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Sons of The American Legion Squadron 1 Henry DeHaven Moorman................. American Legion Post 1

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Name: William Patrick "Billy" Milliner
Rank/Branch: Chief Warrant Officer 3/US Army
Unit: Troop B, 7th Squadron,
1st Cavalry, 164th Aviation Group
Khe Sanh Airbase, South Vietnam
Date of Birth: 12 June 1950
Home of Record: Louisville, KY
Date of Loss: 06 March 1971
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 164204N 1063359E (XD670470)
Status in 1973: Missing In Action
Category: 1
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: AH1G ""Cobra"
Other Personnel in Incident: John F. Hummel (missing)

SYNOPSIS: The first Bell AH1G Cobra helicopter gunships arrived in Vietnam
on 1 September 1967 and since it carried both guns and rockets, it was a
major step forward in the development of the armed helicopter. The Cobra had
enough speed to meet the escort mission perimeters, tandem seating, better
armor, and a better weapons system than any previous helicopter of its day.
By 1970-1, the Cobra's armament included the 2.75-inch rocket with a
17-pound warhead, the very effective 2.75-inch flachette rocket, and the
SX-35 20mm cannon which made it a truly powerful aircraft.

On 6 March 1971, WO John F. Hummel, pilot, and then WO William P. Milliner,
co-pilot, comprised the crew of an AH1G Cobra gunship (serial #67-15464),
call sign "Writer 25," that was the number 2 aircraft in an original flight
of five - 4 Cobra gunships and 1 Huey chase helicopter. Their flight was
flying a combat support mission to provide air cover for a late afternoon
search and rescue (SAR) mission to pick up a seven-man American aircrew
downed during a combat mission against the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Hoc Bao
tribesmen who were sent into find and secure them.

The area of loss was on the north side of a very long, narrow jungle covered
valley that generally ran in a northwest to southeast direction through Laos
and ended to the east at the Lao/South Vietnamese border. The target area of
the SAR operation was approximately 3 miles south of Muang Xepon, Laos; 12
miles west of the Lao/South Vietnamese border and 29 miles west of Khe Sanh.
Highway 9 ran along the northern edge of the valley with rugged mountains
rising just to the north and continued on through Laos into South Vietnam
where the highway passed approximately 1 mile north of Khe Sanh.

This area of eastern Laos was considered a major artery of the infamous Ho
Chi Minh Trail. When North Vietnam began to increase its military strength
in South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos
for sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some
years before. This border road was used by the Communists to transport
weapons, supplies and troops from North Vietnam into South Vietnam, and was
frequently no more than a path cut through the jungle covered mountains. US
forces used all assets available to them to stop this flow of men and
supplies from moving south into the war zone.

Approximately 5 minutes after takeoff, one of the Cobra gunships experienced
a DC generator failure and returned to the flight's staging area at Lang Vei
- approximately 7 miles west-southwest of Khe Sanh and 1 1Ž2 miles east of the
border. The rest of the flight continued on with their mission. The on site
FAC, call sign Serpent 20, held the SAR and support aircraft in holding
patterns as he established the exact location of the downed aircrew and the
Hoc Bao with their position was confirmed as darkness approached. Writer
lead released one Cobra gunship and the chase ship to return to base ahead
of the rest of the flight because they were not equipped for night flight.
Shortly thereafter the remaining two gunships were cleared in to lay down
suppressive fire while the SAR aircraft extracted the downed aircrew and Hoc
Bao tribesmen. Once the mission was completed, Serpent 20 released Writer 25
and 28 to return to base.

At about 2000 hours, while enroute back to Khe Sanh, Quang Tri Province,
South Vietnam, the weather turned hazy. Approximately 9 miles west of the
base the fight encountered a cloudbank that reached to 4,000 feet. WO George
Downing, the pilot of the lead aircraft, notified Khe Sanh ground control
that both gunships were planning to use a ground control approach (GCA)
because it was now dark and low level flying through the mountains around
the base was too risky.

Approximately two minutes later WO James Davis, the co-pilot of the lead
aircraft, again contacted Khe Sanh GCA and was told to climb to 5,000 feet
and make a left turn to a heading of 020 degrees. WO Hummel was still flying
in a normal wingman formation with the lead aircraft at this time and
roughly 11Ž2 miles apart; but no radio contact could be established between
the two aircraft. GCA then vectored the flight to descend to 4,000 feet and
come to a heading of 070 degrees. After a descending turn was initiated WO2
Downing saw WO Hummel's aircraft pass over the top of their aircraft from
right to left and continued in a northwesterly direction. This heading took
Writer 25 back toward Laos. Further, this separation occurred in the clear,
just before the flight leader entered the cloud layer at a distance of about
6 miles northwest of Khe Sanh and roughly 1 kilometer from the village of
Dong Ha Pec. This was the last visual sighting of Writer 25. After landing
George Downing and James Davis reported to the ground control center to
monitor the situation.

