Kenneth Eugene Witmer

Warrant Officer
Army of the United States
19 May 1948 - 13 May 1969
Millersville, Pennsylvania
Panel 25W Line 114


Army Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Kenneth Eugene Witmer

17 Aug 2003

Ken, our hearts were broken on 5/13/69 when we lost you, Jeff Stowe, John Brooks, and Paul Goonan. We remember you on every birthday. Your memory will live as long as we and the "Wall" are alive

The Mission

On 13 May 1969 three UH-1H helicopters of the 129th Assault Helicopter Company were assigned in support of an RoK troop insertion in Binh Dinh Province. The assault was directed at an NVA position atop a hill, and the insertion point was down-slope. The first two aircraft safely dropped their troops, but the third UH-1 (tail number 67-17399) hit a land mine on touchdown. Although the UH-1 managed to get airborne after the explosion it crashed upslope. Nine RoK troops and four Americans were aboard: Reports of what occurred next come from two sources: the other UH-1 crews and from three surviving Korean troops who evaded the NVA and linked up with Allied forces on 14 May. From these reports, it appears that at least one Korean trooper and SP4 Goonan died in the crash. Two other Koreans and one American were sighted running downhill from the crash site. The two pilots escaped the wreckage and moved up-slope where they were killed by small arms fire.

The bodies of WO Witmer, WO Stowe, and SP4 Goonan were recovered on 14 May. Brooks and the two Koreans who moved downhill were never found. As mentioned, three Korean troopers evaded and rejoined friendly forces. Of the 13 men aboard, 3 survived; 3 were missing in action; and 7 were killed in action. SP4 Brooks has not been repatriated.

From the VHPA database and other sources

They are remembered on
Don Miller's 129th AHC
Mark Jackson's 129th AHC

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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