Christensen, Allen Duane, SFC Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Sergeant First Class
Last Service Branch
Aviation
Last Primary MOS
67N-UH-1 Helicopter Repairer
Last MOS Group
Aviation (Enlisted)
Last Unit
1972-Present, POW/MIA
Service Years
- 1979
Unofficial US Army Certificates
Cold War Certificate



Sergeant First Class


 Last Photo   Personal Details 


Home State
South Dakota
South Dakota
Year of Birth
1947
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
Not Specified
Last Address
Flandreau

Casualty Date
Jan 08, 1979
 
Cause
Hostile, Died while Missing
Reason
Unknown, Not Reported
Location
Vietnam
Conflict
Vietnam War/Unspecified Operation
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
02W 128

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 

Cold War Medal


 Tributes from Members  
Sister's Remberance posted by AV Brown, David (Doc), CW4 3
My Friend posted by AV Brown, David (Doc), CW4 3
 Photo Album   (More...


 Ribbon Bar

Aviation Badge (Basic)


 
 Unit Assignments
37th Signal Battalion1st Signal BrigadePOW/MIA
  1972-1972, 37th Signal Battalion
  1972-1972, 1st Signal Brigade
  1972-Present, POW/MIA
 Combat and Operations History
  1945-1989 Cold War (1945-1989)
  1971-1972 Vietnam War/Consolidation II Campaign 1 December 1971 to 29 March 1972 VSM Streamer
  1971-1975 Vietnam War
  1972-1973 Vietnam War/Cease-Fire Campaign 30 March 1972 to 28 January 1973 VSM Streamer
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
MIA 04/03/1972 CHRISTENSEN ALLEN DUANE
 01/08/1979 Status: Presumptive finding of death


Name: Allen Duane Christensen
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army
Unit: H/Hq Detachment, 37th Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade
Date of Birth: 27  August 1947
Home City of Record: Fandreau SD
Loss Date: 03 April 1972
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 164458N 1071109E (YD330530)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H
Refno: 1814

Personnel in Incident: April 2: Robin F. Gatwood; Wayne L. Bolte; Anthony
Giannangeli; Charles A. Levis; Henry M. Serex; (all missing from the EB66).
LtCol. Iceal Hambleton (rescued after 12 days from EB66). Ronald P.
Paschall; Byron K. Kulland; John W. Frink (all missing from UH1H rescue
helicopter), Jose M. Astorga (captured and released in 1973 from UH1H).
April 3: William J. Henderson (captured and released in 1973 from OV10A
rescue craft); Mark Clark (rescued after 12 days from OV10A rescue craft).
April 6: James H. Alley; Allen J. Avery; Peter H. Chapman; John H. Call;
William R. Pearson; Roy D. Prater (all KIA/BNR from HH53C "Jolly 52" rescue
chopper). Also in very close proximity to "Bat 21"on April 3: Allen D.
Christensen; Douglas L. O'Neil; Edward W. Williams; Larry A. Zich (all
missing from UH1H).  April 7: Bruce Charles Walker (evaded 11 days); Larry
F. Potts (captured & died in POW camp) (both missing from OV10A).

Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S.
Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families,
published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 1998.

REMARKS:

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 crew members before the Vietnamese did - and the Vietnamese were
trying hard to find them first.

An Army search and rescue team was nearby and dispatched two UH1H "slicks"
and two UH1B "Cobras". When they approached Hambleton's position just before
dark, at about 50 feet off the ground, with one of the AH1G Cobra gunships
flying at 300 feet for cover, two of the helicopters were shot down. One,
the Cobra (Blue Ghost 28) reached safety and the crew was picked up, without
having seen the other downed helicopter. The other, a UH1H from F Troop, 8th
Cavalry, 196th Brigade, had just flown over some huts into a clearing when
they encountered ground fire, and the helicopter exploded. Jose Astorga, the
gunner, was injured in the chest and knee by the gunfire. Astorga became
unconscious, and when he recovered, the helicopter was on the ground. He
found the pilot, 1Lt. Byron K. Kulland, lying outside the helicopter. WO
John W. Frink, the co-pilot, was strapped in his seat and conscious. The
crew chief, SP5 Ronald P. Paschall, was pinned by his leg in the helicopter,
but alive. WO Franks urged Astorga to leave them, and Astorga was captured.
He soon observed the aircraft to be hit by automatic weapons fire, and to
explode with the rest of the crew inside. He never saw the rest of the crew
again. Astorga was relesed by the North Vietnamese in 1973.

The following day, Nail 38, an OV10A equipped with electronic rescue gear
enabling its crew to get a rapid "fix" on its rescue target entered
Hambleton's area and was shot down. The crew, William J. Henderson and Mark
Clark, both parachuted out safely. Henderson was captured and released in
1973. Clark evaded for 12 days and was subsequently rescued.

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.

CW2 Larry A. Zich, aircraft commander; CW2 Douglas L. O'Neill, pilot; SGT Allen D. Christensen, crew chief; and SP4 Edward W. Williams, door gunner; comprised the crew of an UH1H helicopter on a routine resupply mission to signal units in and around Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. They were flying from Marble Mountain northwest to Quang Tri City when the aircraft disappeared.

According to after action reports, the pilot contacted ground control at Hue/Phu Bai Airbase at 0945 hours stating that he could not get a ground fix to confirm their location because of heavy ground cover. He added that while he was not certain of his location, he believed they were in the Quang Tri area. Ground control had voice contact with the aircraft, but it did not appear on their radar. This in itself was not abnormal since helicopter pilots flying under this condition would flying at an altitude below that which radar could track him. By 1010 hours, Quang Tri ground control had lost contact with the aircraft and its crew entirely. 

An extensive search and rescue (SAR) operation was launched the next morning for the missing Huey in the suspected area of loss. However, the region searched was described as "bound by Hue on the south, Highway QL-1 on the west, the coast line on the east and Quang Tri City on the north." The terrain in this sector is open, flat coastal plain covered with rice fields, roads and waterways of all sizes. It is also densely populated. The location of the aircraft's actual loss is to the west of Quang Tri City and no where near where the search took place.   The crew was never recovered, and were all listed as 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 its side and continued to burn, consuming the
entire craft, and presumably, all 6 men aboard. The crew of this aircraft
consisted of James H. Alley; Allen J. Avery, John H. Call III, Peter H.
Chapman, William R. Pearson, and Roy D. Prater. Search and rescue noted no
signs of survivors, but it is felt that the Vientamese probably know the
fate of this crew because of the close proximity of the downed aircraft to
enemy locations.

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 calling in close air strikes near his position. He was
tracked by a code he devised relating to the length and lie direction of
various golf holes he knew well. Another 20 or so Americans were not so
fortunate.

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. When the movie "Bat 21" was
released, she was horrified to learn that virtually no mention of the rest
of the crew, including her father, was made.
   
Comments/Citation
Vietnam Wall Panel coords 02W 128
   
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