Kevin O'Brien

Army of the United States
30 August 1946 - 07 March 1979
Farmingville, New York
Panel 35W Line 061



National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Kevin O'Brien

11 Jun 2002

"To live in the hearts we leave behind,
is never to have died."
(Thomas Campbell, circa 1888)

VVA Chapter 421 remembers the men from
Staten Island, New York, who died in Vietnam.

From a comrade in arms,
Lester Modelowitz

9 Apr 2004

Always in our thoughts and prayers.

From a Mount Loretto Sister,
Phyllis M. Wise

20 Nov 2006

I have his POW/MIA Bracelet.

S. Wright
E-mail address is not available.

Notes from The Virtual Wall

Two men were lost when an O-1G Birddog (tail #51-5059) light observation aircraft went down in bad weather on 09 January 1969:
  • CPT Hugh Byrd, pilot, 200th Avn Co, 212th Cbt Avn Bn, and
  • 1LT Kevin O'Brien, artillery observer, HHB, 2/94 Artillery.
The two had departed Phu Bai on an artillery support mission in the Khe Sanh area. While aloft, they were diverted to assist a reconnaissance team in enemy contact. After being relieved on station, Byrd headed back to Phu Bai. At about 1940 he reported that the weather was getting worse, that the aircraft was not equipped for instrument flight, and that he was uncertain of his position. Radar controllers tried to get a fix on the Bird Dog but were unsuccessful. Radio direction finding did allow controllers to get an imprecise location. Based on that information and the pilot's reports, controllers believed the aircraft to be in a mountainous area with peaks rising above the O-1's reported altitude. The controller recommended that Byrd should climb to avoid the terrain, but was unable to establish radio contact with the aircraft.

An immediate search was impractical due to weather and nightfall, but airborne searches began the following morning and continued for several days. The wreckage was not located, nor was contact made with either of the two men.

When the search effort was terminated both Byrd and O'Brien were classed as Missing in Action. The Secretary of the Army eventually approved Presumptive Findings of Death for both men, Byrd on 11 January 1974 and O'Brien on 07 March 1979. Their remains have not been repatriated.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 11 Jun 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009