Story of DUSTOFF 90's Crew
On 12 February 1968,
1LT Jerry Roe, aircraft commander, CW2 Alan Gunn, pilot, SP5 Harry
Brown, and SP4 Wade Groth, crewchief, were flying a UH-1H (67-17027) dispatched on a night medical
evacuation mission. Assigned as part of the 50th Medical Detachment, DUSTOFF 90
departed Ban Me Thuot, South Vietnam for Gia Nghai Special Forces camp.
Allen Wendell Gunn
U.S. Air Force Tactical Control Radar operators at Ban Me Thuot tracked the
flight, the blip that was the DUSTOFF chopper disappeared from the screen at
2019 hours. The helicopter apparently went down 20 minutes outbound from its
base (12172N 1074713E ZU030600) in a mountainous region of Quang duc
An Army Infantry unit searched the apparent crash site near the Cambodian
border for 36 hours, but found neither the helicopter nor its crew. Snipers
were not know to be in the area, and it is not believed the helicopter was
shot down, according to an Army report, indicating possible mechanical
In April 1969, the
CIA was asked to analyze the positive identifications made by a
"rallied" enemy soldier of a number of photographs of missing Americans. The
rallier selected the photos of both Harry Brown and Jerry Roe as two men he
believed to have been Prisoners of War. The CIA could not determine why the
source selected them.
1979, Sean O'Toolis, an Irish-American, was touring Bong Song Camp, 40 miles
south of Hanoi, on an
IRA gun-buying mission, when he alleges he met and spoke with American
prisoners, Brendon Foley and Wade Groth, a prison work mate of Foley.He also
claims to have talked to men named MacDonald, Jenning and an O'Hare or O'Hara.
he brought a message to Foley's brother and fingerprints of Foley and O'Hara. He
identified old photos of Groth, and gave believable description of Foley and
Groth. Neither family knows whether or not to believe O'Toolis, as much of his
account of his travels seems incorrect.
October 1992, the aircraft 67-17027 was located and the crash site examined
by U.S. casualty recovery team personnel. Positive identification was
possible despite the condition of the aircraft and much of the wreckage
having been taken away and/or washed down the steep mountain slope. No trace
of the crew was discovered and a detailed site examination is scheduled.
Whether the four men aboard the DUSTOFF lost on 12 February 1968
survived to be captured is unknown. The coincidence of two separate
sources identifying three members of the crew seems too strong to
ignore. The U.S. Government does not believe there is any substance
to these reports and has closed the file. Based on thousands of
still classified sighting reports, many experts
believe hundreds of Americans did survive, and are still alive,
waiting to be brought home. If even one is alive, he must be brought
At this time we can only hope for some resolution on the uncertain status of
the crew of DUSTOFF 90. We have the initial aircraft loss investigation reports
and the material documenting the discovery of DUSTOFF 90. When more information
becomes available a detailed report will be provided.
Neal Stanley frequently goes to the Wall and leaves a tribute to DUSTOFF 90.
He has probably been to the Wall 100 times.
Come For Me
Twenty years in the jungle has taken it's toll on me.
I'm not the same man I used to be.
But one thing's consistent ... I long to be free.
Please, Mr. President, come for me.
The scars of my torture will never go away.
I'm fifty pounds lighter. My hair is gray.
But the shackles can't chain the freedom in me.
Please, ("mighty") lawmakers come for me.
If my family believed there's a chance I'd survived,
They'd fight to their deaths to prove I'm alive.
Please, lovin' family, come for me.
Some captors say you don't know I'm here,
That I'm doomed to this prison year after year.
God Bless America, the land of the free.
Please, friends and parishoners, come for me.
Other captors say you know that I'm here,
But refuse to accept the evidence, so clear.
Will some caring citizen hear my plea?
Please, fellow countrymen, come for me.
I'll have faith in my country 'till my dying day.
I'll never believe you could leave me this way.
My Country, 'tis of thee .....
Please, please, America, come for me!
By LeAnn Thieman, 1987