quickly as possible.

The helicopter hit hard and the tips of the rotor blades dug into the
ground and broke as they struck a large granite monument. The helicopter
was ripped to shreds by the ground impact and the flailing rotor blades.

George, Chenoweth, Lenker, and Purcell loosened their seat belts and
jumped out, but the pilot and copilot couldn't get out through their
respective doors. They were trapped in their seats by the "chicken
plates," as the aircrews humorously called the armor shields installed
between them and their doors. The door gunner ran to the front doors and
slid the panels back so Rose and Mr. Ziegler could get out. By the
time he opened their doors, though, the pilots had already butted their
way through the windshield.

Ziegler was hit in the leg. George ran back to the ship to recover his
M-14 rifle, which was lying on the floor between the pilots' seats.
He drove right into the middle of the flames and the fire engulfed him
instantly. Lenker and Purcell had to reach in and drag him out. Flames
had licked at George's hands and face, and his skin there was hanging in

Lenker and Purcell had a hold of George and they half-carried and
halfdragged the badly burned young soldier away from the burning
helicopter. Ziegler was limping badly, his leg was bleeding, and George
was in great pain and groaning softly.

Soon after, the crew was surrounded by twelve Viet Cong. Realizing they
had no chance to fight with few weapons and ammunition, the crew

As the VC forced them to move, the injured George asked Ben Purcell to
pray. The VC soon put an end to the prayers -- Purcell was forced to
move off and a shot was heard. James E. George was believed executed
that day. His remains have never been found.

In 1992, Ben and Anne Purcell wrote a love story entitled "LOVE & DUTY" --
the remarkable story of a courageous MIA family and the victory they won
with their faith. This short biography was written with information from
their book.

SOURCE: WE CAME HOME  copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
spelling errors).
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO

CWO 2 - United States Army
Shot Down: February 8, 1968
Released: March 5, 1973

Very briefly, I was  shot down on 8 February 1968 while piloting a UH-1
helicopter from Dong Ha to Da Nang, South Vietnam. Within an hour of being
shot down I was captured along with the rest of my  crew and passengers.

We were moved first into the jungle covered mountains of South Vietnam and
later into North Vietnam where we spent 4 1/2  out of our 5 years of prison

During my time as a prisoner, I found that contrary to what some people might
think, the time was not wasted. Instead, this time served as a period of
thought. We had very little in the material sense as POWs, but we were still
able to think,  and that we did. We thought about every subject that can be
imagined and some that are hard to imagine. Personally, I feel that being in
the situation that I was in has done me more good than harm.

The one single thing that did me the most  good was seeing the way that a
group of men ranging in age from 18 to 42, in rank from Pfc. to Lt. Colonel,
and covering all major races and most religions, could not only work together
but live together also. All of us were part of the team not by choice but by
the pure chance of being captured. All of us were not even Americans.

Perhaps with all of the troubles in our world today, it might be a good idea
to think about this for a little while. It's not easy to get along with
everybody. In order to do it, everybody  has to try.

I would like to say a few words to all of the people who have thanked me and
all of the POWs. I would like to thank all of them for standing behind us
while we were prisoners and now that we are home. Your support helped us over
there and it's still helping us now. Thank You.
Joseph and his wife Donna reside in West Virginia.