WILEY, RICHARD DENNIS
Name: Richard Dennis Wiley
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: F Troop, 8th Cavalry, 11th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Battalion
Date of Birth: 12 July 1951
Home City of Record: Decatur IL
Date of Loss: 11 June 1972
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162336N 1072357E (YD562138)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel In Incident: Wayne Bibbs; Arnold E. Holm; Robin R. Yeakley
(missing from one OH6A); James R. McQuade, James E. Hackett (missing from
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.
REMARKS: EXPLODE - NO PARABEEPERS - J
SYNOPSIS: By December 1971, U.S. troops in-country had declined dramatically
- from the 1968 peak of nearly 55,000 to less than 30,000. The enemy,
temporarily on the defensive by the moves into Cambodia in 1970 and Laos in
1971, began deploying new NVA forces southward in preparation for another
In March 1972, the Vietnamese launched a three-pronged invasion of the
South. One NVA force swept south across the DMZ, its goal apparently the
conquest of the northern provinces and the seizure of Hue. A second NVA
force drove from Laos into the Central Highlands, and a third effort
involved a drive from Cambodia into provinces northwest of Saigon.
Fierce fighting ensued on all three fronts, with NVA success the greatest in
the northern provinces. Fighting continued until by June, the North
Vietnamese began withdrawing from some of their advance positions, still
holding considerable amounts of South Vietnamese territory in the northern
On June 11, 1972, Capt. Arnold Holm, pilot, PFC Wayne Bibbs, gunner, and SP4
Robin Yeakley, passenger, were aboard an OH6A observation helicopter flying
from Camp Eagle to the Northern Provinces of South Vietnam on a visual
reconnaissance mission. The function of their "Loach" chopper was searching
out signs of the enemy around two landing zones (LZ's). The OH6 joined with
the AH1G Cobra gunship as "Pink Teams" to screen the deployment of air
cavalry troops. On this day, Holm's aircraft was monitoring an ARVN team
During the mission, Holm reported that he saw enemy living quarters,
bunkers, and numerous trails. On his second pass over a ridge, at about 25'
altitude, the aircraft exploded and burned. It was reported that before the
aircraft crashed that smoke and white phosphorous grenades began exploding.
After the aircraft impacted with the ground, it exploded again. Other
aircraft in the area received heavy anti-aircraft fire. No one was seen to
exit the downed helicopter, nor were emergency radio beepers detected.
In another OH6A (tail #67-16275), 1Lt. James R. McQuade, pilot, and SP4
James E. Hackett, gunner, tried to enter the area of the crashed OH6A, but
encountered heavy fire and their aircraft was also shot down. McQuade's
aircraft was hit, and the intensity of the resulting fire caused white
phosphorous and smoke grenades carried aboard the aircraft to explode prior
to hitting the ground. The aircraft continued to burn after impact and no
crewmen left the ship before or after the crash.
No ground search was made for survivors or remains of either aircraft
because of hostile fire in the area.
There are unanswered questions remaining from Vietnam. Of the nearly 2500
Americans who did not return alive or dead, experts venture that hundreds
may still be alive. Thousands of reports have been received concerning them.
Whether the two OH6A crews are among those seems unlikely. But one can
imagine their willingness to deploy on one more combat team to bring those
who are alive home to freedom.