Remains Returned - ID Announced 8 February 1990

Name: Raymond Clark Stacks
Rank/Branch: O2/US Army Special Forces
Unit: Command & Control North, MACV-SOG, 5th Special Forces Group
Date of Birth: 06 March 1948
Home City of Record: Memphis TN
Date of Loss: 30 November 1968
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 163852N 1062514E (XD515410)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: CH34
Refno: 1333

Other Personnel In Incident: Gary R. LaBohn; Michael H. Mein; Klaus D.
Scholz; Samuel Toomey; Arthur E. Bader (all missing); Richard A. Fitts
(remains returned)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 with the assistance
of 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 1998.


SYNOPSIS: Capt. Raymond Stacks was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 6,
1948. He was commissioned as an officer of the U.S. Army in September, 1966.
In Vietnam, Stacks was part of Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies
and Observation Group (MACV-SOG) which 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 (though it was not a Special Forces group) through Special
Operations Augmentation (SOA) which provided their "cover" while under
secret orders to MACV-SOG. These teams performed deep penetration missions
of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction missions in Laos which were
called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire"

On November 30, 1968, Sgt. Richard A. Fitts, Sgt. Arthur E. Bader, Cpl. Gary
R. LaBohn, SSgt. Klaus D. Scholz, Maj. Samuel K. Toomey, Cpl. Michael H.
Mein, 1Lt. Raymond C. Stacks were passengers aboard a Vietnamese Air Force
CH34 helicopter (serial #14-4653) as their team was being transported to
their reconnaissance mission area in Laos. Details of their mission was
classified at that time, and remains classified in early 1990.

The helicopter was flying at 4,000 feet when it was struck by 37mm
anti-aircraft fire, went into a spin, crashed in a mass of flames and
exploded. The helicopter crashed about 10 miles northwest of Khe Sanh, just
into Laos east of Tchepone. The crash site is in heavy jungle, near a
stream. From the time the aircraft was hit until the time it impacted out of
view, the helicopter was under observation and no one was seen to leave the
aircraft during its descent. No ground search was initiated because the
location was in a denied area. Later visual search indicated that the
pilot's hatch was open, and his helmet was seen 25-30 feet from the
helicopter, but no survivors or bodies were seen. All the personnel aboard
the aircraft were declared Missing in Action.

(NOTE: The reports concerning this CH34 seem to be in conlict. Either the
aircraft burned, or the hatch was seen to be open the next day during visual
search, but probably not both. The body of CH34 helicopters contain
substantial amounts of magnesium, which is very flammable, and if they catch
fire, they tend to burn completely. Witnesses say the helicopter crashed in
a mass of flames. If the aircraft did burn, then it is not likely that the
helicopter would even be recognizable by the time visual search was
conducted. The fact that these men were not declared Killed in Action/Body
Not Recovered, but instead, Missing in Action seems to support the fact that
the aircraft did NOT burn, and the possibility exists that the crew and
passengers escaped the crippled aircraft. This could logically lead to
speculation that the crew and passengers might have been captured.)

When the war ended, and 591 Americans were releaesed from prison camps in
Southeast Asia, not one man who had been held in Laos was released. Although
the Pathet Lao stated publicly that they held "tens of tens" of Americans,
no negotiations occurred which would free them at that time, nor have any
occurred since.

In March 1988, the area in which the helicopter crashed was excavated by a
joint Lao/US technical team. Human remains consisting of 17 teeth and 145
bone fragments, none measuring over two inches, were recovered. The remains
were returned to the U.S. Army Central Identification (CIL) in Hawaii.

On January 3, 1990, it was announced that the remains of Richard Fitts had
been positively identified from the material recovered at the crash site.
That identification was determined by the government's conclusion that two
of the 17 teeth belonged to Fitts. Fitts' parents, after having an
independent analysis conducted on the teeth, felt assured that the teeth
belonged to their son, and subsequently buried them in Boston,
Massachusetts. The remaining 15 teeth and 145 bone fragments were said to be

Barely a month later, on February 8, 1990, the Department of Defense
announced that the remainder of the crew had been positively identified and
would be buried, along with the Vietnamese crew, in a mass grave in
Arlington National Cemetery. Fitts' name was included on that tombstone
along with the other Americans because the Pentagon believed some of the
bone fragments belonged to Fitts.

Critics of the U.S. Government's identification of the entire crew of the
helicopter point to a similar incident some years ago. In 1968,
unidentifiable remains attributed to a group of U.S. Marines killed near Khe
Sanh on February 25, 1968 were buried in a mass grave in St. Louis. One of
the deceased was identified as being Marine Sgt. Ronald Ridgeway.

Five years later, Ridgeway was released from a Vietnamese prisoner of war
camp, giving rise to considerable speculation as to the validity of the
positive identification of the other remains buried in St. Louis.

There are still over 2300 Americans who remain prisoner, missing, or
otherwise unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Nearly 600 of them were lost in
Laos. The U.S. Government, by early 1990, had received nearly 10,000 reports
relating to Americans missing in Southeast Aisa. Many authorities believe
there are hundreds of Americans still alive today, held captive.