When Writer 25 did not land in a timely manner, ground control contacted all
airfields, GCAs and outposts in the area where the gunship might have
diverted to. In preparation for initiating SAR efforts at first light, the
last known course of Writer 25 was plotted along with anticipating when the
aircraft's fuel supply would be exhausted. Based on these calculations, the
Army believed WO Hummel and WO Milliner aircraft could have gone down in the
rugged jungle covered mountains approximately 2 miles east of the border,
and 14 miles west-northwest of Khe Sanh.

Beginning at first light several extensive ground and aerial searches were
conducted along Writer 25's flight path in and over the countryside between
their base and the South Vietnamese/Lao border. During the two-day search
operation no emergency beepers were heard and no trace of the missing
aircraft or its crew was found. At the time formal search efforts were
terminated, both John Hummel and William Milliner were listed Missing in

Since 1989, Billy Milliner has been the subject of a "dogtag report" that
included his correct social security number and several live sighting
reports. All of these reports indicated he was a prisoner of war in Laos
rather then in South Vietnam. Some of them referred to him as being held in
a group of 13 American POWs while other reports only mentioned him.
Likewise, these reports have been provided to the US Government as well as
to WO Milliner's family. The most recent of these reports was received in
1999. If these reports are true, then there is no question that the
communists can return Billy Milliner any time they wish to. Further, if they
know the fate of the Cobra's co-pilot, then they most certainly also know
the fate of its pilot, John Hummel.

Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American
prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our
government. Many of these reports document LIVE America Prisoners of War
remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.

If you know of a photo of John Douglas Hale please let me know so I can add it.

Name: John Douglas Hale
Rank/Branch: 1st Lieutenant/US Army
Unit: Troop B, 2nd Squadron,
17th Cavalry,
101st Airborne Division
Date of Birth: 07 December 1942 (Louisville, KY)
Home of Record: Brandenburg, KY
Date of Loss: 08 March 1971
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 162319N1070333E (YD199129)
Status in 1973: Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: OH6A "Cayuse"
Other Personnel in Incident: Robert E. Grantham (missing)

SYNOPSIS: The Hughes OH6A Cayuse was known by the troops by its nickname
"Loach" - a derivative of "light observation helicopter." The armed OH6A was
the primary scout helicopter used in Vietnam and usually carried a crew of
two. The pilot controlled a mini-gun and a gunner/crew chief handled a "free
60" machine gun, among other weapons, which was attached to the aircraft by
a strap. The Loach crews flew the most dangerous missions assigned to Army
aviators because they flew low and usually slow enough to get a good look at
the ground making them easy targets for the enemy.

On 8 March 1971, 1st Lt. John D. Hale, pilot, and Cpl. Robert E. Grantham,
observer, comprised the crew of an OH6A helicopter (serial #67-16645)
conducting an armed reconnaissance mission around Tiger Mountain in the
infamous A Shau Valley, Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. Other aircraft
involved in this mission included an AH1G Cobra gunship and a UH1H Huey
helicopter as the control aircraft.

During the mission, the crew of the OH6A attempted to start a fire by
dropping incinerary grenades on a hilltop to flush out enemy troops hiding
in the dense jungle below. Later when they made a pass over the area to see
if the fire had started, they began receiving ground fire. The crew of the
AH1G gunship saw the gunfire muzzle flashes and engaged a target while
instructing John Hale to break away. The pilot radioed after he changed
direction, "I'm taking fire from 3 o'clock." The AH1G gunship then broke off
from the first source of gunfire to engage the second. At that time both the
Loach and Cobra gunship pilots reported taking enemy ground fire.

During the next radio transmission, John Hale reported that his aircraft was
hit, was going down, and asked if the other aircrews had them in sight. The
AH1G gunship did see the Loach and called the Huey control ship to confirm
the sighting. Unfortunately, in the chaos of the battle, the Huey's crew was
unable to visually locate the damaged aircraft. In an attempt to assist the
gunship pilot to see the OH6A, the crew of the Cobra began dropping white
phosphorous grenades to help illuminate the area.

At the time John Hale called they were going down, his aircraft seemed to
come apart and begin spinning, as if it had a tail rotor failure. Numerous
objects were seen flying out of the aircraft while it was spinning, and
according to members of the other aircrews, they believed those things were
being jettisoned by Cpl. Grantham in order to lighten the aircraft in the
hope of regaining control and altitude. The spinning slowed at about 500
feet above the ground, but increased again prior to impact. The aircraft
exploded upon impact with the ground.

The Huey flew over the crash site and hovered there, looking for survivors,
but due to intense enemy small arms fire, it was forced to depart the area.
It returned again, but saw no trace of either crewman. The largest part of
the aircraft that could be seen was what appeared to be the left engine
door. An electronic search for the downed crew was conducted, but was
unsuccessful. No ground search was possible because of the intense enemy
activity in the area of loss. John Hale was listed Killed in Action/Body Not
Recovered while Robert Grantham was listed Missing in Action.

While the fate of Robert Grantham and John Hale seems in little doubt, they
have the right to have their remains returned to their families, friends and
country if they in fact died in the crash of their aircraft. On the other
hand, if they survived the crash, they most certainly would have been
captured by the Communists and their fate, like that of many other Americans
who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, could be quite different.

Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American
prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our
government. Many of these reports document LIVE America Prisoners of War
remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.

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