Thanks to Joni's Patriotic Graphics.
Page Is Dedicated To
David H. Holmes
|Thanks to Joni's Patriotic Graphics.
- Name: David Hugh Holmes
- Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
- Date of Birth: 26 March 1938
- Home City of Record: Belmont MA
(family in Billings MT)
- Date of Loss: 15 March 1966
- Country of Loss: Laos
- Loss Coordinates: 164548N
- Status (in 1973): Missing in
- Category: 2
- Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O1E
- Other Personnel in Incident:
John Michel Nash; Glenn McElroy (both missing on OV-1)
David Holmes was flying FAC (Forward Air Control) on an O1E "Bird Dog" aircraft
in Laos on March 15, 1966. His radio call sign was "Hound Dog 54: on this "Tiger
Hound" operation. Holmes was flying over a large concentration of NVA toops
maintaining a truck park along the Ho Chi Minh Trail when his plane was struck by
anti-aircraft fire from at least one of the 6 gun emplacements and crashed into the
foliage on the east side of the Se Nam Kok River valley about 300 meters from the village
of Ban Keng Khan Kao.
|Another O1E, call
sign "Hound Dog 50" was dispatched immediately and observed Holmes, apparently
unconscious, sitting in the cockpit of his plane. At this time (2:35 p.m.), Hound Dog 50
also observed the OV-1 Mohawk flown by Michel Nash and Glenn McElroy enter the line of
enemy fire on the west side of the valley. The OV-1 was shot down with Nash and McElroy
Because of the plane losses and the discovery of the troops and gun emplacements, F-4's
(call sign Oxwood 95) and A1E Skyraiders were called in and the ensuing battle raged for
4-5 hours that afternoon in the operational area known as "ECHO".
On March 16, a search and rescue team flew to the crash site of David Holmes' O1E and
found the plane empty. Their report states that he was either removed from the plane or
left under his own power. URC-10 emergency radio signals were heard four times in the next
6 days, but it was thought that the signals were initiated by the enemy as voice contact
was never made. Holmes, Nash and McElroy all had URC-10 radios.
Just over 20 years from the day the two aircraft went down, U.S. teams had the opportunity
to examine and excavate the crash site of Nash and McElroy's OV1A. There was no shred of
evidence that anyone died in the aircraft. No human remains or bone fragments were found.
In 1973, 591 Americans were released from prisons in Vietnam. Holmes, Nash McElroy were
not among them, nor were nearly 2500 other Americans who went missing in Southeast Asia.
Of this 2500, nearly 600 are missing in Laos. No prisoners held in Laos were released in
1973, nor has there ever been any agreement reached which would free them.
Were there not thousands of reports indicating hundreds of Americans are still held
captive in Southeast Asia, America might be able to close this chapter of the Vietnam war.
But if there is even ONE American prisoner, we cannot forget. We must bring them home.
NOTE: The 20th Aviation Detachment existed until December 1966, at which time it was
reassigned as the 131st Aviation Company, 223rd Aviation Battalion (Combat Support). The
131st Aviation Company had been assigned to I Corps Aviation Battalion since June 1966,
when it arrived in Vietnam. In August 1967, the 131st Aviation Company was reassigned to
the 212th Aviation Battalion where it remained until July 1971, whereupon it transferred
out of Vietnam.
There were a large number of pilots lost from this unit, including Thaddeus E. Williams
and James P. Schimberg (January 9, 1966); John M. Nash and Glenn D. McElroy (March 15,
1966); James W. Gates and John W. Lafayette (April 6, 1966); Robert G. Nopp and Marshall
Kipina (July 14, 1966); Jimmy M. Brasher and Robert E. Pittman (September 28, 1966); James
M. Johnstone and James L. Whited (November 19, 1966); Larry F. Lucas (December 20, 1966);
and Jack W. Brunson and Clinton A. Musil (May 31, 1971). Missing OV1 aircraft crew from
the 20th/131st represent well over half of those lost on OV1 aircraft during the war.
U.S. Army records list both Nopp and Kipina as part of the "131st Aviation Company,
14th Aviation Battalion", yet according to "Order of Battle" by Shelby
Stanton, a widely recognized military source, this company was never assigned to the 14th
Aviation Battalion. The 131st was known as "Nighthawks", and was a surveillance
Biographical and loss information on POWs provided by Operation Just Cause have been
supplied by Chuck and Mary Schantag of POWNET. Please check with POWNET
regularly for updates."
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