WONG, EDWARD PUCK KOW, JR. Name: Edward Puck Kow Wong, Jr. Rank/Branch: E4/US Army Unit: 57th Assault Helicopter Company, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade Date of Birth: 25 February 1953 (Guam) Home City of Record: Oakland CA Date of Loss: 27 March 1972 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 162127N 1074739E
Mary & Chuck,
I believe you have an inaccurate loss coordinate on your webpage for US Army Specialist 4th Class Edward Puck Kow Wong, Jr.. Specialist Wong was a door gunner on a UH1H that apparently was brought down by small-arms fire on 27 March 1972, at a location in Kontum Province.
The loss coordinates on your webpage are: 162127N 1074739E .
The correct loss coordinates for Specialist Wong are: 14°33’95”E 107°46’13”E.
Robert J. Destatte
[Network note: coordinates shown are found in multiple old data sources]
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H Refno: 1806 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 1998. Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: SP4 Edward Wong was a door gunner on a UH1H assigned to the 57th Assault Helicopter Company. On March 27, 1972, he was in his position on a mission to rescue the crew of a downed Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) helicopter which had crashed at a landing zone in Kontum Province, South Vietnam. The other members of the crew were CW2 Larry J. Woods, pilot; 2Lt. Ngo Binh Quan, VNAF co-pilot; and SP4 Dennis A. Hannon, crew chief. Also on board as passengers were Capt. Lyle R. Rhoads, Jr, a U.S. Army advisor; and Capt. Nguyen Duc Phuc, ground commander of the ARVN 3rd Battalion, 47th Regiment. Wong's UH1H was identified as tail #67-17841. Accompanying gunships made an attack pass to suppress enemy fire in the area, and Wong's helicopter descended to make the rescue attempt. As the aircraft was landing, it received heavy automatic weapons fire, crashed and rolled down a hill, coming to rest upside down. The two passengers exited the helicopter. Capt. Rhoads stated that he saw both pilots and the crew chief get out of the helicopter, but did not see SP4 Wong leave the aircraft. SP4 Hannon said that after exiting the helicopter, he had seen SP4 Wong heading uphill and that he had a cut on his head and both legs were bleeding. Capt. Rhoads asked the ARVN ground commander about the other Americans. He indicated the location of the crew chief, and said that the other crewman was down the hill, and the American pilot was still in the area of the aircraft. Later, when the ARVN unit on the LZ was preparing to walk to Fire Support Base Charlie, an estimated 2 kilometers to the east, Capt. Rhoads talked to the crew chief and saw the poncho liner/stretcher on which SP4 Wong allegedly was lying. Capt. Rhoads did not see him, but saw his right hand holding the litter pole. On his right hand was what appeared to be a class ring. The ARVN unit and surviving Americans were joined by a relief company from Fire Support Base Charlie, and proceeded to walk out at about 1600 hours on March 27. At some unspecified point along the trail, the litter bearers and the litter supposedly carrying SP4 Wong were seen by SP4 Hannon to be resting along the trail. This is the last time that this litter was seen by the surviving Americans. At about 1830 hours, back at the LZ, an orbiting gunship saw one individual wearing black clothing standing on the landing zone waving a piece of white cloth. Fifteen feet away from this man were four or five individuals wearing black or dark clothing, and hidden in a bush hedge. The gunship questioned Capt. Rhoads by radio about the location of friendly forces, and after having been assured twice that all friendlies were off the landing zone, opened fire with rockets. The gunship pilot reported that he hit the group. Upon reaching Fire Support Base Charlie, casualties were loaded into two VNAF and one U.S. Army medivac helicopters. At that time, it was reported that SP4 Wong had been loaded on one of the VNAF helicopters by mistake. Searches were made in the ARVN hospital that had received the wounded and dead from this incident, but Wong was not found. Efforts were made on March 28 and 29 to search the LZ and the trail taken by the survivors, but enemy action prevented this. Wong was never seen again. There is no doubt that Wong survived the crash of his helicopter, although injured. Apparently, he become considerably worse, as it was necessary to transport him by litter to the fire support base. The story clouds from here, leaving open several possibilities as to the fate of Edward Wong, including those of death, accidental loss of a living person, capture by the enemy, and even death from friendly fire on the LZ. Thousands of reports of Americans still held prisoner in Southeast Asia have poured in since the war ended. Wong's family cannot be sure if he lived or died. They must wonder if he is one of the hundreds of Americans thought to be still alive. They wait.