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Tribute To POWs/MIAs...
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I wasn't there



The Wall: 50,000 Names

11:54 12/21/2009
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For those gallant warriors of all wars
who have found their peace we dedicate the
The Final Inspection.
The Ol'Kunnel would be honored if you read it.
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US and POW/MIA Flags
You may rest assured that the ol'Kunnel will NOT rest until all our gallent POW/MIAs are accounted for. Unfortunately it would seem politics will continue to cause this unrest until doomsday. (sigh) In the meantime, let's remember the gallant Marines and Airman whom I have chosen to champion. Please read all their data and bio's and send a copy of this page to those who you might reason to have some influence on their return or a final explanation of their fate. Please recommend a reading of these pages by clicking on the appropriate areas at the bottom of this page. You'll be glad you did.
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The above compilations are by no means the end of this tribute. The ol'Kunnel will continue to update this page almost daily until it meets his idea of a finished and fine-tuned product. Visit here often, please.

There are nearly 2500 Americans who did not return from the war in Vietnam. Today, thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. Government that indicate that men are alive still, held in captivity in Southeast Asia. Thus far, official policy is to state that "conclusive proof" is not yet available. Detractors state that proof is in hand, but the will to act on that proof does not exist. As long as even ONE American is alive, held against his will, we must do everything in our power to achieve his release.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to keep pushing this issue inside the Beltway... The need to get specific answers is more important now than ever before. If still alive, some MIAs are now in their 70s...They don't have much time left. We have to demand the answers from the bureaucrats and keep standing on their necks (figuratively speaking) until they get the message that THEY work for US and that we are serious about getting these long overdue responses. Diplomatic considerations aside... We can no longer allow questionable protocols established by pseudo-aristocratic armchair strategists, to determine or influence the fate of the men who were in the trenches while the diplomats were sharing sherry and canapes and talking about "Their Plans" for the future of SE Asia.

And those in high places still carry on their self-serving agenda to this very day. Witness
It's enough to make grown men cry. (sigh)
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Name: John Charles Keiper
Rank/Branch: E4/USMC
Unit: HAMS 16, Marine Air Group 16
Date of Birth: 18 September 1945
Home City of Record: Renovo PA
Loss Date: 15 November 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162535N 1074619E (ZD150045)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 3
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: U6A
Other Personnel In Incident: Harry M. Ravenna (missing)


SYNOPSIS: On November 15, 1966, US Army Capt. Harry M. Ravenna, pilot; and US Marine Corps Cpl. John C.Keiper, passenger, were flying a U6A aircraft (serial #541723) on a routine flight from Dong Ha to Da Nang. Keiper was assigned to Helicopter Attack Maintenance Squadron 16, Marine Air Group 16. His role on this mission is unclear from public record.

Ravenna was assigned to the 138th Aviation Company, 224th U.S. Army Security Agency Battalion (Aviation), U.S. Army Security Agency Group, Vietnam. All missions of this agency were highly classified during the war, and secret cover designations (Radio Research Units) were used instead of the actual unit designations on station lists and reports. The 138th was based at Da Nang.

Ravenna filed a VFR (visual flight rules) flight plan, but ran into poor weather conditions. He radioed Dong Ha and requested radar guidance. At 1430 hours, he passed into Da Nang airfield radar control and radioed, "Lonely Ranger 723, heading 125, 3000 feet, estimating Da Nang at 40, request radar. Presently on instruments."

Having trouble bringing him onto radar screen, Da Nang instructed Ravenna to activate his transponder, but this did not improve radar contact, so they asked his location, which he gave as 45 nautical miles from Dong Ha. Da Nang instructed him to recontact Dong Ha (believing he was out of Da Nang range and still in that of Dong Ha). Ravenna acknowledged the transmission, radio contact was broken, and never resumed.

Ravenna and Keiper were last believed to be in South Vietnam about halfway between Da Nang and the city of Hue. Later investigation concluded that on his present course, had it been followed, Ravenna's aircraft would have impacted with the side of a mountain in that vicinity. The hostile threat in the area prevented extensive search, and all efforts to discover the fate of Ravenna and Keiper have failed.

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Name: Ralph Harold Angstadt
Rank/Branch: O4/USAF
Unit: 33rd Air Rescue/Recovery Squadron
Date of Birth: 03 September 1932
Home City of Record: Fleetwood PA
Date of Loss: 18 October 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam (Tonkin Gulf)
Loss Coordinates: 175500N 1070900E (YE278821)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: HU16

Other Personnel In Incident: Inzar W. Rackley; John H.S. Long; Robert L.Hill; John R.Shoneck; Lawrence Clark; Steven H. Adams (all missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Copyright 1990 Homecoming II Project.


