|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.
As 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 Province.
||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 trouble.
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.
|In 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
|During 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
If you are interested, you may see the
MIA/POW lost on this day of the year.