REID, JON ERIC 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 wait.
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 MEMORANDUM FOR CORRESPONDENTS December 9, 1999
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......