Ronald Lee Longanecker

Team Partyline

 

08 Jul 1966

LCpl.

Longanecker

Ronald

L.

Portland

OR

9E

7

On 8 July 1966 LCpl Ronald Lee Longanecker, age 18, became the first Marine who was killed in action from hostile causes in Quang Tri Province. He was a member of Alpha Company, 3rd Recon Battalion.

The following is taken from the After Action Report 3-66 dated 8 July 1966 and from my personal memories.

On 23 June 1966 a recon unit was formed from Recon Group Bravo which at the time was located at Phu Bai and moved to an area near the Dong Ha Airstrip. The reconnaissance operation was called Task Unit Charlie. It was sent north to verify if the NVA had infiltrated through the DMZ. This task organized mission was in support of the forthcoming Operation Hastings. On July 1st patrols began to be inserted by CH-46 helicopters into the unknown jungle terrain. Between 1-7 July, four recon patrols were inserted but then emergency extracted because of massed troops of the North Vietnamese Army that were occupying the zones.

On 8 July at 1630 hours, Recon Team Partyline, a sixteen-man patrol, was inserted at YD058498. Upon insertion, it was taken under fire by numerous small arms and automatic weapons. It was extracted without incident. At 1815 hours the team was in the process of insertion into a different zone, at YD072468, when NVA were observed in the LZ. The NVA opened fire and the first helicopter pulled out of the LZ and radioed the second to do the same. The second helicopter attempted to pull out before landing but lost engine power. To lighten the load, the pilots jettisoned fuel but crashed while doing so and immediately burst into flames. All but one Marine was able to exit the burning helo. Ronald Lee Longanecker perished in the blaze. The reconners and the helo crew then evaded the NVA and were picked up by another helicopter at YD059465. During this attempted insertion seven men from the Partyline Team were also WIA.

Ronald Lee Longanecker also became the first Marine to be listed as Killed In Action/Body not recovered in Quang Tri Province. 

 

George Neville

 

During April 2004 the crash location was searched during the 70 th Joint Field Activity . The investigative report is below

 

R 072103Z JUN 04 ou:JPAC(uc) DETAILED REPORT OF INVESTIGATION OF CASE 0390 CONDUCTED DURING THE 77TH JOINT FI  UNCLAS

 

TO  AMEMBASSY HANOI

CC  CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI(UC)

    CDR USPACOM LO WASHINGTON DC

    CIA WASHINGTON DC

    DIA WASHINGTON DC

    DPMO(UC)

    JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC

    JPAC ANNEX CAMP SMITH HI(UC)

    JPAC(UC)

    SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

    SECSTATE WASHINGTON DC

    WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC

 

 

SUBJ/DETAILED REPORT OF INVESTIGATION OF CASE 0390 CONDUCTED DURING THE 77TH JOINT FIELD ACTIVITY IN THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM// AKNLDG/COMMENTS IN THIS REPORT ARE BASED ON FIELD ANALYSIS AND ARE NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE FINAL ANALYTICAL CONCLUSIONS.// REF/A/MSG/CDR JTF-FA/170712ZJUL02// REF/B/MSG/CDR JTF-FA/300116ZSEP99// REF/C/DOC/1:50,000 SCALE MAP// NARR/REFERENCES

    A.  REF A IS THE DETAILED REPORT OF INVESTIGATION (DRI) OF CASE 0390 CONDUCTED DURING THE 70TH JOINT FIELD ACTIVITY (JFA).

    B.  REF B IS THE DRI OF PRIORITY CASE 1820 CONDUCTED DURING THE 56TH JFA.

    C.  REF C IS MAP DATA:  NAME:  THON DOC KINH; SHEET:  6342 II; SERIES: L7014; EDITION:  2-AMS, 1968. RMKS/1.  SUMMARY.

    A.  CIRCUMSTANCES OF LOSS:  THIS CASE INVOLVES THE 8 JULY 1966 LOSS OF A CH-46 HELICOPTER ON A PATROL INSERTION MISSION, RESULTING IN ONE UNACCOUNTED-FOR INDIVIDUAL.

