Spann, James Hall, CPT

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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
1980-Fixed Wing Aviation Unit Commander
Last MOS Group
Aviation (Officer)
Primary Unit
1971-1971, 1980, 131st Military Intelligence Company
Service Years
1966 - 1971



Three Overseas Service Bars

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This Military Service Page was created/owned by CW2 Phillip M. Kemp (Mike) to remember Spann, James Hall, 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
Last Address

Casualty Date
Nov 26, 1971
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Thua Thien (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
02W 074

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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Officer Candidate School (Armor) Fort Knox, KY1st Aviation Brigade212th Aviation Battalion
  1966-1967, 6, Officer Candidate School (Armor) Fort Knox, KY
  1971-1971, 1980, 1st Aviation Brigade
  1971-1971, 1980, 212th Aviation Battalion
  1971-1971, 1980, 131st Military Intelligence Company
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1971-1971 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase VII Campaign (1970-71)
  1971-1971 Vietnam War/Consolidation I Campaign (1971)
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  Tribute From Daughter
  Tribute From Fellow Pilot
  Nov 28, 2014, General Photos3
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Service Number:  XXXXX2913

Editor's Note:
Capt Spann was the twin brother of Daryl Spann (4th Platoon Leader, 220th), and had served a previous tour in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot. It's unknown what unit he flew helicopters with. However, it seems at some point in 1969 both brothers flew together with the 220th Aviation Co. which was a fixed-wing (Surveillance Airplane Light) unit.

During his second tour he flew Mohawk OV-1Bs with the 131st Military Intelligence Company (131st Aviation Co. until July 1, 1971).
Per the below account by another member of his unit, the Mohawk he crashed in was #59-2634.
Status: Killed In Action from an incident on 11/26/1971 while performing the duty of Pilot.
Flight class: 67-20
Short Summary: Lost engine and crashed at Phu Bai.
Aircraft: OV-1
Primary cause: A/C Accident
Started Tour: 06/20/1971
Military grid coordinates of event: YD864153
married male U.S. citizen
Race: Caucasian
Religion: Protestant - no denominational preference
This record was last updated on 08/28/2002

Additional information is available on CD-ROM.

Please send additions or corrections to: The VHPA Webmaster Gary Roush.

Date posted on this site: 10/14/2014

Copyright © 1998 - 2014 Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association


CPT James H. Spann [Pilot]
SP4 Lawrence C. Smith [Observer]

Body Was Recovered

Michael  Morgan
served in his unit
Rapid City SD 57702 USA
I was there with Capt. Spann in the 131st MI Co when his plane crashed on take off killing him and his TO PFC Smith. I was a crew chief on the �??B�?? line of SLAR ships that James and his identical twin brother Darryl flew in many times. I sent both of them off on missions many times though I wasn�??t the one who sent him off on that mission on that morning. I remember coming to formation that morning and I could tell something was up because the CO and 1st Sgt. weren�??t there in front like they usually were. They did pull up through the front gate in a jeep just before formation started. Darryl was in the back seat of the jeep and his face was in his hands and when he looked up I could see he had been crying as his eyes where very red and glassy. It was then that I saw Marvin T Reeves, my good friend and crew chief of 59-2634 the OV-1 Mohawk AKA Spud 10 as we knew that plane as, and he to was crying and he told me that his plane had gone down with Capt. Spann at the controls. I had know Marvin or Turtle as we all called him for many years as I had been stationed with him at 293 Avn Co in Ft. Hood Texas before we both got orders to Vietnam. I had helped Turtle work on that plane many times and there was not a more dedicated crew chief on the B line that made sure his plane was ready to fly every time it went out on mission. But it was really tough on him and he took this very personal as we all did. This was without a doubt the toughest loss I experienced in Vietnam for a few more reasons than the other losses we had. First with a family member of the person we loss being there and seeing them grieving really brought this death into the hard and tough interior that we all had developed to deal with death during a war. The second thing is that the plane crashed just outside the perimeter in a village and we all had to go over there and pick up the pieces of the aircraft and some of the body parts of Capt. Spann. The other planes we lost either crashed in the ocean or in a far away jungle or a mountainside and we never saw the people or planes again, they just weren�??t there anymore. PFC Smith had ejected just as the plane crashed, but he died because he didn�??t get out of the plane in enough time for the ejection seat to work properly. He was alive and had crashed through the roof of one of the hooch houses in that village but died shortly after help had arrived. The amazing thing was that nobody on the ground was killed. The plane landed right in the middle of a community rice paddy with houses all around it on all sides very close to where that plane went down. I would like to think that James Spann stayed at the controls all the way down to make sure that plane landed where it did. I am sorry to read from one of the comments below that Darryl too has now passed. I visited my friend Marvin Reeves in Macon Georgia in 2000, and he still feels the pain of that plane crash. They assembled all the pieces of that plane in one of the stalls of our hanger and we all had to walk by it everyday, which was another reason this crash and death stayed with us all after all these many years. They never did figure out was caused the crash, though some hot shot pilot from the States come over and did some test on takeoff something about putting on the auto pilot to soon after take off. I watched the test on takeoff and the very first time he did what he did on takeoff from the right seat that plane almost fell out of the sky too. They did a few more takeoffs but every time after that the pilot was ready for what happened ant it didn�??t look a dramatic as the first takeoff and they came to the conclusion it wasn�??t the fault of the crash. We will never know for sure what happened on that day but the OV-1 Grumman Mohawk does have the distinction of being called the Widow Maker. God rest their souls as you are gone my comrades but not forgotten.
Dec 18, 2010


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