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Silver Spurs
A Troop, 3/17th Air Cav
KIA-BNR Biographies

 


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6 Apr 2011 - FLASH TRAFFIC:

I haven't seen any official release by DPMO but this is what is reported by the NLF at: http://www.pow-miafamilies.org/League/Updates.html dtd 30 Mar 2011

"...the remains of SP4 Randall D. Dalton, USA, listed as KIA/BNR on July 24, 1971 in Cambodia, were recovered September 11, 1989, and identified January 18, 2011..."

This is great news, but unfortunately no word on the remains of Sgt. Gregory Antunano who perished during the same tragic incident.

Update - 26 Apr 2011:

http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/accounted_for/

"Spc. 4 Randall D. Dalton, U.S. Army, 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 12th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade, was lost on July 24, 1971, when the aircraft he was aboard went down in Cambodia. His remains were identified on Jan. 18, 2011."

Update - 18 Jul 2011:

Obituary from BND.com

Randall Dalton

The family of Randy Dalton, of Collinsville, Ill., would like to announce his homecoming after 40 years. Randy, the son of former late Mayor Fred Dalton and the late Ann Dalton, was listed as Missing In Action during the Vietnam War, in July of 1971.

Since that time the U.S. government has been actively searching for servicemen whose remains were never located. Earlier this year, the Dalton Family was notified of positive identification of Randy's remains.

Randy is survived by his three sisters, Linda, nee Dalton, Kruse of Tampa, Fla., Gayle, nee Dalton, Vecchetti of Edwardsville, Ill., and Karen, nee Dalton, Kloster of St. Louis, Mo.

Services are scheduled for Sunday, July 24, 2011, exactly 40 years since his death.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to Friends of Military Families, Inc., a non-profit private organization which reaches out to military families, and will be accepted at Herr Funeral Home in Collinsville, Ill., and Sunset Hill Funeral Home in Glen Carbon, Ill.

Visitation: Friends may call from noon to 1 p.m. on Sunday, July 24, 2011, at Sunset Hill Funeral Home in Glen Carbon, Ill.

Funeral: Funeral service will begin at 1 p.m. Interment with full military honors will follow at Sunset Hill Cemetery, Glen Carbon, Ill.

A homecoming reception will follow at the American Legion Post 365, 1022 Vandaila, Collinsville, Ill. Those who are friends of the family, both past and present, are welcome to join the family for this celebration.

SUNSET HILL FUNERAL HOME, Glen Carbon, Ill.
Published in Belleville News-Democrat from July 18 to July 19, 2011

Dalton's Guest Book

Vet laid to rest after 1971 Cambodia helo crash - ArmyTimes - 20 Jul 11

Respectfully,

Roger "Bear" Young
Scout Crew Chief & webmaster

 

2008 DPMO Mission Video: http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/media/dpmo_2008_video.wmv

 

 

Missing Soldiers' Table
Missing Soldiers' Table
Silver Spur 2002 Reunion
Photo Courtesy of Jim Higgins

 

 


Thomas W. Knuckey
Courtesy of Pamela Cole

 

Sgt. Taylor's Plaque
Philip C. Taylor
Courtesy of the Taylor family

 

Sgt. Taylor flying as observer
Sgt. Taylor (Observer) flying with WO Mark Hansen at Quan Loi in Jan '71
Courtesy of Robert Mills, Spur 12

 

 

KNUCKEY, THOMAS WILLIAM
TAYLOR, PHILIP CHARLES

27 May 1971


Knuckey-Taylor.Gif

Picture taken of Lt. Knuckey (right) & Sgt. Taylor (left)
at Quan Loi approx. 1/2 hour prior to fatal mission

[From Dan Sutherland's collection]


REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: On May 27, 1971, 1Lt. Thomas W. Knuckey was the pilot and Sgt. Philip C. Taylor the observer on board an OH58A helicopter which was part of a force conducting battle damage assessment (BDA) in Kracheh Province, Cambodia, where air strikes had been made in attempts to destroy an enemy machine gun position. The location of the gun emplacement was near the border of Cambodia and South Vietnam, about 8 miles southeast of the city of Snuol.


Knuckey & Taylor's Final Flight.Gif

[From Dan Sutherland's collection]


During Knuckey's final pass over the gun emplacement, his aircraft was hit by enemy groundfire, and exploded while still in flight. The helicopter then crashed and exploded a second time and burned. Witnesses reported that the crew could not have survived. Because of heavy enemy activity in the area, a ground search was not possible.

