Finch, Melvin Wayne, CPT

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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Engineer Corps
Last Primary MOS
1981-Rotary Wing Aviation Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Aviation (Officer)
Primary Unit
1972-1972, 1981, POW/MIA
Service Years
1965 - 1972

Engineer Corps


One Overseas Service Bar

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SGT Bruce Murr to remember Finch, Melvin Wayne, CPT.

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
New Iberia
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
Sep 06, 1972
Hostile, Died while Captured
Gun, Small Arms Fire
Kontum (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
02W 125

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  1982, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Aviator Badge (Basic)

 Unit Assignments
7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry 1st Aviation BrigadePOW/MIA
  1972-1972, 1981, 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry /B Troop
  1972-1972, 1981, 1st Aviation Brigade
  1972-1972, 1981, POW/MIA
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1972-1972 Vietnam War/Consolidation II Campaign (1971-72)
  1972-1972 Vietnam War/Cease-Fire Campaign (1972-73)
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
The Hughes Aircraft OH-6A 'Loach' helicopter was envisioned as an all-purpose helicopter to perform such duties as personnel or cargo transport, light ground attack or casualty evacuation, observation, and photographic reconnaissance. In South Vietnam, the Loach proved most effective at visual reconnaissance, searching out signs of the enemy in even heavily defended areas. Its crew peered through gaps in the jungle canopy in search of tracks, cooking fires, huts, or other signs of the enemy as the light helicopter skimmed the treetops.

CAPT Melvin W. Finch was onboard an OH-6A (tail number 
OH-6A tail number 68-17200) on a combat mission in South Vietnam on March 30, 1972. The mission was a recon of a bunker-hooch complex about 12 miles west-southwest of Kontum.

During the mission, small arms fire from one of the hooches downed the helicopter. Finch and SP4 Blackwood, also on the aircraft, got out of the crashed helicopter alive. Finch was dazed and injured and had blood on his face and in his eyes.

As he departed the aircraft he began running toward enemy fire. Blackwood was unable to get his attention to alert him to run the other way. Blackwood crawled 30 meters to a nearby road and was rescued. CAPT Finch was alive the last time he was seen, and the Department of Defense gave him an enemy knowledge category of '1' which indicates the enemy certainly did know his fate.

However, Finch was not listed Prisoner of War, but Missing in Action. In February 1974, after 591 Americans had been released from prison camps in Vietnam, released ARVN POWs reported and identified Finch and returnee Reeder as two U.S. Army captains they had been held with before the two Americans were moved north.

Other unspecified information indicates that Finch died in captivity with other Americans in Quang Binh Province (just north of the DMZ) in September 1972. Melvin Finch's final classification by the Department of Defense was Killed or Died in Captivity. Although the U.S. is certain the Vietnamese could account for him, they continue to deny any knowledge of him.

(Note: It was later learned that CAPT Melvin W. Finch died of dysentery in September 1972 while a POW on Ho Chi Minh Trail being taken north.

This information came from ARVN who was with him. His remains were returned 14 August 1985)
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