    B.  SUMMARY OF INVESTIGATION:  ON 27 APRIL 2004, THE INVESTIGATION TEAM

(IT1) INVESTIGATED CASE 0390 IN CAM NGHIA VILLAGE, CAM LO DISTRICT, QUANG TRI PROVINCE.  IT1 RE-INTERVIEWED ONE WITNESS, WHO PROVIDED INFORMATION REGARDING A HELICOPTER CRASH SITE HE FOUND IN 1977.  THE WITNESS CLAIMED HE SAW REMAINS AT THE CRASH SITE.  IT1 SURVEYED A SITE INDICATED BY THE WITNESS AS THE CRASH SITE OF A HELICOPTER, BUT FOUND ONLY NONDESCRIPT PIECES OF METAL.

    C.  REMAINS/PERSONAL EFFECTS:  IT1 DID NOT RECOVER OR RECEIVE ANY REMAINS OR PERSONAL EFFECTS WHILE INVESTIGATING CASE 0390. 2.  DETAILS OF INVESTIGATION.

    A.  PURPOSE:

        (1) RE-SURVEY THE CRASH SITE LOCATED AT 48Q YD 05862 46440 IN CAM NGHIA VILLAGE (XAX CAM NGHIAX), CAM LO DISTRICT.  RE-DEFINE THE LIMITS OF THE CRASH SITE AND OTHER LOGISTICAL DATA.  CONSIDER USING AN MK-26 METAL DETECTOR OR SIMILAR DEVICE TO ASSIST IN THE SURVEY.  (NOT ACCOMPLISHED; SEE PARA 6, BELOW.)

        (2) RE-INTERVIEW MR. HO TO (HOOF TOW), WHO LIVES IN KHE LAN HAMLET (THOON KHE LAWNJ), MO O VILLAGE (XAX MOF OS), DA KRONG DISTRICT.  ASK MR. TO TO SHOW THE TEAM WHERE HE OBSERVED REMAINS.  (ACCOMPLISHED; SEE PARA 2.E.(1), BELOW.)

    B.  ON 20 APRIL 2004, IT1 ARRIVED IN QUANG TRI PROVINCE TO INVESTIGATE SIX CASES.

    C.  TEAM COMPOSITION:

        (1) U.S. CONTINGENT:

CAPT WILLIAM P. DOBBINS III                    TEAM LEADER

SFC VIET (NMI) NGO-LUONG                       ASSISTANT TEAM LEADER

PO1 KHUONG H. VU                               LINGUIST/ANALYST

TSGT BRYAN N. MOLITOR                          LINGUIST/ANALYST

TSGT SAM (NMI) PHAM                            LINGUIST/ANALYST

SGT THADDEUS L. LAND                           ANALYST

SSGT MARTIN J. FIEDLER                         ANALYST

MSGT ROGER D. ANTRIM                           LIFE SUPPORT

                                               INVESTIGATOR

HCMS FRANK C. GRAHAM III                       MEDIC

GYSGT GLEN U. ANDREWS                          EXPLOSIVE ORDINANCE

                                               DISPOSAL TECHNICIAN

        (2) VIETNAMESE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT CONTINGENT:

LUU VAN THO (LWU VAWN THOJ)                    TEAM LEADER

LAI XUAN CHIEU (LAIJ XUAAN CHIEEUF)            TEAM MEMBER

HOANG NGOC GIAN (HOANGF NGOCJ GIANR)           TEAM MEMBER

TRAN DINH VAN (TRAANF DINHF VAAN)              TEAM MEMBER

BUI VAN KET (BUIF VAWN KEETS)                  TEAM MEMBER

        (3) QUANG TRI PROVINCE CONTINGENT:

TRAN KHANH PHOI (TRAANF KHANHS PHOOI)          TEAM LEADER

        (4) DA KRONG DISTRICT CONTINGENT:

HOANG VAN HOA (HOANGF VAWN HOAF)               TEAM LEADER

    D.  ON 20 APRIL 2004, IT1 MET WITH THE QUANG TRI PROVINCE CONTINGENT AT THE HIEU GIANG HOTEL IN DONG HA TOWN, QUANG TRI PROVINCE TO DISCUSS THE INVESTIGATION PLAN.  THE PROVINCE TEAM HAD LOCATED THE REQUESTED WITNESS AND AGREED TO PROVIDE THE WITNESS FOR INTERVIEW.