Knuckey and Taylor were [until 1993] listed as killed, bodies not recovered.

Additional Information

1/98: NOTE: DIA/DoD lists both Knuckey and Taylor's remains recovered 26 FEB 93 with a remains identification of 10 AUG 93. I thank Andi Wolos of AIIPOWMIA, Inc. for this information.

 

10/00: Both soldiers are interred in Section 34 Grave 4323 at Arlington National Cemetery on September 24th, 1993. Please see: 2000 D.C. Mini-Reunion

 

Knuckey/Taylor Headstone
Courtesy of Pam Young

 

The Recovery of 1Lt. Thomas W. Knuckey
& Sgt. Philip C. Taylor

Courtesy of the Taylor family - Synopsis of JTF-FA search and recovery of our
fellow troopers in 1993

 

For additional Spur information on Sgt. Taylor, please see: Silver Spurs Photo Corner

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

JTF-FA CASE REOPENED on
Spurs Gregory Antunano & Randall Dalton
!

Read JTF-FA report dtd 14 Apr 03 provided by Gary Antunano:
Antunano/Dalton PDF File
[Posted 16 Dec 03]
Please allow time to download and open PDF file!
Note: For privacy, Pam redacted address and phone number
Requires free Adobe® software to open

===============

6 Apr 2011 - FLASH TRAFFIC:

I haven't seen any official release by DPMO but this is what is reported by the NLF at: http://www.pow-miafamilies.org/League/Updates.html dtd 30 Mar 2011

"...the remains of SP4 Randall D. Dalton, USA, listed as KIA/BNR on July 24, 1971 in Cambodia, were recovered September 11, 1989, and identified January 18, 2011..."

This is great news, but unfortunately no word on the remains of Sgt. Gregory Antunano who perished during the same tragic incident.

Respectfully,

Roger "Bear" Young
Scout Crew Chief & webmaster

===============

UPDATE: 26 July 2006

GOOD NEWS TO REPORT!

7/26/2006

Mr. Young, [Spur Trooper & Webmaster]

Antunano and Dalton were lost in Cambodia on 24 July 1971 and a grave site at XU6928036344 and possibly some of the crash site at XU6925636319 are scheduled to be excavated this October [2006] in Cambodia.

Keep your fingers crossed.

DICKIE HITES
Special Assistant to the Commanding General
Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC)
JPAC Command Staff

 

UPDATE: 24 July 2006

From Gary Antunano:

Sunday July 23, 2006, Daily Republic

Brother of MIA still waiting for closure
by Ian Thompson
Daily Republic

FAIRFIELD -- Recent evidence about the fate of a Fairfield man's brother who was shot down over Cambodia 35 years ago has him hopeful that his brother's remains may finally come home.

Lack of funding to send a Joint Task Force-Full Accounting excavation team over there has Gary Antunano frustrated that this final closure may still be more than a year off.

"I am in the waiting period now for the excavation," said Antunano. "It could be a couple of years. It could be next year."

Funding cutbacks to the JTF-FA command due to other military needs has put the excavation of the possible site of Army Sgt. Gregory Antunano remains in a holding pattern.

Recently collected eyewitness accounts of the crash site and a possible grave site have pushed the excavation high on the Task Force's list of recovery projects.

Monday marks 35 years since Greg Antunano crashed in Cambodia "and I just don't want him forgotten," said Gary Antunano who was only 8 years old at the time.

But with only enough funds to carry out one excavation a year, the excavation of Greg Antunano's crash site remains undone.

"This year, my brother's case is the backup case for this year's excavations," Gary Antunano said. "Funding for the Task Force is not good due to the war."

Greg and Gary Antunano grew up in South San Francisco, with Greg born 14 years before Gary. Gary worshiped his brother, enjoying wrestling with him and getting rides in Greg's car.

Greg Antunano joined the Army in 1968, became an Airborne Ranger and was sent to South Vietnam where he was wounded twice in the first six months he was there.

His love of flying got him a job flying [in] the OH-6 Loach helicopter, the small, egg-shaped helicopters which the 1st Cavalry Division used to search for the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army.

In mid-July 1971, Greg Antunano became part of the [ARVN] invasion of Cambodia to destroy the NVA supply bases and sanctuaries hidden there.