SYNOPSIS: At 11:01 a.m. on October 18, 1966, a HU16 Albatross (serial #51-7145) departed Da Nang Airbase, Republic of Vietnam, to rescue a downed pilot in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam.

The crew of the aircraft consisted of Maj. Ralph H. Angstadt, rescue commander and pilot; 1Lt. John H.S. Long, co-pilot; SSgt. John R. Shoneck and TSgt. Robert L. Hill, flight mechanics; SSgt. Lawrence Clark, radio operator; and Capt. Inzar W. Rackley, Jr., navigator. Also onboard the aircraft was A2C Steven H. Adams, a parajumper/frogman and a member of an elite pararescue team ("PJs").

The aircraft headed to the pilot's location, which was approximately 80 miles off the China coast in the northern sector of the Gulf of Tonkin. Two A1E Skyhawks escorting the rescue aircraft remained on station until the mission was completed, then the Skyhawks returned to the base. The last contact with the HU16 was at 5:45 p.m., and at that time, there was no indication of any trouble. The Albatross was returning to base, and last contact was in the vicinity of coordinates YE278821, approximately 35 miles off the coast of North Vietnam.

All contact was lost with the amphibious aircraft in marginal weather conditions, and although an extensive search for the aircraft was conducted, there were no sightings of the crew or the aircraft. Even though the HU16 was believed lost over water, the men on board were not declared killed, but Missing In Action. The possibility exists that they were captured by one of the numerous enemy vessels that were present offshore from North Vietnam.

Curiously, the DIA enemy knowledge categories assigned to the men onboard the Albatross are not the same. Five of them were assigned Category 4 which indicates "unknown knowledge" and includes individuals whose time and place of loss incident are unknown. Angstadt was assigned Category 3 which indicates "doubtful knowledge" and includes personnel whose loss incident is such that it is doubtful that the enemy would have knowledge. Clark was assigned Category 2 which indicates "suspect knowledge" and includes personnel who were lost in areas or under conditions that they may reasonably be expected to be known by the enemy. No reason for the different categories can be determined.

About one year after the incident, Adams' family received a call from an International Red Cross representative who had just come from a "closed door" meeting during which Steven Adams was discussed. She stated that Steve was "alive, well and presumed to be in a hospital in Southeast Asia," and that "upon exiting the aircraft, his left side had been severely injured." A family friend and member of the intelligence community located the Red Cross worker and confirmed the information.

Shortly after the call, two Air Force casualty officers cautioned the family strongly "not to listen to outsiders" and that only "government sources" could be trusted.

In August 1987, a Department of Defense official was contacted by a U.S. citizen who said he was relaying information from a man in London UK. According to the American, 17 U.S. prisoners of war could be released through the office of a Western European embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. The POWs would be released C.O.D. upon the delivery of seven U.S. passports and a million dollars. If the money were placed at the Embassy, an unidentified Vietnamese general would take the 17 Americans to the Philippines for release, and provide information on how to secure the release of over 1,400 other Americans upon payment of another million dollars. Steve Adams was mentioned as one of the 17 POWs.

U.S. government officials refused to place the money at the Embassy. They said they had investigated the offer and that it was "a clumsy, amateur attempt to extort money and arms from the U.S. Government."

Although the U.S. Government called the offer a "scam," they refused to give the Adams family the names of those involved, citing "national security" as the reason.

Steve's brother, Bruce, was outraged. A non-government offered POW reward fund had been established for just such a offer and the government was aware of it, yet did not inform Bruce of the COD offer for several months. By that time, it was too late to do anything about it from the private sector.

"This was a pay on delivery offer, not extortion," said Adams. "It would have cost the Government nothing to comply. If the general did not appear with 17 American POWs the money would still be intact, in neutral hands. But to deny me the opportunity to enact the privately offered reward is inexcusable."

Bruce Adams says the evidence is clear that there ARE Americans still held captive in Southeast Asia. "I really don't know if Steve is one of them, but SOMEONE'S brother is. We as a nation owe those men our best efforts to secure their release and return. I could not face myself if I did not do everything in my power to help bring them home."

The crew of the UH16 received promotions during the period they were maintained Missing in Action: Angstadt and Rackley were promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel; Long to the rank of Captain; Clark and Hill to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant; Shoneck to the rank of Senior Master Sergeant; and Adams to the rank of Master Sergeant.

There is no available information on the downed crewman the Albatross was sent to rescue.

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