BIBBS, WAYNE (NMN)
Remains of 3 missing Vietnam soldiers to be buriedMay 27, 2011WATERFORD, Conn.—The remains of three soldiers missing since their helicopter crashed in Vietnam in 1972 are expected to be buried together this fall at Arlington National Cemetery, the pilot's widow said Friday. .....
Name: Wayne Bibbs Rank/Branch: E3/US Army Unit: Date of Birth: 14 June 1954 (Chicago IL) Home City of Record: Blue Island IL Date of Loss: 11 June 1972 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 162326N 1072407E (YD565135) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: OH6A Refno: 1874
Other Personnel In Incident: Arnold E. Holm; Robin R. Yeakley (missing from one OH6A); James E. Hackett; James R. McQuade, Richard D. Wiley (missing from second OH6A).
REMARKS: EXPLODE - NO PARABEEPERS - J
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 2006.
SYNOPSIS: By December 1971, U.S. troops in-country had declined dramatically - from the 1968 peak of nearly 55,000 to less than 30,000. The enemy, temporarily on the defensive by the moves into Cambodia in 1970 and Laos in 1971, began deploying new NVA forces southward in preparation for another major offensive.
In March 1972, the Vietnamese launched a three-pronged invasion of the South. One NVA force swept south across the DMZ, its goal apparently the conquest of the northern provinces and the seizure of Hue. A second NVA force drove from Laos into the Central Highlands, and a third effort involved a drive from Cambodia into provinces northwest of Saigon.
Fierce fighting ensued on all three fronts, with NVA success the greatest in the northern provinces. Fighting continued until by June, the North Vietnamese began withdrawing from some of their advance positions, still holding considerable amounts of South Vietnamese territory in the northern provinces.
On June 11, 1972, Capt. Arnold Holm, pilot, PFC Wayne Bibbs, gunner, and SP4 Robin Yeakley, passenger, were aboard an OH6A observation helicopter flying from Camp Eagle to the Northern Provinces of South Vietnam on a visual reconnaissance mission. The function of their "Loach" chopper was searching out signs of the enemy around two landing zones (LZ's). The OH6 joined with the AH1G Cobra gunship as "Pink Teams" to screen the deployment of air cavalry troops. On this day, Holm's aircraft was monitoring an ARVN team insertion.
During the mission, Holm reported that he saw enemy living quarters, bunkers, and numerous trails. On his second pass over a ridge, at about 25' altitude, the aircraft exploded and burned. It was reported that before the aircraft crashed that smoke and white phosphorous grenades began exploding. After the aircraft impacted with the ground, it exploded again. Other aircraft in the area received heavy anti-aircraft fire. No one was seen to exit the downed helicopter, nor were emergency radio beepers detected.
In another OH6A (tail #67-16275), 1Lt. James R. McQuade, pilot, and SP4 James E. Hackett, gunner, tried to enter the area of the crashed OH6A, but encountered heavy fire and their aircraft was also shot down. McQuade's aircraft was hit, and the intensity of the resulting fire caused white phosphorous and smoke grenades carried aboard the aircraft to explode prior to hitting the ground. The aircraft continued to burn after impact and no crewmen left the ship before or after the crash.
No ground search was made for survivors or remains of either aircraft because of hostile fire in the area.
There are unanswered questions remaining from Vietnam. Of the nearly 2500 Americans who did not return alive or dead, experts venture that hundreds may still be alive. Thousands of reports have been received concerning them. Whether the two OH6A crews are among those seems unlikely. But one can imagine their willingness to deploy on one more combat team to bring those who are alive home to freedom.
Waynes mother, REBECCA "Becky" BIBBS passed away 18 Nov 1996. She was 64.
Chicago Sun Times (IL) July 26, 2006
Site of soldier's '72 crash possibly found: Family of 17-year-old from Blue Island waiting decades for discovery Eric Herman ; The Chicago Sun-Times
The Pentagon appears to have found the final resting place of Pfc. Wayne Bibbs....But his mother will never know......
Search may uncover GI's fate Chicago Tribune Published September 10, 2006
BLUE ISLAND -- The remains of U.S. Army Pfc. Wayne Bibbs may be closer to coming home--35 years after the Blue Island teenager disappeared in Vietnam.....
Soldiers Missing from Vietnam War Identified
11/07/2011 10:37 AM CST
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 937-11
November 07, 2011
Soldiers Missing from Vietnam War Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of three servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
Army Capt. Arnold E. Holm Jr. of Waterford, Conn.; Spc. Robin R. Yeakley of South Bend, Ind.; and Pfc. Wayne Bibbs of Chicago, will be buried as a group, in a single casket representing the entire crew, on Nov. 9, in Arlington National Cemetery. On June 11, 1972, Holm was the pilot of an OH-6A Cayuse helicopter flying a reconnaissance mission in Thua Thien-Hue Province, South Vietnam. Also on board were his observer, Yeakley, and his door gunner, Bibbs. The aircraft made a second pass over a ridge, where enemy bunkers had been sighted, exploded and crashed, exploding again upon impact. Crews of other U.S. aircraft, involved in the mission, reported receiving enemy ground fire as they overflew the crash site looking for survivors.
Between 1993 and 2008, joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) teams, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), interviewed witnesses, investigated, surveyed and excavated possible crash sites several times. They recovered human remains, OH-6A helicopter wreckage and crew-related equipmentincluding two identification tags bearing Yeakley's name.
Scientists from the JPAC used forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence to identify the crew.
Today more than 1,600 American remain un-accounted for from the Vietnam War. More than 900 servicemen have been accounted for from that conflict, and returned to their families for burial with military honors since 1973. The U.S. government continues to work closely with the governments of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia to recover all Americans lost in the Vietnam War.
For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.