One month before he was due to come home, Greg Antunano flew into Cambodia on July 24 as an observer on a Loach to look for the NVA near Snoul, Cambodia. The Loach was shot down.

A medivac helicopter found the pilot alive with a broken leg, but Greg Antunano was found dead inside the helicopter. Another crewman died at the site before he could be evacuated.

The two bodies were left at the site because of fears the NVA were nearby, but when the Americans came back the next day, they found the helicopter stripped and the bodies gone.

The family has lobbied since to find Gary Antunano's body and bring it home.

Gary Antunano's father died in 1986, without ever knowing his son's fate. His mother, Virginia Antunano lobbied hard to get her son's remains found and returned.

She died in 2001 and now Gary Antunano is carrying on the fight to bring closure for his family.

"I would like to get anything home to bury with my parents," Gary Antunano said. "If not, I want to go to Cambodia to see my brother's final resting place." [End]

Webmaster's note: JTF-FA is currently known as JPAC.

 

 

ANTUNANO, GREGORY A.
DALTON, RANDALL DAVID

24 July 1971

 

Gregory Antunano

 

 

Randy Dalton

Randall David Dalton

Courtesy of Dan Rhodes

 

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: The 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry was part of the 12th Aviation Group during its service in Vietnam. It was responsible for air cavalry support in the western part of III Corps Tactical Zone. In late 1970 it was placed under the operational control of the Ist Cavalry Division to form a highly successful ad hoc air cavalry brigade.

On July 24, 1971, WO1 Timothy G. Wiltrout, pilot; Sgt. Gregory A. Antunano, observer; and SP4 Randall D. Dalton, door gunner; were crew members on an OH6A "Loach" observation helicopter (serial #68-17257) which was shot down by enemy fire while on a reconnaissance mission in Cambodia. The aircraft went down about 5 miles inside Cambodia, in Kracheh Province, just a few miles southeast of the city of Snuol.

When rescuers arrived at the crash site, they found the pilot outside the downed aircraft. He suffered a broken leg in the incident, but was otherwise unhurt. The other two crew members were still strapped in their seats inside the wreckage. Both were taken out of the helicopter and at that time, SP/4 Dalton was still alive. Sgt. Antunano was believed to be dead.

[3/17th Note: According to Vern Gregrory, Spur Observer, the aircraft crashed in triple-canopy jungle. The medic had to be lowered through the thick jungle canopy via a penetrator to reach the wreckage and evacuate the pilot, WO1 Wiltrout. This thick canopy greatly impacted efforts to recover the bodies of Gregory Antunano and Randall Dalton. Vern states "We did recon in that area the next day."]

A short time later, SP/4 Dalton stopped breathing. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. The medic checked both Dalton and Antunano several times, and told other rescuers that they were dead.

With the heavy concentration of enemy soldiers in the area, search and rescue aircraft evacuated the rescue team and Wiltrout, the pilot. Because of overwhelming enemy presence, no attempt was made to extract the two bodies. They were left lying near the downed helicopter.

The following day, several SAR aircraft returned to the location in an attempt to recover Antunano and Dalton, but noted that the aircraft had been stripped and moved several feet. Personal effects of the crew, such as their helmets, weapons and the aircraft radio had also been removed. Sgt. Antunano and SP/4 Dalton's bodies were gone. A search of the area from the air did not reveal fresh graves or any sign of the two men.

Antunano and Dalton's bodies were never found. They are listed with honor among the missing because their remains are still on enemy soil.

Additional Information

Oct 2000: NOTE - DIA/DoD lists Antunano and Dalton at this time officially as KIA/BNR nor is there future plans for recovery at this time. Since their bodies were moved by the NVA it will be most difficult locating their remains, but with new cooperation from the Cambodia authorities, (see: DASD Jones Cambodia/China Trip Report, 24 Jan - 01 Feb 00) we will continue to work for their return..

Nov 2000: Reference Randall Dalton from Bob Wallace *:

"I will do whatever it takes to insure that my best friend's remains are returned to U.S. soil for burial at his Memorial Site in Illinois. I would like to get feedback from anyone who knew Randy in Vietnam or has additional info about him, ANY.

Thanks,

Bob Wallace"
* Bob served with the 3rd/14th on the Czech border, border ops in Germany.

