Last Known Activity|
On 31 January 1970, Captain Paul Barkley Bowman was aboard a helicopter that was shot down north of Tay Ninh in an area called “Mo Con Woods.” The area was called Mo Con Woods because it was heavily forested with sparse civilian population and the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) used this area for infiltration across the Cambodia border, which was close by.
The day before a helicopter was on a recon mission in that same area when it took ground fire from a 12.7mm antiaircraft gun. The helicopter was able to get away without taking any hit. It was believed an estimated battalion sized force was in the area getting ready for a broader dry season offensive in the Tay Ninh area.
On 31 January 1970, A, B, and C Company, 3rd Battalion, 22nd Infantry from the 25th Infantry Division were airlifted by Hueys into the area. The force expected heavy casualties with B Company having one killed-in-action (KIA) the day before and C Company had eight to ten wounded-in actions (WIAs).
Many of the NVA soldiers melted back across the border, but those fighting a rear guard action were emplaced in heavily fortified bunkers. With U.S. forces on the ground taking heavy fire Huey helicopter UH-1H (tail number 68-15462) carrying Captain Bowman made a heroic approach at treetop level to drop CS gas and to put down suppressive machinegun fire on the enemy to root them out of the bunkers. The helicopter was shot down with a total lost of lives onboard. The efforts of all onboard the helicopter saved the lives of many soldiers on the ground that day.
Seven soldiers died in that crash, four aircrew members and three passengers. Those that were killed were from B Company, 25th Aviation Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, CW2 Ronald Joe Fulton, pilot; 2LT Michael Lorrell Arrants, copilot; SGT John Thomas Rodgers, gunner; SGT Jerald Dale West, crew chief; and passenger from Headquarter Headquarters Company, 25th Infantry Division CPT John Lawrence Beek; CPT Paul Barkley Bowman, and CPT Jerry David Denny.