Name: Dennis Michael Rattin
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: 131st Aviation Company, 212th Aviation Battalion, 16th Aviation Group
Date of Birth: 15 July 1950 (Kankakee IL)
Home City of Record: Bradley IL
Date of Loss: 16 October 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 190000N 1033000E (UF380690)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: OV1C
Refno: 1502

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: Lawrence R. Booth (missing)


SYNOPSIS: Capt. Lawrence R. Booth was the pilot and SP4 Dennis M. Rattin the
observer aboard an OV1 Mohawk aircraft assigned a surveillance mission over
hostile territory on October 16, 1969. (NOTE: records vary as to the model
OV1 Booth and Rattin were on. Defense and JCRC records record the C model,
and U.S. Army records the B model. Both were equipped for night surveillance
- the B using side-looking radar, and the C using infrared detection

The aircraft departed its base in late evening on October 16, and was to
return later that night. The mission was tracked on radar to its mission
area, but at about 1015 hours, the pilot radioed that he was returning to
base. That was the last contact received from the aircraft.

The 131st Aviation Company was known as "Nighthawks", and was a surveillance
aircraft company. The 131st had been assigned to I Corps Aviation Battalion
since June 1966, when it arrived in Vietnam. In August 1967, the 131st
Aviation Company was reassigned to the 212th Aviation Battalion where it
remained until July 1971, whereupon it transferred out of Vietnam. When the
131st/212th was under the authority of the 16th Group, it also provided
fixed wing support for the 23rd Infantry Division (Americal) in I Corps.

There were a large number of pilots lost from this unit, including Thaddeus
E. Williams and James P. Schimberg (January 9, 1966); John M. Nash and Glenn
D. McElroy (March 15, 1966); James W. Gates and John W. Lafayette (April 6,
1966); Robert G. Nopp and Marshall Kipina (July 14, 1966); Jimmy M. Brasher
and Robert E. Pittman (September 28, 1966); James M. Johnstone and James L.
Whited (November 19, 1966); Larry F. Lucas (December 20, 1966); and Jack W.
Brunson and Clinton A. Musil (May 31, 1971). Missing OV1 aircraft crew from
the 20th/131st represent well over half of those lost on OV1 aircraft during
the war.

The location of the mission Rattin and Booth were assigned to is classified,
as are their complete files relating to the loss incident. The coordinates
given for Booth locate the loss in Borikhane Province, Laos near the Nam
Nhiep River, and about 70 miles northeast of the capitol city of Vientane.
His coordinates are fairly specific. Rattin's coordinates are generalized,
but also place the loss in the same 70 miles radius of Vientiane, only north
northeast, and in Xiangkhoang Province, Laos.

Rattin's coordinates place the loss only about 30 miles south of the Plain
of Jars, a region heavily infiltrated by communist troops. It is plausible
that their mission was over this highly contested and "hot" area. There are
many possibilities as to the reason this plane was in south central Laos.
This is NOT the normal area of operations for the 131st, and while many of
its aircraft were lost in Laos, most were lost along the eastern edge of the
country. Their primary arena of operations were in I Corps (the northernmost
5 Provinces of South Vietnam).

Full scale searches were conducted the next day for Booth and Rattin and
their aircraft, but with no results. The two were classified missing in

Booth and Rattin are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. The
Pathet Lao continually stated that they held American prisoners, but
insisted that they would be released only from Laos. The U.S. Government
refused to negotiate with the Pathet Lao, a "government" they did not
recognized, and as a consequence, no American held in Laos was ever
released. Further, no negotiations for these men have occurred since the war
ended, even though the U.S. and communist Lao exchange diplomats on a
charge' level.

As thousands of reports continue to flow in regarding the men missing in
Southeast Asia, one must wonder if Booth and Rattin are among the hundreds
thought to be still alive. Doubtless their qualification for such a
classified mission prepared them for the danger. They were prepared to be
wounded or to die. They understood that they could be captured. But the
thought that they would be abandoned by their country probably never crossed
their minds.





Return to Service Member Profiles

On October 16, 1969, an OV-1C Mohawk (tail number 64-14242, call sign "Spud 26") with a crew of two departed Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base on a night reconnaissance mission over Laos. When the Mohawk began its return trip to base, the pilot contacted Airborne Command and Control to give his position and reported that he was en route to the Thailand-Laos border. Five minutes later, the relief Command and Control aircraft requested a radio check but heard no response from "Spud 26". The Mohawk never returned to base. Aerial searches located a possible crash site and the remains of a parachute, but search and rescue efforts were unable to locate any sign of either crewmember. Both crew members remain unaccounted for. 

Specialist Four (SP4) Dennis Michael Rattin, who joined the U.S. Army from Illinois, served with the 131st Aviation Company, 212th Aviation Battalion, 16th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade. He was a technical observer aboard the Mohawk when it crashed, and his remains were not recovered. Subsequent to the incident, and while carried in the status of missing in action (MIA), the U.S. Army promoted Specialist Four Rattin to the rank of Staff Sergeant (SSG). Today, Staff Sergeant Rattin is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

Service member profile discrepancy? Please help us ensure the accuracy of each profile by submitting documentation about a service member profile.