Start Tour: 11/26/1966
Incident Date: 05/12/1968
Casualty Date: 02/01/1974
Age at Loss: 30 (based on date declared dead)
Location: Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam
Remains: 1974 status: Body Not Recovered. Found later.
Repatriated: 06/09/1993 (Returned to US soil)
Casualty Type: Hostile, died while missing
Casualty Reason: Fixed Wing - Noncrew
Casualty Detail: Air loss or crash over land
Capt. Warren R. Orr Jr., of Kewanee, Ill., graduated from Kewanee High School in 1961. The bright young man with a winning personality would soon be going off to war. Once there he was a Green Beret captain and was part of a crew evacuating Vietnamese citizens from the Kham Duc Special Forces Camp near Da Nang. As the plane was taking off, it was pelted with gunfire from the ground and exploded in mid-air after leaving the runway, killing the 25-year-old Orr on May 12, 1968. He had been missing since the C-130 Hercules he was flying in was shot down in Vietnam in 1968. The path that led to his identification has been a long and winding one, filled with false hope and false starts. His plane was carrying about 150 Vietnamese women and children when it crashed on Mother's Day in 1968. It was very hard on his mother. She didn't last long after that, and she just died. In 1985 and 1991, U.S. officials received remains and ID tags from sources who claimed they belonged to crew members on the plane. However, scientific analysis showed they were not American remains. The search for the remains continued in 1993 and 1994 when a joint team of U.S. and Vietnamese officials, along with POW/MIA Accounting Command, traveled to Kham Duc and interviewed four local citizens about the crash. Bones and ID tags were turned over by villagers to the government-led teams during the 1993 search. The villagers said they had been found while looking for scrap metal in 1983, according to the Department of Defense. Through DNA testing, they proved it was Warren Jr. He is honored on Panel 59E, Row 10 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He was officially declared dead on February 1, 1974.
Graduated from Infantry OCS Class 1-66 FT Benning, GA on 14 Jan 66.
Posted by: Rick Stetson Relationship: OCS Classmate Friday, November 20, 1998
Last Known Activity
Kham Duc Special Forces camp (A-105), was located on the western fringes of Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam. In the spring of 1968, it was the only remaining border camp in Military Region I, and was located 46 miles southwest of DaNang, on a narrow grassy plain surrounded by rugged, virtually uninhabited jungle. The camp and airstrip were bordered by the Ngok Peng Bum ridge to the west and Ngok Pe Xar Mountain, looming over Kham Duc to the east. Steep banked streams full of rapids and waterfalls cut through this tropical wilderness. In late March 1968, US intelligence picked up information that the 2nd NVA Regiment, well over 10,000 men strong, was moving from
North Vietnam, through Laos, and intended to enter South Vietnam somewhere south of Kham Duc, on it way to the DaNang area. An intelligence team, comprised of 3 Australian advisors and their Chinese Nung Mike Force, was charged with the responsibility of locating, tracking and reporting on the enemy movement. They established a base of operations five miles south of Kham Duc in the old abandoned French fort of Ngok Tavak located between the Vietnamese/Lao boarder and Route 14. The commander of the 2nd NVA regiment determined that neither Ngok Tavak nor Kham Duc could be bypassed because of the threat each posed to his flank once the regiment moved past them. Kgok Tavak was assaulted in the early morning hours of 10 May 1968. At the same time, the NVA began blasting Kham Duc at 0245 hours with heavy mortar and recoilless rifle fire in an attempt to "soften up" the entrenched US and allied troops. During the next two days, the battle for Kham Duc continued unabated. In that fierce fighting 19 Americans were captured, became Missing in Action or Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered as the Americans and allied troops tried desperately to hold on. In the end, those survivors who could not be evacuated were given orders to escape and evade from Kham Duc. On 12 May 1968, shortly after 1200 hours, the decision was made to immediately extract all personnel from the beleaguered camp. This evacuation was disorderly and, at times, on the verge of complete panic. To aid in the evacuation of US military personnel, along with South Vietnamese troops and their families, the Air Force assigned a C130B (serial #60-0297) from Mactan Airbase Phillippines, to Kham Duc. The aircrew was comprised of Maj. Bernard Bucher, pilot; 1st Lt. Stephen Moreland, co-pilot; Maj. John McElroy, navigator; SSgt. Frank Hepler, flight engineer; and Airman George Long, loadmaster. Also aboard the aircraft was Capt. Warren Orr, Jr., a Special Forces civil affairs officer whose job it was to assist in getting as many of the civilians out of Kham Duc as possible. The C130B landed at the