Allen Jones Avery
Remains Returned List - 1997
|SYNOPSIS: On the afternoon of April 2, 1972, two Thailand-based EB66 aircraft (Bat 21
and Bat 22), from the 30th Air Division, were flying pathfinder escort for a cell of B52s
bombing near the DMZ. Bat 21 took a direct SAM hit and the plane went down. A single
beeper signal was heard, that of navigator Col. Iceal Hambleton. At this time it was
assumed the rest of the crew died in the crash. The crew included Maj. Wayne L. Bolte,
pilot; 1Lt. Robin F. Gatwood, LtCol. Anthony R. Giannangeli, LtCol. Charles A. Levis,
and Maj. Henry M. Serex, all crew members. It should be noted that the lowest ranking
man aboard this plane was Gatwood, a First Lieutenant. This was not an ordinary crew,
and its members, particularly Hambleton, would be a prize capture for the enemy because
of military knowledge they possessed.
It became critical, therefore, that the U.S. locate Hambleton, and any other surviving
An Army search and rescue team was nearby and dispatched two UH1H "slicks" and
The following day, Nail 38, an OV10A equipped with electronic rescue gear enabling
On April 3, the day Nail 38 was shot down, a UH1H "slick" went down in the same area carrying a crew of four enlisted Army personnel. They had no direct connection to the rescue of Bat 21, but were very probably shot down by the same SAM installations that downed Bat 21. The helicopter, from H/HQ, 37th Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade, had left Marble Mountain Airfield, Da Nang, on a standard resupply mission to signal units in and around Quang Tri City. The crew, consisting of WO Douglas L. O'Neil, pilot; W2 Larry A. Zich, co-pilot; SP5 Allen D. Christensen, crew chief; and SP4 Edward W. Williams, gunner; remain missing in action.
On April 6, an attempt was made to pick up Clark and Hambleton which resulted in
an HH53C helicopter being shot down. The chopper was badly hit. The helicopter landed
On April 7 another Air Force OV10A went down in the area with Larry Potts and Bruce Walker aboard. Walker, the Air Force pilot of the aircraft, evaded capture 11 days, while it is reported that Potts was captured and died in Quang Binh prison. Potts, the observer, was a Marine Corps officer. Walker's last radio transmission to search and rescue was for SAR not to make an attempt to rescue, the enemy was closing in. Both men remain unaccounted for.
Hambleton and Clark were rescued after 12 incredible days. Hambleton continually
changed positions and reported on enemy activity as he went, even to the extent of
In July 1986, the daughter of Henry Serex learned that, one week after all search and
rescue had been "called off" for Bat 21, another mission was mounted to recover
"another downed crewmember" from Bat 21. She doesn't know whether or not it is her
father or another man on the EB66 aircraft. No additional information has been released.
In Vietnam, to most fighting men, the man that fought beside them, whether in the air
What defies logic and explaination, however, is that the government that sent these
Thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. Government indicating that
Americans are still alive, in captivity in Southeast Asia. It has been over 25 years