My POW/MIA Donald Martin Cramer
Rank/Branch: W1/US Army
MOS: 100B = Utility/Observation Helicopter Pilot
Unit: 176th Aviation Company, 14th Aviation Battalion, 16th Aviation Group,
23rd Infantry Division (Americal)
Flight Class 70-5/70-3
Date of Birth: 02 August 1947 (Bonne Terre MO)
Home City of Record: Farmington MO
Date of Loss: 22 March 1971
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 163623N 1063343E (XD666365)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H #68-15759, total flight hours 1538
Call sign: Minuteman
Other Personnel In Incident:
Walter R. Hall;
Donald P. Knutsen;
Source: Compiled from one or more of the following:
raw data from U.S.Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published
Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 1998 with information provided through the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association.REMARKS: CRASH - N EXITS OBS - NO SEARCH -JSYNOPSIS:
The families of the men aboard the UH1H aircraft lost on March 22,1971 were given the following account:
On March 22, 1971, W1 Reginald Cleve,
aircraft commander; W1 John G. Traver, pilot; SP4 Donald P. Knutsen, crew
chief; and Walter R. Hall, door gunner, comprised the crew of a UH1H
helicopter in a flight of five helicopters conducting an emergency resupply
mission when the helicopter burst into flames and crashed.The aircraft was
flying at an altitude of about 5000 feet above sea level in
Savannakhet Province, Laos, when it was
fired upon by a hostile ground force
and an explosion occurred in the cargo compartment.
The helicopter impacted
essentially in one piece and again exploded
and continued to burn. No one
was observed to exit the aircraft, and it was
the opinion of the
investigating committee that no one
could have survived. No rescue attempts
were made due to the heavy concentration
of enemy troops and the aircraft
fire in the area.
A family member of one of the crew
states, "one reason for
our feeling that
he may still be alive is that his craft
was hit, and he radioed to the
leader of the mission that he would be
forced to land. The remainder of the
aircraft went on to deliver their cargoes,
nd as they returned to their
base, they reportedly passed over this site.
They saw (the downed
helicopter) on the ground,
but there was NOT any fire, nor did they see any
of the men around it."
Because thousands of reports have been received that Americans are still
alive in Indochina, and because
distorted stories were given many family
members, particularly relatives of those
men missing in Laos
(where we were
"not at war"),
it is understandable that many family
members have lost faith
in what they are told about the fates of their men.
Experts believe that
hundreds of Americans may be alive today
Asia as captives. The crew aboard the
UH1H lost that day in May 1971 could
be among them. Surely they expected
that they might be injured or killed.
The thought that they might be abandoned
probably never crossed their
minds.What are we doing to bring these men home?
Cleve's family received little information regarding his loss over the
years. His wife, after PFOD hearings,
eventually remarried and raised a
family, her loss buried deep within her.
Cleve's father in law, a WWII
veteran, knew the terrors that war held for
his son-in-law. His admiration
for Cleve never waned.
At Thanksgiving dinner, 1998 the members of his
family were astounded to find out that
in the 80's reports of pictures of
Cleve's dogtags had been received by the USG, and mentioned in Nigel
Cawthorn's book, BAMBOO CAGE.
Other post-war reports found in the LOC were
just as shocking to them. The recently discovered information has given them
new direction and renewed incentive to find out what truly happened to
Reginald David Cleve.
International Adoption Team Leader
Rank/Branch: W2/US Army
Unit: C Troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division
Date of Birth: 12 January 1946 (Columbus OH)
Home City of Record: St. Louis MO
Date of Loss: 05 January 1971
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 161657N 1073102E (ZD060160)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident: SP4 Ronnie Vago Rogers (killed, body recovered)
Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S.
Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families,
published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 1998.
SYNOPSIS: At 0210 hours on January 5, 1971, CW2 Donald M. Cramer, pilot of
an AH1G (tail #67-16083), departed the Hue/Phu Bai Airfield on a training
flight mission with SP4 Ronnie V. Rogers aboard. No contact was established
after takeoff. When the aircraft failed to return within a reasonable time,
efforts were made to establish radio contact. After checking all airfields
and contact bases in the area, an aerial search was initiated at 1640 hours,
and lasted until dark.
On January 8, SP4 Roger's body was found on the beach. The search shifted
primarily into the coastline areas until about January 20, with no sightings
of the aircraft or of CW2 Cramer.
Because it was determined that Rogers had drowned, it was assumed that the
aircraft departed its destination (a fire base), and crashed into the South
China Sea. CW2 Cramer was never found. He was listed Missing in Action.
Whether Cramer drowned as Rogers did on January 5, 1971, may never be
learned. The U.S. Army, believing there was a chance he survived, did not
declare him officially dead for over four years, and then only in general
administrative "presumptive findings of death" which were sought for all
As the years pass, and more and more reports are received indicating that
many Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia, one must wonder if CW2
Cramer is one of those said to be alive. If he is, what must he be thinking
Richard T. Rannells
International Adoption Team Leader
Missouri POW/MIA or KIAs