Robert Emmett Tyner

Private First Class
Army of the United States
04 August 1947 - 19 February 1968
Jacksonville, Florida
Panel 40E Line 033


Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Robert Emmett Tyner

14 May 2002

To a cousin who was simply known as R. E. A man who died too young in a foreign land. He paid the highest price anyone can pay for freedom's cause. In our eyes, you were a brave hero to the last. Your name and memory will never be forgotten, for each generation will remember. I love you, cousin. God Bless.

E-mail address is not available.

01 June 2003

Angie, I just wanted to let you know that my dad and R. E.'s dad grew up together and that R. E. and I used to go to the same church as teenagers and were friends too.

I had been married 10 months when my husband got drafted. The day I took him downtown to the bus station to leave for Fort Benning when we entered the bus station the first thing I saw was R. E. sitting alone at a table. I immediately walked over to him and introduced him to my husband. They left Jacksonville together and became best friends throughout their military service. My husband is Sammy Johnson. Sam and R. E. were together the whole time here in the states and flew to Viet Nam together. When they got to Viet Nam they were only together for a few weeks of training and then were sent to different units. Sam was put in D Company, 2nd Bn, 7th Cav Rgt, 1st Air Cav. Sam lost his lower left leg on April 23, 1968, and got home just in time for the birth of our first child.

Sam and I both were devastated when we heard of R. E. being listed as Missing In Action and further devastated when we heard he was declared as deceased. We have never forgotten R. E. and think of him all the time. We will NEVER forget him. R. E. was one of the sweetest and most sincerest people that I have ever met and I will never ever forget those beautiful blue eyes of his that just seemed to sparkle. Sam felt like he was a brother and was so thankful that they remained together througout their military time here in the states. Sam really hated it when they got sent to different units in Viet Nam and was heartbroken about it.

We have told our sons of R. E. and their dad and even after we are gone, R. E. will still be remembered by our sons.


Notes from The Virtual Wall

When this memorial was first written, PFC R. E. Tyner's casualty record was coded as
Non-hostile, Died While Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land - Helicopter - Noncrew
Province not recorded
Remains recovered
But there was a problem: there are no recorded Army helicopter accidents for 19 Feb 1968. A Marine CH-53A (BuNo 153278) from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 463 went down on 19 Feb during a night, bad-weather instrument approach into the Marble Mountain Air Field. However, at the time this memorial was first published available records from the Marine Vietnam Helicopter Association and the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots' Association database for the HMM-463 loss included the names of only seven men:
  • Capt Lucien C Tessier, USMC, Manchester NH, pilot
  • Capt Bill W Deetz, USMC, Northfield MN, pilot
  • Sgt Kenneth P Ehnis, USMC, Romulus MI, aircrewman
  • LCpl Benjamin F Johnson, USMC, San Antonio TX, aircrewman
  • Sgt Francis S Torre, USMC, Mangilao Guam, aircrewman
  • Capt Barton J Uplinger, USMC, Camarillo CA, VMO-6, passenger
  • HM2 Robert J Bridges, USN, Mitchell SD, 3rd Med Bn, passenger
So: Where and how did PFC Tyner die?

In the Spring of 2003, The Virtual Wall obtained a current copy of the Defense Department's official casualty records, which lists 130,573 peacetime and wartime deaths from the first casualty of the Korean War on 28 June 1950 through an Air Force lieutenant who died in an automobile accident on 31 Dec 2002. The DoD database lists nine men who died in a Marine Corps helicopter crash on 19 Feb 1968 ... the seven men listed above and two other passengers:

  • TSgt Sylvester McCullough, USAF, New York NY, USAF Medic, 903rd Aeromed Evac Sqd
  • PFC Robert E Tyner, US Army, Jacksonville FL, A/1/12 Cav
This information fits with other information available regarding PFC Tyner's death - including the comments made above by Yvonne regarding his initial MIA status and subsequent recovery.

Other information indicates PFC Tyner had been wounded in the neck/shoulder area while fighting in Hue and was being medevaced to Danang for treatment.

The MAG-16 Command Chronology states that at 1915H this aircraft was declared overdue and missing after being last reported at 092 degrees/20 NM from Channel 69 enroute to Marble Mountain on an Instrument Flight Rules clearance. Search and rescue operations were instigated and continued on a daily basis through the end of the February with no success.

At termination of SAR efforts it was classed as an over-water loss, and those aboard were classed as "Missing". Discovery of the wreckage 5 months later by a MAG-36 aircraft and recovery of the remains of all aboard clearly invalidated the original classifications.

The aircraft had collided with the side of Monkey Mountain, about 50 yards distant from the site of another HMH-463 CH-53A lost on 08 Jan 1968 ( BuNo 153710 , five crewmen and 36 passengers dead). The fact that both aircraft had arrived at the same geographic point in similar weather conditions - i.e., flying by instruments in bad weather - raised questions with respect to the adequacy of navigational systems. While the North Vietnamese were known to use "meaconing" [placing false navigational aids in such a way as to lure unsuspecting aircraft off-course], there was no firm evidence either way with respect to the 08 January or 19 February crashes.

Since original publication of this memorial the USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Association site has gathered additional information confirming that a total of 13 people were aboard the aircraft: the 9 US servicemen named above, two South Vietnamese civilians, and two Viet Cong POWs.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009