WALTERS, TIM LEROY Positive ID of teeth 08/11/99 Burial -- Niles, MI 10/23/99
Name: Tim Leroy Walters Rank/Branch: E6/US Army Unit: Special Operations Group - MACV Date of Birth: 24 February 1043 Home City of Record: South Bend IN Date of Loss: 09 March 1969 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 165219N 1062548E (XD524658) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O2A Refno: 1403
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: Robert F. Rex (missing)
SYNOPSIS: Captain Bob Rex and Army Staff Sergeant Tim L. Walters were the pilot and observer aboard an O2A aircraft (serial #67-21425) on a combat support mission when it crashed for unknown reasons about 5 miles into Laos west of the DMZ on March 9, 1969. Walters was from Special Operations Group, MACV. The O2A was a two-place observation plane which flew forward air control, marking targets, locating friendly troops, and directing air strikes.
At first, the enemy feared the presence of the small observation planes, knowing that they were able to bring in fighter planes. Later, however, it became more commonplace for any enemy group that believed it had been sighted to open fire and try to bring down the FAC and reduce the accuracy of the impending strike.
The crew of these small unarmed crafts had a dim hope of survival if hit because of their close proximity to the enemy and lack of ability to eject at high altitude and drift out of the area. The planes were light, however, and flew low, so survival was not out of the question. Additionally, the enemy developed weaponry that could knock out the engines only, allowing the plane to arrive on the ground with far less damage.
After Rex and Walters' aircraft crashed, another aircraft (call sign Knife 55), reported that the aircraft crashed at about 1150 hours. A ground team inspected the wreckage and reported that both the occupants were dead. However, hostile ground fire prevented them from recovering the remains. Two members of the ground team did not personally know SSgt. Walters, but stated that both individuals were positively dead. An aircraft engine was on top of the NCO (Walters). The ground team recovered the weapons, map case and camera from the aircraft, but because of hostile ground fire, left the remains behind.
The U.S. Department of Defense categorized Bob Rex and Tim Walters "Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered", yet the U.S. State Department, using Defense records, coded the demise of Walters as "died while missing" and Rex as "hostile - killed", indicating that there was a probability that the aircraft was shot down, rather than downed through some malfunction or pilot error. Certainly, there is a very high probability that the enemy knows the whereabouts of Bob Rex and Tim Walters.
The U.S. has approached the Lao only in recent years (mid to late 1980's) for cooperation in examining crash sites of downed aircraft. While the product of these searches have yielded remains of some missing men, they have also resulted in what many call "voodoo forensics" whereby men are identified from bone fragments non-government experts claim are unidentifiable. Several POW/MIA families have successfully brought suit against the government for these faulty identifications.
Even more tragically, reports relating to missing Americans continue to flow in, convincing many authorities that hundreds of Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia, waiting for their country to secure their freedom, yet the U.S. maintains they have no actionable evidence and take no action to free them.
Rex and Walters, according to the search team, died the day their aircraft went down in Laos. Until their remains are returned, we are abandoning them to the enemy.
NOTE: "Special Operations Group-MACV" is not a term used in "The Order of Battle", a highly comprehensive (although not without errors/omissions) listing of U.S. Army units in Vietam compiled by noted military historian Shelby Stanton. The compiler of this synopsis, therefore, questions the unit designation.
A more common designation for the acronym "SOG", is Studies and Observation Group, a highly classified group attached to MACV which conducted clandestine missions of reconnaissance and interdiction. 5th Special Forces Group channeled personnel through "Special Operations Augmentation" (SOA) into MACV-SOG. It will interest readers that one of the functions of MACV-SOG was tracking all imprisoned and missing Americans and conducting raids to assist and free them. It is possible, although not at all certain, that the "SOG" referred to in this loss incident could be MACV-SOG.
------------------------------------ No. 190-M MEMORANDUM FOR CORRESPONDENTS December 13, 1999
The remains of eleven 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 U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tim L. Walters, South Bend, Ind.; U.S. Army 1st Lt. James R. McQuade, Hoquiam, Wash.; U.S. Army Spc. James E. Hackett, Bradenton, Fla.; U.S. Air Force Col. George W. Jensen, Seattle, Wash.; U.S. Air Force Col. Marshall L. Tapp, Los Angeles, Calif.; U.S. Air Force Col. Lavern G. Reilly, St. Paul, Minn.; U.S. Air Force Maj. George W. Thompson, Beckley, W.Va.; U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. James A. Preston, Bowden, Ga.; U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. James E. Williams, Oxford, Miss.; U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. William L. Madison, Lexington, Ky.; and U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth D. McKenney, Auburn, Mass.
On March 9, 1969, Walters was aboard a 0-2A Super Skymaster flying a forward air control mission over Laos. The aircraft crashed, due to an unknown cause. Other aircrews in the area reported seeing the aircraft shortly after impact. A ground party went to the site shortly after the crash and determined that both crewmembers were dead, but they could not recover the remains due to heavy enemy activity in the area.
Joint U.S.-Lao investigators visited several alleged crash sites in 1993, 1994 and 1998, and an excavation was conducted in January, February and March 1999, where a team recovered human remains, personal effects and crew-related items.
Hackett and McQuade were attempting to rescue the crew of a downed aircraft when their own OH-6A helicopter exploded in mid-air over South Vietnam on June 11, 1972. In 1993 and 1994, joint U.S.-Vietnamese teams conducted investigations and an excavation where they recovered numerous human remains, pilot-related gear and personal effects.
On May 15, 1966, Jensen was piloting an AC-47D gunship on an armed reconnaissance mission over Laos. Also aboard the aircraft were Tapp, Thompson, Preston, Madison, McKenney, Williams, and Reilly. That evening, Jensen radioed to his airborne control aircraft that everything was normal on the mission, but the aircraft never returned to its home base. Joint U.S.-Lao investigative teams visited several sites in 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997 and conducted excavations where they recovered human remains an d crew-related items.
With the accounting of these servicemen, 2,032 are missing in action from the Vietnam War. Another 551 have been identified and returned to their families since the end of the war. Analysis of the remains and other evidence by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii confirmed the identification of these 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.