 

UPDATE - Dec 03:

Recently I spoke with Gary Antunano, brother of Gregory Antunano, regarding the case of Gregory Antunano and Randall Dalton who were both lost but never recovered inside Cambodia on 24 July 71 when their OH-6 was shot down by enemy fire.

Gary informed me that JPAC (formerly JTF-FA) plans to excavate a new potential burial site in Jan-Mar or 2004 or 2005. This case had been closed but due to new eye-witness testimony there is new hope that their remains might yet be found & recovered.

We hope and pray that JPAC is successful for the families, friends & comrades of Greg and Randy.

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

The following in from B Troop 3/17th Slick pilot, Roger Searcy, regarding the rescue of Wiltrout.

Searcy can be reached at: AirRog76@aol.com

I thank Roger for allowing me to share this with my fellow Spurs. If you have questions, comments, please contact Roger Searcy directly.

Bear

=============

9/04/2001
From: AirRog76@aol.com
To: BEAR317@aol.com

Hi Bear,

Good job on the site... I noticed a request for the KIA MIA for 3/17.... I saw the report on MIA Antunano and Dalton.... I was the Slick (A/C B Trp) that picked up Wiltrout... I had just been released that day and was flying back from Tay Ninh to Phu Loi... on board I had CE Beck and Gunner Elrod... also I had Mike Long, a Loach pilot with B TRP, and an ARVN interpreter

I got a call that help was needed south of Snoul, in Cambodia... we were full of fuel and headed in that direction... when we got there we were told that A TRP had dropped off a medic to help but he fell from a great height and was wounded and needed assistance also.... when I manuevered my ship I could see the wreck and Wiltrout up against a tree.

It took a long time to get low enough for someone to get on the "Rig", a long piece of rope with a log tied to the end, as a jungle penatrator.... without the graces of Charley and Elrod we would not have made it... the tail rotor was just feet from the trees and between manuverings it took about 5 minutes to get in place.. a long time when someone needs help but we had to stay right.

Charley Beck wanted to go down the rope and so did Elrod, but Mike Long said he would do it and keep our crew intact... it took a while but Beck and Elrod got the rope as far down as they could... Mike Long, Stogie 18, went down that rope and did all he and the A trp medic could do....

I hovered for forty five minutes, and remembering that Ed Lee, my great buddy and Peter Pee that day, asked if I needed a break, I told him I was afraid to turn loose.. we were so tight in the trees and not because of his abilities... when after a time I wondered what was going on, the site being on my blind side, SGT Beck would fire a shot to get Mike's attention and Mike would send a note via our penetrator, and Charley would hall it on board and then drop the line back down.

Mike tied Wiltrout on the line.. God knows how he carried him up the tree to do that.. the line was about15 feet off the ground...... it took a long time to manuever Wiltrout above the canopy but we made it. The Medavc boys weren't allowed across the "Fence" and we cried for one... We couldn't get back in time for Mike Long and the medic to be rescued... One fine Medavac crew said "Shove it" and went in to pull Mike and the Medic out... Mike said that the bad guys were on the trail and when he and the A TRP Medic got on it that the bad guys were there.. Mike said the Penatrator kept spinning and when it came to his time, he just shot.... the medic was incapacitated and could only hang on. Bless them MEDEVAC BOYS!!

We went to the Viet/ Cambodia border and had another Medevac waiting in Tall Cotton (Unsecured) as they say... before we got there the bad guys were shootin, not at us but at Wiltrout on the rope... we kept swinging Wiltrout... they missed! When we got back to Loc Ninh we had bout 70 pounds of fuel indicated.. we flew back high knowing our fuel state... Lucky Me.And Bless my crew..

Regards,

Roger Searcy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

2 Jun 05

My name is Mike Bergbauer. I was the Medic who was initially inserted to rescue Randy, Antunano and MR. Wiltrout. If I could answer any question anyone might have about that day I would do so.

You have done an outstanding job remembering some very fine soldiers.

Thanks again,

Mike Bergbauer

3 Jun 05

Mike Bergbauer - I feel - having been on one of the choppers in that area watching things unfold, deserves a hero's mention - absolutely for sure, for what he did that day getting on the ground to give medical aid to those men. Captain Wiltrout was the rescued and Mike was one of the rescuers. He was an amazing (hero) medic who should have been given a Silver Star for heroism above and beyound the call. Did anyone tell you he wouldn't leave until Wiltrout was out of that site? True! He was hurt and carried on to save that also hurt pilot.

