Name: Jack Wolpe
Rank/Branch: E4/US Marine Corps
Unit: A Company, 3rd Recon Battalion, 3rd Marine Division
Date of Birth: 15 January 1942
Home City of Record: Newburgh NY
Date of Loss: 03 August 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 160622N 1072247E (YC545820)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: CH46A
Refno: 0784
Other Personnel In Incident: Thomas A. Gopp; John B. Nahan; James P. McGrath
(all missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 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.
SYNOPSIS: In early August, 1967, a nine-man team from A Company, 3rd
Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division began a night reconnaissance
patrol in the A Shau Valley that was spotted by a Montagnard tribal woman
and child, who alerted a nearby North Vietnamese unit.
North Vietnamese troops slowly surrounded the Marine patrol and another that
had joined it, trapping them for two days in hopes of luring a helicopter
The following day (August 3), the first of two helicopters arrived and
loaded some men from the patrols, but was hit by a bazooka shell and crashed
during takeoff. The pilot was killed by small-arms fire. The nine passengers
were believed to have perished, but all of their bodies could not be
recovered because of hostile fire.
John Nahan and Jack Wolpe were passengers aboard the aircraft. They were two
of the A Company Reconnaissance patrol. Thomas Gopp was crewchief of the
helicopter. James McGrath was a U.S. Navy hospital corpsman attached to H &
S Company accompanying the Recon team. These four were listed as Killed in
Action, Body Not Recovered (KIA/BNR).
The men of the CH46A shot down on August 3, 1967 are listed with honor among
the missing because no remains were found. Their cases seem quite clear. For
others who are listed missing, resolution is not as simple. Many were known
to have survived their loss incident. Quite a few were in radio contact with
search teams and describing an advancing enemy. Some were photographed or
recorded in captivity. Others simply vanished without a trace.
Reports continue to mount that we abandoned hundreds of Americans to the
enemy when we left Southeast Asia. While the men aboard the CH46 may not be
among them, one can imagine their proud willingness to fly one more mission
to help bring them to freedom.