Name: Curtis Richard Smoot
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army
Unit: Troop A, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division
Date of Birth: 09 December 1949 (Bogaloosa LA)
Home City of Record: Varnado LA
Date of Loss: 10 March 1971
Country of Loss: Cambodia
Loss Coordinates: 121444N 1062255E (XU503540)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: OH6A
Refno: 1722

Other Personnel in Incident: WO1 Craig J. Houser (escaped); SP4 Robert Kiser
(remains recovered)

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.


SYNOPSIS: On March 10, 1971, WO Craig Houser, pilot, SP4 Robert Kiser, crew
chief, and Sgt. Curtis R. Smoot, door gunner, were flying in an OH6A (serial
#67-17412) on a visual reconnaissance mission over Kracheh Province,
Cambodia just southwest of the city of Phumi Sre Roneam.

At about 1400 hours, while making a low pass over a suspected enemy
position, the helicopter was hit by an enemy rocket and crashed. The
helicopter landed on the bank of a river, burst into flames, and fell into
the river. The crash occurred in the vicinity of the recon. A team of ARVN
and two U.S. Army enlisted men were inserted into the area to search for
survivors and recover aircraft parts. At that time, the body of SP4 Kiser
was recovered. Due to darkness, the search team was extracted.

On March 13, WO1 Houser returned to military control, having evaded capture
and walked to a friendly position. He reported that he had not seen Sgt.
Smoot after the aircraft had hit.

No sign was ever found of Sgt. Curtis Smoot, alive or dead. He is listed
among nearly 2500 Americans still missing, prisoner or otherwise unaccounted
for in Southeast Asia.

When the war ended, 591 Americans were released from communist prisons in
Vietnam, but Smoot was not among them. Since that time, thousands of reports
received have convinced many authorities that hundreds of Americans are
still being held captive in Southeast Asia. Curtis Smoot could well be one
of them. If so, what must he be thinking of us?




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On March 10, 1971, an OH-6A Cayuse (tail number 67-17412) with three crew members took part in a visual reconnaissance mission over Cambodia. While making a low pass over a suspected enemy position, the helicopter was hit by an enemy rocket and crashed on the bank of a river. It burst into flames on impact with the ground and the burning wreckage fell into the river. The pilot survived the crash, evaded hostile forces, and returned to U.S. custody. The remains of the crew chief were recovered by a search team that reached the crash site the same day. The door gunner remains unaccounted for.

Sergeant Curtis Richard Smoot, who entered the U.S. Army from Louisiana, served with Troop A, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, was the door gunner aboard this OH-6A at the time of its loss. He could not be located after the crash and remains unaccounted for. Subsequent to the incident, the U.S. Army posthumously promoted Sergeant Smoot to the rank of Sergeant First Class (SFC). Today, Sergeant First Class Smoot 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.

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