George Andrews Howes
Chief Warrant Officer
71ST AHC, 14TH AVN BN, 16TH AVN GROUP, AMERICAL DIV, USARV
Army of the United States
Knox, Indiana
June 16, 1950 to November 06, 1978
(Incident Date January 10, 1970)
GEORGE A HOWES is on the Wall at Panel W14, Line 23

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George A Howes
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15 Jan 1999

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In memory of George (Andy) Howes
Missing since 10 January 1970

Even after 30 years, I still find it difficult to put into words the memories and my thoughts for Andy.

I am Donn "Mixer" Wilimzik. Andy and I went through both primary and secondary flight schools together. We were the best of friends for the short time that we knew each other. The Army, of course, sent us both to Viet Nam and at Cam Ranh Bay, we said our goodbyes and never saw each other again.

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I was sent to A Troop, 7/1 Air Cav where I flew AH-1G Huey Cobras, mainly on pink teams. My call sign was Apache 31. Andy wanted to be a gun pilot and I'm sure that is what he was doing when they crashed.

It just doesn't seem fitting that good people, at such a young age, should not have the opportunity to experience the pleasures of life, after going through the hell that man has created here on earth. Twenty-three percent of my classmates ... friends ... didn't make it back to the states. Don't get me wrong, I would not trade my year in Viet Nam for anything. It was something that you experience but once in a lifetime. If it were not for this escapade of fate, I never would have met Andy. In the event you did not have the opportunity to vacation in Southeast Asia, remember these words:

"For those who fought for it,
freedom has a flavor the protected will never know."

Upon my return to the States, I received a P.O.W. bracelet inscribed with Andy's name on it. This was a fortunate and meaningful token for me. I have not, and will not, remove it from my wrist until either he is returned home, or I meet him in the hereafter...

2013 Update - Photo below is a plaque that was made from a piece of Rotor Blade, my POW/MIA Bracelet (He is no longer missing), and a replica of his Dog Tags. Below that photo is one of the POW/MIA cards that were printed.

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Donn Wilimzik
Email Donn here


 
Notes from The Virtual Wall

On 10 January 1970 three helicopters of the 71st Assault Helicopter Company departed Tien Phuoc to return to the unit base at Chu Lai, South Vietnam.

Five to ten minutes into the flight, while flying through a rainstorm, the lead pilot, Captain Herbert C. Crosby, directed the flight to change to a different flight heading and radio frequency. Radio contact with CPT Crosby was lost during the frequency change and was not regained.

The other two aircraft reached Chu Lai heliport and at 1400 hours search efforts were begun for the missing aircraft, a UH-1C (hull number 66-00739). An extensive ground and visual/electronic aerial search was initiated. The Huey's last known position placed it over dense jungle covered mountain foothills on the north side of the mountain range with rice fields within 2 miles to the east. The ground search included investigating villages in and around the helicopter's flight path and questioning anyone who might have knowledge of the aircraft's loss and the fate of its crew. Those efforts failed to locate either the helicopter or its crew, consisting of

  • CPT Herbert Charles Crosby, pilot
  • CW3 George Andrews Howes, copilot
  • SFC Wayne Clouse Allen, crew chief
  • SFC Francis George Graziosi, gunner
The four men were placed in MIA status. Over the years, their status was changed as Presumptive Findings of Death were issued. As of 12 Nov 2007, the remains of three of the four men have been repatriated and identified. It was not until advances in DNA technology in 2008, the 1988 remains were reanalyzed. Finally, in 2010, the remains of the fourth man was identified:
  • CPT Herbert Charles Crosby:
        Status changed to Died While Missing on 05 Nov 1974
        Repatriated 23 Jan 1989; identified 24 Jul 2006

  • CW3 George Andrews Howes:
        Status changed to Died While Missing 06 Nov 1978
        Repatriated September 1988; identified December 2010

  • SFC Wayne Clouse Allen:
        Status changed to Died While Missing 14 Aug 1978
        Repatriated 23 Jan 1989; identified 27 Mar 1991

  • SFC Francis George Graziosi:
        Status changed to Died While Missing 20 Feb 1979
        Repatriated 07 Jun 1994; identified 24 Jul 2006

Additional information is available on the crew:

DoD JPAC Report (2006) on Case 1547 Identification of Remains of Crew of Firebird 91.

POW Network

Task Force Omega



Chief Warrant Officer (CWO3) Howes was born in Little Rock, Arkansas but the family moved to Knox, Indiana in 1956 where he graduated from Knox High School in 1968. Many of his old classmates and friends still live in the area. They remember Howes as a kind young man with a great sense of humor and a playful spirit. Andy was considered class clown and he always had a smile for everyone. He is memorialized on the Vietnam War Memorials in Washington D.C., Indianapolis, Chesterton, and Knox, as well as at Clay Church in South Bend, Indiana.

The following September 1968, he enlisted in the Army and received his wings in August of 1969. Photo below is Flight School Graduation (Class 69-23 A3). Andy is in the second row from the bottom, 4th from the right slightly leaning forward (Red Box).

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His first tour of duty after graduation was to Vietnam but before he departed, he took some time for leave to visit friends and family.

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After arrival in Vietnam, he was to fly helicopter gunships while assigned to the 71st Assault Helicopter Company (AHC), 14th Aviation Battalion, 16th Aviation Group of the Americal Division. He flew with the Firebirds, a distinguished and decorated gunship group based in Chu Lai, South Vietnam.

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Forty-one years after being listed as Missing in Action in Vietnam, funeral services for CW 3 George A. (Andy) Howes were held August 2nd, 2011 at the Knox Community Center, Knox Indiana. Burial followed on August 5th, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. (Eastern) in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. A service at the Chapel at Fort Myer was held prior to his burial in Arlington. Marine Cpl Michael L. Bleeker, his great nephew, escorted the remains from Hawaii to Knox and then to Washington for burial. Below is the caisson as the 3rd Infantry Regiment (Old Guard) Honor Guard move Howes to his final resting place in Arlington National Cemetery.

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When Howes was declared missing in action, he was provided an "In Memory of" marker in Arlington cemetery. When he was returned and laid to final rest in Arlington, he was given a permanent stone. Below are both stones - the 'In Memory of" stone location in Arlington is center photo. He is survived by his brother Robert Lloyd Howes He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Lindell Howes and Bonnie Andrews Howes and his sister Valerie Pulver Larew, all of Knox, Indiana.

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