King, Michael Eli, SP 4

Fallen
 
 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Specialist 4
Last Service Branch
Ordnance Corps
Last Primary MOS
67A-Aircraft Maintenance Apprentice
Last MOS Group
Aviation (Enlisted)
Primary Unit
1970-1971, 67A, 158th Aviation Battalion (Assault Helicopter)
Service Years
1970 - 1971

Specialist 4



One Overseas Service Bar


 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Georgia
Georgia
Year of Birth
1949
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by LTC Roger Gaines to remember King, Michael Eli, SP 4.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Calhoun
Last Address
Calhoun

Casualty Date
Mar 05, 1971
 
Cause
Hostile, Died while Missing
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Laos
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Fain Cemetery - Calhoun, Georgia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Sec 4W, 24

 Official Badges 




 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  1971, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page


 Ribbon Bar

Aviation Badge (Basic)

 
 Unit Assignments
101st Airborne Division 158th Aviation Battalion (Assault Helicopter)
  1970-1971, 101st Airborne Division
  1970-1971, 67A, 158th Aviation Battalion (Assault Helicopter)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1970-1971 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VII Campaign (1970-71)
  1971-1971 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VII Campaign (1970-71)/Operation Lam Son 719
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity


Lam Son 719 was a large-scale offensive against enemy communications lines which was conducted in that part of Laos adjacent to the two northern provinces of South Vietnam. The South Vietnamese would provide and command ground forces, while U.S. forces would furnish airlift and supporting fire. Phase I, renamed Operation Dewey Canyon II, involved an armored attack by the U.S. from Vandegrift base camp toward Khe Sanh, while the ARVN moved into position for the attack across the Laotian border. Phase II began with an ARVN helicopter assault and armored brigade thrust along Route 9 into Laos. ARVN ground troops were transported by American helicopters, while U.S. Air Force provided cover strikes around the landing zones. On March 5, 1971, during one of these maneuvers, a UH1H helicopter (tail #67-17341) was in a flight of ten aircraft on a combat assault mission in Savannakhet Province, Laos. The crew of the aircraft consisted of WO Ralph A. Moreira Jr., pilot; Capt. David L. Nelson, aircraft commander; SP4 Michael E. King, door gunner; and SP4 Joel C. Hatley, crew chief. While on its final approach to Landing Zone Sophia, and at the time the pilot should have been making his final turn, Nelson radioed that the aircraft had been hit in the fuel cell and that the door gunner had been wounded in the head. He then said they would attempt to return to the fire support base on the same flight path as previously briefed. After the other aircraft had disembarked their troops and were on their way back to the fire support base, some of the other crewmen said they saw a chopper believed to be that commanded by Nelson burst into flames, crash and explode. As soon as the ball of flame was observed, attempts to make radio contact were made with no success. No formal air to ground search was attempted because of enemy anti-aircraft fire and ground activity in the area. All aboard the aircraft were declared Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered. In 1988 a former officer in the Royal Lao Army, Somdee Phommachanh, stated on national television that he was held captive along with two Americans at a prison camp in northern Laos. The Americans had been brought to the camp at Houay Ling in 1978. One day Somdee found one of the prisoners dead in his cell. Somdee identified the American very positively from a photo. His name, he said, was David Nelson. Nelson was Somdee's friend and he would not forget him. Somdee buried his friend with all the care he would a cherished loved one, given his limited ability as a prisoner of war. Although Somdee has been threatened, he has stuck to his story. Nelson's family is grateful to know his fate, but outraged that David Nelson died over FIVE YEARS after American troops left Southeast Asia and the President of the United States had announced that 'all American prisoners of war had been released.' The U.S. Government did not inform the other families of this development. January 5-10, 1990, a joint USLao team excavated the site of the crash of the helicopter lost on March 5, 1971. Not one piece of aircraft was found.
   
Comments/Citation
Not Specified
   
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