Remains Returned 12/09/99
Name: Jon Eric Reid
Rank/Branch: W1/US Army
Unit: 48th Aviation Company, 223rd Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Brigade
Date of Birth: 10 December 1948 (Washington DC)
Home City of Record: Phoenix AZ
Date of Loss: 20 February 1971
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 162721N 1062748E
Status (In 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1C
Refno: 1708
Other Personnel In Incident: Robert J. Acalotto; Randolph L. Johnson; David M.
May (all missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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. NETWORK 2000 with an article from the Vietnam Helicopter
Pilots Assocication Newsletter.
SYNOPSIS: Lam Son 719 was a large-scale offensive against enemy
communications lines which was conducted in that part of Laos adjacent to
the two northern provinces of South Vietnam. The South Vietnamese would
provide and command ground forces, while U.S. forces would furnish airlift
and supporting fire.
Phase I, renamed Operation Dewey Canyon II, involved an armored attack by
the U.S. from Vandegrift base camp toward Khe Sanh, while the ARVN moved
into position for the attack across the Laotian border. Phase II began with
an ARVN helicopter assault and armored brigade thrust along Route 9 into
Laos. ARVN ground troops were transported by American helicopters, while
U.S. Air Force provided cover strikes around the landing zones.
During one of these maneuvers, W1 Jon E. Reid was was flying a UH1C
helicopter (serial #66-700) with a crew of three - 1Lt. David M. May,
co-pilot, SP5 Randall L. Johnson, crew chief, and SP4 Robert J. Acalotto,
door gunner - on a mission providing gun cover for an emergency resupply
mission about 20 miles southeast of Sepone, Laos. The aircraft was hit by
hostile fire and crashed.
When the helicopter landed, it was upright on its skids, with the tail boom
broken off and the right aft burning. Witnesses stated that it was certainly
a "survivable crash." Two people were seen exiting the aircraft on the right
side, running towards nearby trees. Witnesses noted that the left pilot door
was jettisoned and that both forward seats were empty. Several attempts were
made to rescue the downed crew, but were unsuccessful because of heavy enemy
fire. The 1st ARVN Division was to assist in a ground rescue attempt, but
the tactical situation changed before the infantry could reach the area, and
the unit had to be pulled out. No contact with the crew was ever established
after the crash.
According to information received by his family, John Reid was known to have
been captured and was seen alive by other U.S. POWs in March of that same
year, again in May and once in June. Whether the rest of the crew was
captured is unknown. When the POWs were released in 1973, Reid was not among
them, nor was the rest of the crew. The communist governments of Southeast
Asia claim no knowledge of the fate of the crew of the UH1C that went down
February 20, 1971.
Proof of the deaths of May, Reid, Acalotto and Johnson was never found. No
remains came home; none was released from prison camp. They were not blown
up, nor did they sink to the bottom of the ocean. Someone knows what
happened to them.
Were it not for thousands of reports relating to Americans still held
captive in Southeast Asia today, the families of the UH1C helicopter crew
might be able to believe their men died with their aircraft. But until proof
exists that they died, or they are brought home alive, they will wonder and
How long must they wait before we bring our men home?
David M. May was promoted to the rank of Captain, Jon E. Reid to the rank of
Chief Warrant Officer, Randolph L. Johnson to the rank of Sergeant First
Class, and Robert J. Acalotto to the rank of Staff Sergeant during the
period they were maintained missing.
    No. 188-M
The remains of four American servicemen previously unaccounted-for from the
Vietnam war have been identified and are being returned to their families
for burial in the United States.
They are identified as Navy Capt. Norman E. Eidsmoe, Rapid City, S.D.; Navy
Lt. Cmdr. Michael E. Dunn, Naperville, Ill.; Army Capt. David May,
Hyattsville, Md.; and Army Chief Warrant Officer Jon E. Reid, Phoenix, Ariz.
On Jan. 26, 1968, Eidsmoe and Dunn were flying a night low-level bombing
mission over North Vietnam off the carrier USS Ranger.  Approximately 30
minutes after takeoff, their A-6A Intruder disappeared from the carrier's
radar, as expected.  Accordingly, they radioed that they were six minutes
from the target, but no further radio contact was heard.  The plane did not
return to the carrier, and a search and rescue mission was initiated, but
without results.
In 1992 and 1993, four separate investigations led a U.S.-Vietnamese team to
a Vietnamese farmer who described the crash, gave investigators a pilot's
flight bag with Dunn's name inscribed, and described his burial of some
remains in an unmarked grave.  Then in 1997, a joint team conducted an
excavation in a flooded rice paddy, where they recovered remains and
pilot-related items.  Another team continued the excavation in 1998 where
they recovered additional materials.
On Feb. 20, 1971, May and Reid were flying their UH-1C Huey helicopter on an
emergency resupply mission over Laos when they were hit by enemy ground fire
and crashed.  A search and rescue mission was repulsed by hostile fire.
In 1994, 1996 and 1998, U.S. and Lao investigators interviewed villagers in
the area of the crash, then initiated an excavation which recovered human
remains as well as portions of an identification tag with the name "May,
David M."  Analysis of the remains and other evidence by the U.S. Army
Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii confirmed the identification of
each of these four servicemen.
The U.S. government welcomes and appreciates the cooperation of the
governments of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Lao People's
Democratic Republic that resulted in the accounting of these servicemen.  We
hope that such cooperation will bring increased results in the future.
Achieving the fullest possible accounting for these Americans is of the
highest national priority.
From - Mon Jan 10 10:43:52 2000
      Tim Koors/The Arizona Republic
By Dave Walker
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 9, 2000
The helicopter gunship, hit by furious fire, went down hard in the Laotian
jungle with four soldiers aboard......