In recent years, the numbers of remains returned from Vietnam and excavated
in Laos has increased dramatically. Government strategists happily point to
this as "progress" on the POW/MIA issue, although most of these remains are
still unidentified. Indeed, many families, having had independent studies of
the remains to assure accurate identification, now have answers to
long-awaited concerns about their loved ones. However, when remains are
positively identified, the U.S. Government closes the books and the search
for that missing man ends. Can we afford to close the books on an American
who may be alive waiting for his country to bring him home?

How many will serve in the next war knowing they may be abandoned?

                         Anthropoligical Summary
                             CILHI 0071-89

These remains were recovered from a joint U.S./LAO excavation that took
place in March of 1989.  The report describing the recovery operation,
01/CIL/89 (Laos) can be found in this case file.

Upon arriving at USA-CILHI, the dental remains were assigned the accession
number CILHI 0070-89 and the post cranial or non-dental remains assigned
CILHI 0071-89.  Two teeth were segregated from CILHI 0070-89 and were
radiographically identified as belonging to an individual from the REFNO
1333 incident.  The Dental Summary Report for CILHI 0070-89A is covered in a
separate report.  Refer to the Dental Summary Report for CILHI 0070-89 which
is included in this case file.


After the systematic excavation of the skeletal and dental remains, and
associated personal effects, these materials were taken to the U.S. Army
Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (USA-CILHI).  The remains were
placed in plastic bags with the grid locations marked on the outside of each
bag.  So as not to comingle the remains, the remains from each bag were
washed with water and allowed to air dry.  Once dry, the grid location from
provenience would not be lost.

The bone fragments from one grid location were compared to bone fragments
from another grid location in an attempt to make an anatomical
determinations of the type of bone that was recovered.  Only two bone
fragments could be articulated with each other.  A possible shaft fragments
from N4 E2 could be reconstructed with a fragment from N6 W2.

Condition of Remains

These remains are very incomplete and in poor condition.  There was a total
of 145 bone fragments recovered.  The largest fragment measures 1.7cm (1.9 x
.7).  Perimortem burning is evident on the majority (91 percent) of bone
fragments.  Color variations on the fragments vary from dark black to white.
Transverse fracture lines, warping, and longitudinal cracking can be
observed on the burned fragments that are present.  The non-dental remains
that were recovered are shown in Photographs 1-8 at tghe end of this report.
A table showing the overall relationship of the dental and skeletal remains
is on page 3.


Race could not be determined from the bone fragments that are present.  The
skeletal fragments are too incomplete to permit an assessment of race.


Sex could not be determined from the bone fragments that are present.  The
skeletal material was too incomplete to permit a reliable assessment of sex.


The incomplete skeletal material prevented any accurate estimations of age.
From the few bone fragments that could be identified, they appear to be
skeletally adult.

Stature and Muscularity

Stature and muscularity could not be determined due to the lack of an intact
long bone.  No estimations of stature could be made since none of the
skeletal material recovered could be assigned to a specific race and sex.

Healed Fractures, Pathologies and Anomalies

A number of the bone fragments displayed signs of possible or probable
perimortem fractures.  These breaks had sharp and diagonal edges.  No
skeletal anomalies were observed.


Due to the condition and paucity of skeletal remains that were recovered
from 01/CIL/89 (Laos), no determinations can be made from the post cranial

Jason I. Ota, B.A.       1 Nov 89


    CILHI 0070-89
    CILHI 0071-89



    Analysis of all the remains recovered from the REFNO 1333 crash 
    site in Savannakhet Province, Laos, has now been completed. The 
    excavation was a joint US/Lao project 18-26 March 1989. One of 
    the nine (7 US Army, 2 VNAF) manifested personnel on board this 
    helicopter has been individually identified, based solely on 
    dentition (see case file CILHI 0070-89A). No other individual 
    identifications can be accomplished, due in large part to the 
    amount (145 skeletal fragments and 17 teeth or portions of teeth) 
    and nature (calcined fragments) of the recovered remains. No 
    dental radiographs are available for two of the US passengers nor 
    for the two VNAF crew members. The exact number of persons 
    represented by the remains cannot be determined from the remains. 
    The unidentified dental material is designated CILHI 0070-89, and 
    the skeletal material is CILHI 0071-89. Dental, anthropological, 
    casualty and field reports are enclosed.


    The crash and subsequent explosion were witnessed at close range, 
    the site was aerially inspected, and no evidence of survivors was 
    seen. Reports indicate scavenging of wreckage and removal of 
    remains in the years since the incident. After seven days of 
    excavation, it is believed that these are the only recoverable 
    remains from the site. Owing to their condition and paucity, they 
    cannot be segregated further nor identified as individuals.


    In view of the commingled, fragmented, incomplete and 
    unidentifiable nature of these remains, it is recommended that 
    they be declared the only recoverable remains (other than the 
    dentition identified as SP/5 FITTS) of the nine occupants of the 
    CH-34 helicopter associated with the REFNO 1333 incident.

    The are the following: