VAL-4 Written Off Broncos

 
 BUNO: 155490   Date & Time: Night of July 12, 1969   Stationed: Binh Thuy 
 Crash Location: Near Ap Bac, Chau Doc Province, 45 miles W of Saigon 
Description:

Whilst on routine patrol, 155490 was shot down near Ap Bac, 45 miles west of Saigon. Per operational diary for US Navy Squadron VAL-4: "BuNo 155490 was shot down by enemy ground fire Saturday night, July 12. Both pilots are classified as missing in action but there is little reason for hope. The airplane was observed to be receiving fire at 2700 feet altitude, enter a shallow dive and strike the top of a mountain 1700 feet high. Explosion and fire ensued. No ejection seat rocket flame or inflated parachutes were in evidence. Air cover remained over the area all night and the next day, monitoring emergency radio frequencies, but received no signals.
 
A survey of the crash site from the air the next day revealed that the aircraft had broken up upon initial contact with the top of the mountain and spewed parts over a wide area for several hundred yards down the mountainside. Since the mountains and valley below are occupied by enemy forces and there is no suitable terrain to land a helicopter in the area, there is no intention at this time for further investigation at the crash site.
 
Since there was no radio transmission from the aircraft and that it appeared to be out of control after being hit by the ground fire, it is concluded that both pilots probably received fatal or incapacitating injuries prior to the crash"
 
Both crewmembers - Lt Aubrey Grady Martin (pilot) and Lt(jg) Roy Dean Sikkink (observer) - posted as MIA/KIA. The body of Lt(jg) Sikkink was recovered in 1969. The body of Lt. Martin was later found, and repatriated to the US on 31 July 1974, but not formally identified until 14 June 1977
 

 
 BUNO: 155503   Date & Time: 1645 December 20, 1969   Stationed: Vung Tau 
 Crash Location: Rung Sat Special Zone, 8 miles N of Vung Tau 
 Description:

Lost during patrol along the the Saigon Long Tau shipping channel while investigating suspicious sampan.
 
Per VAL-4 operational diary: "BuNo 155503 from the Vung Tau Detachment was lost on Saturday evening, 20 December 1969. The single aircraft was patrolling the Saigon Long Tau shipping channels with a pilot and Marine air observer aboard, under control of the Moon River Naval Operations Center.
 
The pilot advised the Center that he was descending to investigate a suspicious sampan at about 4:45 p.m., and the Center was unable to contact the flight after that radio transmission. After twenty minutes of silence, the Vung Tau VAL-4 alert crew was scrambled to search for the missing aircraft. The burning wreckage site was spotted 10 minutes later in the swampy Rung Sat Special Zone, 8 miles north of Vung Tau. There were no parachute canopies visible in the area and no beeping or voice transmissions were detected on the survival radio frequencies.
 
At the present time there is no factual evidence to indicate the cause of the crash, but the area is definitely hostile where ground fire is often encountered. ARVN troops are being inserted in the area to set up a perimeter around the crash site and a Navy investigating and salvage team will be placed on the scene by helos on Sunday morning."
 
Both crew - Lt(jg) Joel Alexis Sandberg, USN, and Capt Carl Edwin Long, USMC - posted as MIA/KIA. The remains of Capt Carl Edwin Long were recovered and returned to the United States in 1992. Carl's remains were buried at Arlington National Cemetery (Site 50 of Section 68) In Washington D.C., on September 16, 2004.
 

  
 BUNO: 155393   Date & Time: 30-MAR-1970   Stationed: Vung Tau 
 Crash Location: Hue Duc, 20 miles north of Rach Gia 
 Description: 

Crashed after being hit by ground fire during attack. Both the Pilot Lt Cdr John P Westerman and the co-pilot Lt(jg) Peter W Ford ejected, and survived the ejection to be rescued by an army helicopter. 
 

  
 BUNO: 155495   Date & Time: 07-JUN-1970   Stationed: Binh Thuy 
 Crash Location: Near an island in the Mekong River, five miles northeast of Vinh Long.
 Description:

Per opertational diary of US Navy Unit VAL-4: "Information concerning the loss of OV-10A BuNo 155495 was received from VAL-4 commanding officer at Binh Thuy. The Navy aircraft was shot down somewhere in the Mekong Delta on 7 June 1970, resulting in fatal injuries to Lt Cdr Jere Alan Barton. The second pilot, Lt Cdr James D. Hanks, survived with minor injuries.
 
The aircraft was attacking a target defended by .30 and .51 caliber machine guns when it was hit in the left wing/nacelle area by .30 calibre machine gun fire . The pilot in the front cockpit was apparently struck by the ground fire and the aircraft was on fire. The pilot in the rear cockpit repeatedly urged the other pilot to initiate ejection but received only a few unrelated words over the ICS. As the rear seat pilot prepared to eject himself, both ejection seats were fired, evidently initiated by the wounded pilot in the front cockpit. The ejections occurred at about 400 feet MSL.
 
The two escape systems functioned normally with both parachutes fully inflated prior to ground contact. However the wounded pilot was apparently unconscious since he remained prone and made no effort to release his parachute after landing. It is understood that this pilot sustained further injuries during subsequent helo rescue operations that may have precluded any chance for survival."
 
As note above, Lt Cdr Jere Alan Barton, wounded, but command ejected both crew at low level. (he later died of injuries sustained). Lt Cdr James D Hanks ejected at low level and survived, and was later rescued by an Army helicopter.
 
The remains of Lt Cdr Jere Alan Barton are buried in Site 494-2 in Section 46 of Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C
 

  
 BUNO: 155497   Date & Time: 29-SEP-1970   Stationed: Vung Tau 
 Crash Location: Xom Thong Xoai
 Description:

Crashed after being hit by ground fire near the village of Xom Thong Xoai, South Vietnam Both crew - Lt(jg) Ed A Bastarache and Lt(jg) Peter W Ford - ejected safely, and were rescued. Lt(jg) Ford had previously ejected from OV-10A 155393 on March 30 1970.
 

  
 BUNO: 155394   Date & Time: 29-OCT-1971   Stationed: Binh Thuy 
 Crash Location: Approx. 15 miles south-east of Phu Vinhnbsp;
 Description:

Crashed after being hit by ground fire about 15 miles southeast of Phu Vinh, South Vietnam. Both crew - Lt R L Segar (pilot) and Lt E A Smith (co-pilot) - ejected and survived to be rescued by an Army SAR helicopter.
 

  
 BUNO: 155461   Date & Time: 09-FEB-1972   Stationed: Binh Thuy 
 Crash Location: Into Sea off Binh Thuy
 Description:

Flew into the sea off the coast of South Vietnam, crashed at sea while spotting on a naval gunfire support mission, possibly due to pilot error, and was destroyed. Pilot - Lt Robert Edward Lutz- was KIA: co-pilot - 1st Lt Eugene Brindle - ejected and survived the crash
 

  
 BUNO: 155460   Date & Time: 07-AUG-1970   Stationed: NAS North Island, CA 
 Crash Location: NAS North Island, San Diego, California 
 Description:

Crashed On Landing August 7, 1970 at NAS North Island, San Diego, California. Both aircrew lost: Lt. "Flash" Leebern (Instructor Pilot) And Lt. Thomas Lange (Student Pilot)
 
Witness account & Crash Report
 

Reference/Sources:

  • Aviation Safety Net - OV-10s
  • Black Pony BUNOs and  Memorials
  • OV-10 Bronco Ejection History
  • Find-A-Grave
  • OV-10 Bronco Net Tech Reports
  • Vietnam Virtual "Wall"

  • Email: Additions/Comments to Bob