WOODS, DAVID WALTER
Name: David Walter Woods
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: 329th Transportation Company, 5th Transportation Command (Terminal)
Date of Birth: 08 February 1952
Home City of Record: Franklin OH
Date of Loss: 03 November 1970
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 163226N 1074138E (YD925275)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel In Incident: Richard C. Dority; David L. Ginn; Arlie R.
Mangus; Jerry D. Martin; Calvin A. Norris; James R. Pantall; John D.
Shewmake; Dennis I. Day (all classified Killed/Body Not Recovered); Perry C.
Kitchens; Billy H. Peeples (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.
REMARKS: LCU SANK-NO PARABEEP-NO PERS-NO SURV OBS AIR-J
SYNOPSIS: The 5th Transportation Command (Terminal) had the duty of running
the extensive Qui Nhon port and served under the U.S. Army Support Command,
Qui Nhon. The 5th Transportation Command was later deployed to Da Nang, and
had Battalions serving Vung Tau and Cat Lai. Among its duties were support
of amphibious operation and supplying ammunition and ordnance to operational
units, primarily by heavy boat.
On the afternoon of November 2, 1970, Sgt. Dennis I. Day, Sgt. Richard C.
Dority, Sgt. David L. Ginn, Sgt. Perry C. Kitchens, Sgt. Arlie R. Mangus,
Sgt. Jerry D. Martin, SSgt. Calvin A. Norris, Sgt. James R. Pantall, SFC
John D. Shewmake, Sgt. David W. Woods, and PFC Billie Hammond Peeples were
the crew of a landing craft, LCU #63, which departed Da Nang en route to Tan
My, South Vietnam on a resupply mission. The LCU was a heavy craft able to
carry large loads of ammunition.
At 1010 hours on November 3, 1970, helicopter pilots sighted the craft
capsized about 5 nautical miles south of Tan My port. In an initial search
by air/sea rescue, however, no sign of the crew of the LCU were observed.
There was no apparent hostile action, and the reason for the incident is
On November 6, the remains of Billy H. Peoples were recovered near Cu Loi
Island, fully rigged in a life jacket. During the period of December 4-20,
attempts were made to salvage the craft and locate the crew. Divers gained
access to all compartments and voids of the craft, but no survivors or
evidence of remains were found. Pieces of clothing, small arms ammo, cans
and a radio were recovered.
On March 16, 1977, the body of Perry Kitchens was returned to U.S. control
and subsequently positively identified. There has been no word of the rest
of the crew. The missing eight men were all presumed to have drowned, and
the U.S. Army believes there is no chance to ever recover the eight men
missing from LCU-63.
There are several descrepancies in the case of LCU-63 which should be noted.
First of all, the U.S. Army, the State Department and the Vietnam Veterans
Memorial Directory lists all the crew except Peeples as Sergeant, Staff
Sergeant, or Sergeant First Class, which are ranks one grade above those
listed by Defense Department and Joint Casualty Resolution Center records.
The lower grades are listed as follows: Ginn, Martin, Pantall, Peeples - E3
or PFC; Day, Dority, Kitchens, Mangus and Woods - E4 - which can be either
Corporal or SP4; Norris - E5 or Sergeant; Shewmake - E6 or Staff Sergeant.
Secondly, the Memorial Directory lists the entire crew with the exceptions
of Peeples and Kitchens as missing on 4 November 1971 (a year and a day
later than all other records).
Third, the military occupational specialties of all 10 men on whom
information can be gathered are classified.
It was not uncommon for promotions to be given during the period between the
time personnel went missing and the time they were declared dead. This group
is classified as having had "non-hostile, died while missing" deaths,
leading one to assume that for a brief time, at least, they were declared
missing, so that it might be possible to have attained a grade increase
during that period. It is uncommon, however for grade increases to be given
to those whom are considered dead and non-recoverable. It was also uncommon
for a group of 18 and 19 year-olds, as was most of this crew, to attain the
rank of sergeant.
Strange things have been known to happen regarding missing men. One pilot
was declared dead because his aircraft exploded close to the ground. Later,
the pilot, who had ejected in a cloud of smoke, and landed on the ground
even before his parachute was fully deployed, was released from POW camp.
One Marine, Ronald Ridgeway, was declared dead and actually "buried" in a
mass grave in the United States with other men from the same action, only to
come home from POW camp in 1973. Mistakes were made, and errors in judgement
Given that the LCU sank with no witnesses, and sank in the proximity of an
island, it is imaginable that the crew could have survived to be captured.
This could be said to be supported by the fact that Peeples was found fully
outfitted in his life jacket. It is, of course, only conjecture.
Tragically, thousands of reports have been received that indicate Americans
are still being held captive in Southeast Asia. Whether the LCU crew is
among them is certainly not known, but they could be. The evidence suggests
that hundreds are alive, waiting for their country to free them. It's time
we got answers.