Staff Sergeant Adkins had been living in Barnesville, OH when he entered the service and was a member of Troop B, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. On February 2, 1968, he was a passenger in a Bell Iroquois Utility Helicopter (UH-1H) on an administrative trip from Chu Lai to Da Nang, South Vietnam. Contact was lost when the aircraft was 12 miles north of Da Nang. His remains were never recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.
Staff Sgt. Adkins was listed as a MIA for several years by the DoD. This MIA case was brought before the Senate Select Committee in 1992, but no action was taken, although no body has been recovered, of SSgt Adkins and the other 5 crew members or passengers in this helicopter. The helicopter was found "burning" two months later, but no bodies, or bones, were recovered, however the tail rotor showed that this was indeed SSgt Adkins helicopter. SSgt Adkins had a horse, who remained alive, for 24 years. He died soon after the Senate Select Committee could find "no reasonable proof" to reopen this MIA case. On behalf of SSgt Adkins' Family, who have never given up hope,
FINAL MISSION OF U.S. ARMY HELICOPTER UH-1D TAIL NUMBER 66-16442
LTC Donald D. Burnham was the pilot of a UH-1H helicopter (#66-16442) that departed Camp Evans, Quang Tri, Republic of Vietnam for Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam on February 2, 1968. Also aboard were passengers SP4 Charles L. Adkins, SFC Joe H. Pringle, SSGT Joseph D. Puggi, and crew chief SP4 Kenneth J. Patton. During a ground radar controlled approach to Da Nang Airbase, the controller lost radio contact with the helicopter and subsequently lost radar contact. The last positive position of the aircraft was 12 miles north of Da Nang. After attempts to contact Captain Burnham by radio failed, ramp checks were conducted by another pilot from his unit. Search of the area to the north of Da Nang failed to locate the missing aircraft. On May 28, 1968, a crashed and burned UH-1H helicopter (tail #6442) was located in the appropriate vicinity and a search party recovered an ID tag belonging to SFC Pringle, several weapons, and some human bones. The ID tag and weapons were given to an unidentified major; subsequent attempts to trace the weapons have been unsuccessful. All human remains were given to the U.S. Army Mortuary at Da Nang, and subsequently determined unidentifiable. Search attempts terminated on 16 November 1972. Because of the density of the underbrush, no further remains were recovered. The crash site was photographed in July 1974, at which time it became known that parts of the aircraft had been recovered by a Vietnamese woodcutter. No evidence of human remains was found in the area. Donald Burnham's photograph was identified by a Vietnamese rallier as having been a prisoner of war. CIA analysis failed to determine why Burnham's photo was selected, as neither he nor the other crew was seen by returned POWs. [Taken from vhpa.org]