    E.  ON 27 APRIL 2004, IT1 DEPARTED THE HIEU GIANG HOTEL AND TRAVELED FOR 55 MINUTES ALONG A SEMI-IMPROVED ROAD TO A VEHICLE DROP-OFF POINT LOCATED AT 48Q YD 08312 48630 (COORDINATES WERE ACQUIRED USING A GARMIN GPS-3 PLUS GLOBAL POSITIONING SYSTEM (GPS) RECEIVER, TRACKING NINE SATELLITES USING THE INDIAN THAILAND DATUM).  FROM THE VEHICLE DROP-OFF POINT IT1 WALKED FOR 80 MINUTES TO 48Q YD 05865 46326 (FIVE SATELLITES) WHERE IT1 INTERVIEWED ONE WITNESS WHO PROVIDED THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

        (1) WITNESS:

            (A) NAME:  HO TO (HOOF TOW)

            (B) AGE:  62 YOA

            (C) RESIDENCE AND LENGTH OF TIME THERE:  KHE LAN HAMLET (THOON KHE LAWNJ), MO O VILLAGE (XAX MOF OS), DA KRONG DISTRICT, QUANG TRI PROVINCE; SINCE 1977.

            (D) CURRENT OCCUPATION:  FARMER.

            (E) OCCUPATION AT TIME OF INCIDENT:  LOCAL MILITIA IN DAK LAK PROVINCE.

            (F) RESIDENCE AT TIME OF INCIDENT:  DAK LAK PROVINCE.

            (G) BACKGROUND:  A JOINT TEAM HAD PREVIOUSLY INTERVIEWED MR. TO DURING JFA'S 56 AND 70 (REF B AND A).

            (H) STATEMENT:

                ((1)) MR. TO MOVED FROM DAK LAK PROVINCE TO KHE LAN HAMLET, MO O VILLAGE, DA KRONG DISTRICT, QUANG TRI PROVINCE IN 1977.  ON AN UNRECALLED DATE IN 1977, HE DISCOVERED A HELICOPTER CRASH SITE WHILE FARMING.  THE HELICOPTER WAS LARGE, GREEN IN COLOR AND HAD TWO LARGE PROPELLERS OF THE SAME SIZE.  THE HELICOPTER WAS STILL INTACT AND MR. TO OBSERVED TWO MACHINE GUNS, EACH POSITIONED AT ONE OF THE TWO DOORS.  THERE WAS WRITING ON THE HELICOPTER, BUT BECAUSE HE COULD NOT READ, MR. TO COULD NOT REMEMBER THE MARKINGS.  WHEN HE ENTERED THE HELICOPTER, HE OBSERVED SEVERAL SMALL PIECES OF BONE IN THE CABIN OF THE AIRCRAFT.  ALTHOUGH HE DID NOT SEE ANY LARGE OR DISTINGUISHABLE REMAINS, HE ESTIMATED THE AMOUNT OF REMAINS TO BE THOSE OF TWO INDIVIDUALS.  HE LEFT THE REMAINS IN PLACE BECAUSE HE WAS AFRAID AND PROCEEDED TO TAKE ONE ROTOR ASSEMBLY AND ONE PIECE OF AIRCRAFT SEAT FROM THE HELICOPTER BACK TO HIS HOUSE.  MR. TO DID NOT SEE ANY CLOTHING, PERSONAL EFFECTS, OR SURVIVAL EQUIPMENT AT THE SITE.

                ((2)) MR. TO NEVER TOLD ANYONE ABOUT THE HELICOPTER CRASH SITE, BUT KNEW OTHER LOCAL RESIDENTS WERE AWARE OF THE SITE.  HE RETURNED ON AN UNRECALLED DATE IN LATE 1977 AND OBSERVED THE WRECKAGE HAD BEEN HEAVILY SCAVENGED.  THE LOCALS BURNED THE WRECKAGE INTO MANAGEABLE SIZE PIECES TO MAKE THE PIECES EASIER TO TRANSPORT FROM THE SITE.  MR. TO DID NOT KNOW THE DISPOSITION OF THE REMAINS HE OBSERVED INSIDE THE HELICOPTER DURING HIS FIRST VISIT TO THE SITE.  FOLLOWING THE INTERVIEW MR. TO SHOWED THE TEAM THE LOCATION HE SAW THE HELICOPTER WITH REMAINS.  THIS IS THE SAME SITE HE LED THE IT TO DURING JFA 70 (REF A).

