The database page for Eugene Gubbins
RememberedFrom a MIA Bracelet wearer for CWO Jimmy Lee Watson,
A Note from The Virtual WallOn 13 March 1968 a UH-1B HUEY (hull number 67-17254) departed Phu Bai Airfield (Hue) enroute Camp Evans, some 27 miles to the northwest. Ten men were aboard the aircraft:
The coastal area northeast of Camp Evans had a history of VC activity, and Nam Giang had an active VC militia headed by the village chief. He rallied his militia and they attacked the soldiers who remained with the helo. After a brisk exchange of fires, the US soldiers withdrew from the helo. As they did so, two soldiers were killed - Gubbins and Moore. The remaining three established a defensive position in the village cemetery but eventually were killed. Although the villagers buried Gubbins and Moore in a single grave more or less where they fell, the other three Americans were removed from the cemetery and buried in separate, but nearby, locations.
Meantime LT Peda and the four unidentified soldiers walked into Camp Evans at 2000 hours. Once the situation became clear, an immediate and intensive search and rescue operation was organized to locate the rest of the flight crew and passengers. However, the initial search failed to locate either the aircraft or the missing personnel.
Elements of the 1st Cavalry Division recovered two bodies (identified as SFC Eugene Gubbins and PFC Larry Moore) in a shallow grave on 28 March. Although search efforts continued for the other three men in and around the location where the two bodies were found, as well as between Camp Evans and the crash site, they were not found. When the formal SAR efforts were terminated WO Jimmy Watson, SGT Cleveland Evans, and SSG Steven W. Heitman were listed Missing in Action.
In early 1975 JCRC personnel revisited the site, and although they did recover material which positively identified the crash site as well as additional remains attributable to SFC Gubbins and PFC Moore they did not locate the other three men. Watson, Evans, and Heitman were continued in MIA status until their respective service Secretaries approved Presumptive Findings of death for them.
In 1997 a joint US-Vietnamese team again visited Nam Giang village, and this time the villagers cooperated with the searchers. Three former VC militiamen who participated in the 1968 fight still lived in the village and all three gave much the same story about how the five US servicemen who remained with the helo had died. Unfortunately, the area where the three men who died in the cemetery were buried had been repeatedly disturbed over the years through cultivation and the digging of irrigation ditches. As a result of time and changes, the three militiamen - two of whom had participated in the burials - could not locate the graves ... excavations in the areas where they were thought to be found no remains, personal equipment, or anything which could be associated with Watson, Evans, or Heitman. As of 30 May 2008 their remains have not been repatriated.
The surviving pilot, 1LT Robert C. Peda, was killed in action less than a month later, on 07 April 1968.
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
a wearer of CWO Jimmy Lee Watson's MIA bracelet,
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 17 Aug 2004
Last updated 05/30/2008