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[Spacer] [Air Force - .8K] David Hugh Holmes
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[POW - .3K]  Missing In Action   [POW - .3K] 

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  • Name: David Hugh Holmes
  • Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
    (Promoted to O5 while in Missing status.)
  • 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 1060821E (XD214536)
  • Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
  • Category: 2
  • Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O1E Cessna
  • Other Personnel in Incident: John Michel Nash; Glenn McElroy
    (both missing on OV-1)
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    [Up - .1K] [Spacer] SYNOPSIS [Spacer] [Down  - .1K]

    SYNOPSIS: Captain 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
    troops 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 aboard.

    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
    since 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 oppor-
    tunity 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 and
    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 Avn. Battalion.
    The 131st was known as "Nighthawks", and was a surveillance aircraft company.

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