                ((3)) MR. TO DID NOT KNOW OF ANY INCIDENTS INVOLVING UNACCOUNTED-FOR AMERICANS, PRISONER-OF-WAR CAMPS, OTHER AIRCRAFT CRASH SITES, AMERICAN BURIAL SITES, OR AMERICANS WHO REMAINED IN VIETNAM AFTER 1975. 3.  MATERIAL EVIDENCE.

    A.  RETAINED BY JPAC:  NONE.

    B.  PHOTOGRAPHED AND LEFT IN PLACE:  NONE.

    C.  REMAINS:  NONE.

4.  SITE SURVEY RESULTS.

    A.  AREA DATA:

        (1) PROVINCE:  QUANG TRI.

        (2) DISTRICT:  DA KRONG.

        (3) VILLAGE/TOWN/CITY:  MO O VILLAGE.

        (4) VICINITY GPS GRID COORDINATE:  48Q YD 05865 46326 (GARMIN GPS-3 PLUS RECEIVER, FIVE SATELLITES, INDIAN THAILAND DATUM).

        (5) VICINITY MAP GRID COORDINATE:  48Q 058 463.

    B.  MAP DATA:

        (1) MAP NAME:  THON DOC KINH.

        (2) MAP SHEET:  6342 II.

        (3) MAP SERIES:  L7014.

        (4) MAP EDITION:  2-AMS, 1968.

        (5) MAP DATUM:  INDIAN DATUM 1960.

    C.  SITE ACCESSIBILITY:  SITE IS ACCESSIBLE BY A 55-MINUTE DRIVE FROM DONG HA TOWN TO A VEHICLE DROP-OFF POINT FOLLOWED BY AN 80-MINUTE WALK, APPROXIMATELY THREE AND ONE HALF KILOMETERS, DOWN A WELL ESTABLISHED TRAIL. VNOSMP OFFICIALS INFORMED IT1 IF THE WEATHER IS RAINY THE TEAM WILL HAVE TO WALK FROM CAM CHINH VILLAGE, AND WALK FIVE TO SIX KILOMETERS TO THE CRASH SITE.

    D.  SITE DESCRIPTION:

        (1) TYPE OF SITE:  HELICOPTER CRASH SITE.

        (2) DIMENSIONS:  TEN METERS BY TEN METERS.

        (3) SIGNIFICANT FEATURES:

            (A) DISTANCE TO THE NEAREST ROAD:  3.5 KILOMETERS.

            (B) NEAREST POPULATED AREA:

                ((1)) NAME:  KHE LAN HAMLET.

                ((2)) DISTANCE FROM SITE:  SITE IS LOCATED WITHIN KHE LAN HAMLET.

                ((3)) ESTIMATED AVAILABLE LABORERS:  100.

            (C) SITE SENSITIVITY:  NONE.

            (D) MAJOR TERRAIN FEATURES:  THE HAMLET LIES WITHIN A SMALL VALLEY WITH 100 TO 200-METER HIGH MOUNTAINS AT THE NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN ENDS.  THE LZ IS A LARGE, FLAT AREA WITH MINIMAL VEGETATION.  THERE IS A SMALL STREAM AT THE SOUTHWESTERN END OF THE VALLEY, JUST BEFORE THE RISE OF THE MOUNTAINS.

    E.  LANDING ZONE RECOMMENDATION:

        (1) LOCATION:  48Q YD 0587 4621 (GARMIN GPS-3 PLUS RECEIVER, FIVE SATELLITES, INDIAN THAILAND DATUM).

        (2) DISTANCE TO SITE:  100 METERS FROM SITE.

        (3) DISTANCE TO BASE CAMP:  ADJACENT AND WEST OF BASE CAMP AREA.