Special Forces Camp amidst the chaos of battle and immediately began taking on as many passengers as it could hold. Maj. Bucher took off while under an intense enemy mortar and small arms attack. A Forward Air Controller (FAC) in the area watched the Hercules as it lumbered into the air, then reported seeing the aircraft explode in a fireball in mid-air approximately 1 mile from the end of the airstrip and crash into the jungle below. It was believed that all crew and passengers aboard perished as the aircraft was quickly consumed by fire destroying everything but the tail boom. Because of the intense enemy presence in the area, no ground search of the area was possible. All Air Force members of the flight crew were listed Killed in Action/ Body Not Recovered. The question was raised later if Capt. Warren Orr actually boarded the aircraft prior to its departure. A Vietnamese soldier reported he saw Capt. Orr board the aircraft after everyone else was aboard and before the tailgate closed. However, because no American could actually place Capt. Orr on the C130B, he was listed Missing in Action. On 18-21 July 1970 and again from 17-20 August 1970, search and recovery teams returned to Kham Duc to search for the remains of those Americans who were missing and unaccounted for. . During these trips, personnel from Graves Registration were unable to locate the wreckage of the C130B to search for remains. This was in part due to the fact that the surrounding area is covered with double and triple canopy growth and finding the crash site after this period of time without the aid of modern technology was extremely difficult. Another factor was the Vietnam War was still in full swing and much of the territory around Kham Duc was controlled by the Communists. For the aircrew of the Hercules, there is no doubt of their fate. However, they have the right to have their remains returned to their families, friends and country. For Warren Orr and many other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Indochina, their fate could be quite different. Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY. Military men in Vietnam were called upon to fly and fight in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.
Candace Lokey PO Box 206 Freeport, PA 16229 email@example.com
I have not forgotten you. I chair the Adoption Committee for The National League of Families of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action in Southeast Asia. We will always remember the 1,889 Americans still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia and the thousands of others that lost their lives. We will not stop our efforts until all of you are home where you belong. We need to reach the next generation so that they will carry on when our generation is no longer able. To do so, we are attempting to locate photographs of all the missing. If you are reading this remembrance and have a photo and/or memory of this missing American that you would like to share for our project, please contact me at:
If you are not familiar with our organization, please visit our web site at : www.pow-miafamilies.org Posted by: Candace Lokey
Warren was a happy guy, always with a broad smile on his face. I liked him and every time I came into the C-team we'd go to the club and get some ice cream.
The last time I saw Warren was the day he left for Kham Duc. I was in from my A-team for reasons I no longer recall. He was somewhat scared about heading out to a place under heavy attack but he also knew he needed to help the Vietnamese. I marvel today as I did then at his courage.
I have Captain Warren Orr, Jr. MIA bracelet and I have worn it many times for special occasions through out the years. I have always kept it very close to me in hopes he would be found. A friend of mine was very dedicated in finding owners for these bracelets and I was very proud to have Warren's. I have searched all the websites that include Warren Orr's name in them and I have read every one and shed many tears while I read them. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family and in hopes someday he may come home.
Posted by: Maryann Shores Relationship: I wore his/her MIA bracelet Saturday, November 9, 2002
Warren was there one year before me. He was a Cpt. with the 25th Infantry, 3rd Bn. 22nd Inf. company C. I feel his loss because I was in the same unit. When I was there in 1969-70 a captain was the company commander. A loss of a leader is the hardest to take. I am sure the men who were with him felt a great loss. Mission details can be found in the National Archives in DC. If you can not make it there, have your congressman's staff copy it for those who would like to know what happened. I have a list of 92 men that gave the ultimate sacrifice from the same unit. 1968 was a year where most of the casualties occurred, the enemy tried in vain to get control and lost many more trying. We defeated them in battle at the heavy cost of American lives.
Posted by: Gary Harding Relationship: In the same unit Thursday, December 24, 1998