Dan Sutherland

 

25 Jul 05

I was the first Slick on site after the crash and I inserted Mike Bergbauer on the site. I was able to come to a hover in the trees over the crash and finding that what slings and ropes we were able to put together were not long enough to reach. With some maneuvering and chopping of branches, was able to get the end of the rope about 15 to 20 feet from the ground. Mike went down the rope and had to drop resulting in injury to himself. I stayed on site till relieved, flew to Tay Ninh and picked up another aircraft due to damage to my main and tail rotors. I then flew back to an LZ near the crash where WO Wiltrout arrived on the end of a rope hanging from another aircraft. We picked him up and flew him to a medical facility. I would like to say I was impressed by the selfless dedication of all involved in this rescue especially to Mike Bergbauer for his willingness to put his life on the line for others.

Mike Platner
Spur 22
A Troop, 3/17cav
9/70-9/71

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

7 Oct 08

Hello Bear,

I am Spur 19, Aug 70-Aug 71, then CW-2 Thomas Richardson and was at the crash site flying an OH-6 around it with my observer and door gunner providing fire support for the rescue. We could see the NVA on ground trying to get to the downed a.c and were receiving and returning fire. I had flown with TIny Tm (Wiltrout) when he was in training. Antunano had been flying with me on missions in Cambodia. He and I went in together on our first mission into Cambodia. It was a lot more intense than we had expected, they would fire at you first when they saw or knew you were flying over them. Not what we were use to.

Before the crash we both had been released from flying combat missions because we were within a couple of weeks of coming home. We were to fly back on the same freedom bird. I remember telling him not to go on any more missions unless it was with me because we had made it this far together. It was no time to risk it, we were too short and we were only going to fly missions only if we had to. At the time of the crash I was test running an OH-6 that they were working on. Operations sent word that they need a crew to provide scout support for a downed A troop aircraft. Since luck would have it, I wa s in the a/c with it running and could be the quickest one to get there. I accepted the mission. I did not know that Gregory was part of the downed crew at that time.

The weather was real bad that day. We flew to the crash site and provided fire support around the crash site until the last UH-1 departed. I do know that it was one of my most nerve-racking flights. Although receiving fire and risk of being shot down myself, I knew I could not leave until that UH-1 left. I was praying for him more than myself because as soon as he could go, so could we. I wish I knew who my crew was that day, because they did a great job keeping myself and everyone safe from the NVA. My blessings go out to them.

I did not want to be there but we all did what we had to do, like it or not. I hate we lost two great people and Gregory and I were real close. Since that day there is not a month that goes by that I do not think about him and wonder just what made him go on that last flight. I guess that he will be with me until I leave this place myself. I am looking forward to seeing him up there.

Note: If I remember right the scout platoon leader was Cpt. White. I receive a DFC for my part in the rescue.

God Bless,

Thomas S Richardson
Spur 19
CW4, RET

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

23 Mar 12

Just learned today that Timothy Wiltrout passed away at the age of 38 (Exact date not known.) from Bell 205 crash while logging Hurrigan "HUGO" Wood in North Carolina for Helijet of Eugene, OR in 1990. This information courtesy of VHPA.

Bear

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

8 Sep 15

I just learned today that Michael Bergbauer received a Silver Star for his heroic actions that tragic day. It reads in part:

"For gallantry in action in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force: Private First Class Bergbauer distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions while serving as medical corpsman during an emergency mission to rescue a pilot and crew of a light observation helicopter that had been shot down near Snoul. Tall trees and heavy jungle made it necessary for rescuers to be lowered from a hovering helicopter, and Private First Class Bergbauer unhesitatingly volunteered to be lowered by means of an improvised sling from a height of approximately 100 feet. As he reached a point some 20 feet above the ground, turbulence caused the helicopter to shudder, and Private First Class Bergbauer lost his hold and fell to the ground. Despite two fractures in his back, and internal injuries, he crawled to the downed aircraft to aid the seriously injured pilot, and to attempt to revive the observer who was pinned in the wreckage. Private First Class Bergbauer's gallantry in action was in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army"

General Orders Number 6847 dtd 19 October 1971

It has also been drawn to my attention that Mike never received a Purple Heart for the stated injuries. If you have any thoughts on how a Purple Heart could be awarded today, please advise!

Bear

 

-----------------------------

 

[ Biographies courtesy of Homecoming II Project ]


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