SCHULTZ, SHELDON DUANE Remains ID annlounced 08/06/2007
Name: Sheldon Duane Schultz Rank/Branch: WO/US Army Unit: 176th Aviation Company, 14th Aviation Battalion, 23rd Infantry Division (Americal) Date of Birth: 19 April 1948 Home City of Record: Altoona PA Date of Loss: 05 January 1968 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 161907N 1063445E (XD701021) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 4 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1D Refno:
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 2007.
Other Personnel In Incident: James Williamson; John T. Gallagher; Ernest F. Briggs; Dennis C. Hamilton (all missing); (indigenous team members, names, numbers, fates unknown)
REMARKS: NO SIGN OF CREW
SYNOPSIS: On January 5, 1968, WO Dennis C. Hamilton, aircraft commander; WO Sheldon D. Schultz, pilot; SP5 Ernest F. Briggs, Jr., crew chief; SP4 James P. Williamson, crewman, and SSgt. John T. Gallagher, passenger; were aboard a UH1D helicopter (tail # 66-1172) on a mission to infiltrate an indigenous reconnaissance patrol into Laos.
The reconnaissance patrol and SSgt. Gallagher were operating under orders to Command & Control North, MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command, Vietnam Studies and Observation Group). MACV-SOG was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special Forces channeled personnel into MACV-SOG (although it was not a Special Forces group) through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), which provided their "cover" while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. The teams performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions.
As the aircraft approached the landing zone about 20 miles inside Laos south of Lao Bao, it came under heavy 37mm anti-aircraft fire while at an altitude of about 300 feet above ground level. The aircraft immediately entered a nose-low vertical dive and crashed.
Upon impact with the ground, the aircraft burst into flames which were 10 to 20 feet high. No radio transmissions were heard during the helicopter's descent, nor were radio or beeper signals heard after impact. Four attempts to get into the area of the downed helicopter failed due to intense ground fire.
During the next two days more attempts to get to the wreckage failed. The pilot of one search helicopter maneuvered to within 75 feet of the crash site before being forced out by enemy fire. The pilot who saw the wreckage stated that the crashed helicopter was a mass of burned metal and that there was no part of the aircraft that could be recognized. No signs of life were seen in the crash area.
Weather delayed further search attempts for a couple of days. After the weather improved, the successful insertion of a ground team was made east of the crash site to avoid enemy fire. The team was extracted after the second day, finding nothing. The crash site was located near the city of Muong Nong in Savannakhet Province, Laos.
Nearly 600 Americans were lost in Laos. The Pathet Lao insisted that the "tens of tens" of Americans they held would only be released from Laos, but the U.S. did not officially recognize the communist faction in Laos and did not negotiate for American prisoners being held by them. Not one American held by the Lao was ever released.
Alarmingly, evidence continues to mount that Americans were left as prisoners in Southeast Asia and continue to be held today. Unlike "MIAs" from other wars, most of the nearly 2500 men and women who remain missing in Southeast Asia can be accounted for. Perhaps the crew of the helicopter did not survive the crash, but until there is positive proof of their deaths, we cannot forget them. If even one was left behind at the end of the war, alive, (and many authorities estimate the numbers to be in the hundreds), we have failed as a nation until and unless we do everything possible to secure his freedom and bring him home.
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SMITH 324 COMPELLING CASES
Laos Dennis C. Hamilton Sheldon D. Schultz Ernest F. Briggs, Jr. John T. Gallagher James D. Williamson (0967)
On January 5, 1968, a UH-1D with a four man crew from the 176th Aviation Co., 14th Aviation Bn., Americal Division, and one member of the 5th Special Forces Command and Control Detachment was west of Khe Sanh, South Vietnam, providing support to the insertion of U.S. led cross-border forces into the Prairie Fire operational area of Laos. While approaching a landing zone in Savannakhet Province, the helicopter was hit by 37mm anti-aircraft fire. It began a nose low vertical dive from an altitude of 4000 feet and no one was seen to eject before it impacted on the ground and burst into fire with flames reaching a height of 20 feet. There were no radio transmissions or beepers from the crew or passenger after impact and the five men on board the helicopter were declared missing in action. Intense groundfire precluded any entry into the crash site until four days when a ground team was successfully inserted. The team was unable to locate any evidence of the crew and no evidence anyone had survived.
In December 1971 the CIA forwarded a report to DIA about the sighting of American POWs in Laos. One report described four Americans said to have been captured in South Vietnam as passing through a way-station on the Ho Chi Minh Trail in mid-1970, Commo- Liaison Station 12, approximately 25 kilometers southwest of Tchepone, Savannakhet Province. The source pointed out a photograph of Williamson as resembling one of the four Americans. Another report described two captured pilots at Commo-Liaison Station 12 early in 1969 approximately 15 kilometers northwest of Muong Phine. These reports were placed in the file of those associated with this loss incident.
Williamson was considered by other returnees as a "no show" in the northern Vietnamese prison system and U.S. POWs returned during Operation Homecoming had no information that anyone had survived into captivity. However, one returnee reported having seen a statement with the name Williamson on it. After Operation Homecoming the five men in this incident were declared dead/body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death.
In 1974, a report was received about the sighting of aircraft wreckage in Laos. The report was placed in the files of this and one other incident in the same general area. In another report, a Vietnamese refugee stated that two bodies were burned up in the crash of a Cobra helicopter and that report was also placed in the files of those associated with the two loss incidents in this general area.
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Bob Smith New Hampshire United States Senate Washington, D.C. 20510
U.S. POW/MIAs WHO MAY HAVE SURVIVED IN CAPTIVITY
Prepared by the Office of Senator Bob Smith Vice-Chairman, Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs
December 1, 1992
Schultz, Sheldon D. USA Laos, no sign of crew.
NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 970-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 06, 2007 Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132 Public/Industry(703) 428-0711
Soldiers Mia From Vietnam War Are Accounted For
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that group remains of five U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, will be returned to their families soon for burial with full military honors.
They are Chief Warrant Officer Dennis C. Hamilton, of Barnes City, Iowa; Chief Warrant Officer Sheldon D. Schultz, of Altoona, Pa.; Sgt. 1st Class Ernest F. Briggs Jr., of San Antonio, Texas; Sgt. 1st Class John T. Gallagher, of Hamden, Conn.; and Sgt. 1st Class James D. Williamson, of Olympia, Wash.; all U.S. Army.The group remains of this crew will be buried on Aug. 14 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.Gallagher's remains were individually identified, and his burial date is being set by his family.
Representatives from the Army met with the next-of-kin of these men to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the Secretary of the Army.
On Jan. 5, 1968, these men crewed a UH-1D helicopter that was inserting a patrol into Savannakhet Province, Laos.As the aircraft approached the landing zone, it was struck by enemy ground fire, causing it to nose over and crash.There were no survivors.All attempts to reach the site over the next several days were repulsed by enemy fire.
Between 1995 and 2006, numerous U.S./Lao People's Democratic Republic /Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams, all led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), conducted more than five investigations, including interviews with Vietnamese citizens who said they witnessed the crash.Between 2002 and 2006, JPAC led three excavations of the site, recovering remains and other material evidence including identification tags for Schultz, Hamilton and Briggs.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC also used dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.
For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http:// www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.