Jesse Donald Phelps

Chief Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
01 October 1937 - 29 December 1966
Boise, Idaho
Panel 04E Line 044

UH-1 Huey

Army Aviator

Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Jesse D. Phelps

The database page for Jesse Donald Phelps

09 Dec 2001

Jesse D Phelps

Jesse D. Phelps (J.D.)
01 October 1937 - 28 December 1965
Forever Loved, Forever Missed
Son, Brother, Husband, Father of Four.
MIA, South Vietnam, 135702N 1084955E

From a friend.

06 Nov 2006

Dear CW2 Jesse D. Phelps,

My name is Carrie D. E. Huskinson, I am the friend who submitted this page for you. In the past few years, I have made many phone calls, written many letters, and spoken with people who knew you. I also wear your MIA bracelet. I am sorry I have not been able to do all I wanted for you. My goal has been and will always be, to find flight #808 and her crew.

The people I have spoken with have all said great things about you. They said you were kind, thoughtful, considerate, never a bragger, very smart, and a real gentleman. I have met your wife, a kind and caring woman, and I am a friend to your son Dan, a very kind man. They are truly a reflection of you.

I was pleased to see they have a Huey with the tail number #808 at Fort Benning, with the names of her crew on the doors. I think you would all be proud of the restoration job that was done on that chopper.

Know this, you and your crew will never be forgotten, always missed, and forever loved. I will not give up, and never stop telling people about you and your crew. You are all my heros.

Carrie D. E. Huskinson
A Friend

Carrie D. E. Huskinson
02 Jan 2002

You were a very considerate individual for your aircraft crew and for the aircraft itself. I still can't imagine anything that could have happened that you couldn't have handled, you were such a conscientious pilot. I never worried when you were at the controls.

I enjoyed being your crew-chief through the Air Assault, Dominican Republic, and in Vietnam.

Still thinking of you and of chopper #778 that we safely kept in the air through all the trying times.

From his crew chief and friend forever,
Dave Bradley
Master Sergeant, U S Army (Ret)
22051 Paris Hwy 54, Dresden TN 38225

Notes from The Virtual Wall

The Vietnam Helicopter Pilots' Association database contains the following statement from Captain Ed Freeman, the platoon leader for this flight:
"On Dec. 27th, CWO Phelps was selected to fly from a base camp near Qui Nhon, about 20 miles north of An Khe, to the "golf course" at An Khe. The reason he was selected was because he was the most qualified to fly by instrumentation. The crew stayed the night at An Khe, so they could get a good night's rest and clean up. The next morning they departed from An Khe with a cargo of machine guns and hot food for the troops at the base camp near Qui Nhon. They radioed ahead to the forward camp that they were in the air and on the way. There was no contact after that. Within a short time of being overdue a search was ordered of a grid area that was determined to be where they could have run out of fuel, in all directions. The search went on by air for a period of 3 days. There was one spot that appeared to have had disturbance in the trees and a Chinook helicopter was brought in and troops did rappel into the area. They didn't find anything. A ground search was conducted in various areas, but some areas were not accessible, due to the jungle and swamp conditions."
UH-1D tail number 63-08808 of A Company, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion departed An Khe shortly before dawn on 28 December 1965. The planned flight route passed over mountainous terrain in the vicinity of the An Khe Pass. The flight crew consisted of About ten minutes after the 0555 take-off, CW2 Stancil contacted the A Company forward operating base to obtain current weather information. That was the last contact with the aircraft.

The aircraft was declared down at 0715 and search-and-rescue operations began at 0730. No trace of the aircraft or its crew was found. The four crewmen were declared to be Missing in Action.

During the first annual review of this incident, the Review Board concluded that all available evidence indicated that the four men had died in the crash of their helicopter and their status was changed on 29 Dec 1966 to "Died While Missing/Body not Recovered". The crash site has not been located and the remains of the four crewmen have not been repatriated.

The confusion in unit names derives from the fact that the 1st Cavalry Division's 11th Aviation Group was put together in a hurry using personnel and equipment assets taken from other units. In this instance, "A" Company, 229th Avn Bn was formed from aviation companies previously assigned to the Special Forces Groups:

  • CW2 Kenneth Leon Stancil, previously Aviation Company, 7th SF Group
  • CW2 Jesse Donald Phelps, previously Aviation Company, 5th SF Group
  • SP5 Donald Carroll Grella, previously Aviation Company, 7th SF Group
  • SP4 Thomas Rice, Jr, previously Aviation Company, 7th SF Group

In accordance with a recent Federal law, the Library of Congress has begun posting selected documents regarding ex-POWs and MIAs from the Vietnam war. One such document, a message originated by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command on 20 July 2006, reports on the initial investigation of a UH-1 crash site located at UTM coordinates BR582368, about 12 kilometers southeast of An Khe, conducted on 29-30 April 2006. While no conclusions were drawn, the message states that "Field analysis indicates the witness accounts correlate well with the circumstances of loss associated with case 0224" [63-08808].

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index P
ID State Index . Panel 04E
229TH AHB Index

Contact Us

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 9 Dec 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009