        (4) CONSIDERATIONS:  N/A.

    F.  BASE CAMP RECOMMENDATION: 

        (1) LOCATION:  IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE LZ.

        (2) DISTANCE TO SITE:  100 METERS FROM SITE.

        (3) WATER SOURCE:  NONE.

        (4) HOTEL AVAILABILITY:  NONE.

    G.  REMAINS FOUND AT SITE:  NONE.

    H.  ESTIMATED EXCAVATION REQUIREMENTS:

        (1) NUMBER OF DAYS:  TWO JFAS.

        (2) NUMBER OF WORKERS:  50 - 100.

        (3) SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:  NONE.

    I.  WATER SOURCE:

        (1) DISTANCE FROM SITE:  A SMALL INTERMITTENT STREAM APPROXIMATELY 200 METERS SOUTHWEST OF LZ.  DURING THE DRY SEASON, THE STREAM IS DRY.

        (2) WET SCREENING SUPPORTABLE:  NO.

    J.  TERRAIN AND WEATHER CONSIDERATIONS:

        (1) EFFECT OF WEATHER:  ACCORDING TO THE WITNESS THE RAINY SEASON FOR THIS AREA IS DURING THE MONTHS OF SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER.

        (2) SLOPE:  PREDOMINANTLY FLAT AND LEVEL.

        (3) VEGETATION:  THE SURROUNDING AREA IS COVERED WITH THICK BRUSH AND SMALL TREES.

        (4) SOIL:  LOOSE SOIL EMBEDDED WITH SMALL ROCKS.

    K.  SAFETY:

        (1) EOD HAZARD:  NONE.

        (2) TERRAIN:  THE SITE LIES IN A SMALL CLEARING AMID THICK BRUSH AND SMALL TREES.

        (3) WILDLIFE:  INSECTS, BEES AND LEECHES.

5.  PERTINENT LOCATION OR DATA CHANGES:  NONE.

6.  ANALYST COMMENTS.

    A.  IT1 INTERVIEWED MR. TO AT THE SITE WHERE HE DISCOVERED THE HELICOPTER CONTAINING REMAINS.  IT1 SURVEYED THE AREA INDICATED BY THE WITNESS.  A VISUAL SURFACE SEARCH REVEALED SEVERAL PIECES OF METAL, 9-MM AMMUNITION CASINGS AND MISCELLANEOUS SCREWS.  A SWEEP OF THE AREA WITH A FISHER METAL DETECTOR ALSO PRODUCED SEVERAL POSITIVE METAL INDICATIONS REVEALING SIMILAR TYPE ITEMS WHEN THE TEAM DUG AT THE INDICATION AREAS.  IT1 DID NOT FIND ANYTHING TO SPECIFICALLY CORRELATE THIS SITE WITH CASE 0390.

    B.  IT1 TEAM LEADER AND CASE ANALYST ATTEMPTED TO REACH SITE REQUIRED IN PARAGRAPH 2.A.(1).  DUE TO THE DENSE VEGETATION AND THICK UNDERGROWTH THE CLOSEST POINT OF APPROACH TO THE REQUIRED LOCATION WAS FIFTY METERS.  IT1 TEAM LEADER AND CASE ANALYST DID NOT SEE ANY INDICATIONS OF A HELICOPTER CRASH WHILE CRAWLING THROUGH THE BRUSH ATTEMPTING TO GET TO LEAD LOCATION. 7.  LIFE SUPPORT INVESTIGATOR COMMENTS:  NO LIFE SUPPORT OR AIRCREW RELATED MATERIALS WERE RECOVERED OR OBSERVED DURING THIS INVESTIGATION. 8.  TEAM LEADER COMMENTS.

    A.  CONCUR WITH ANALYST COMMENTS IN PARAGRAPH 6.

    B.  HOST GOVERNMENT COOPERATION/SUPPORT WERE GOOD AT ALL LEVELS. 9.  DETACHMENT COMMANDER COMMENTS:  NONE.//

 

 

Please visit Patti Woodard's very nice webpage on her tribute to Portland Orgeons Missing Vietnam Veterans. Ronald Longanecker was from Portland.

 

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