Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
James Grier Kayes “Jimmy”, Captain, USAF (KIA)October 04, 1949 – May 14, 1975
James Grier Kays was born on October 4, 1949. According to our records Georgia was his home or enlistment state and Fulton County included within the archival record. We have Atlanta listed as the city.
He had enlisted in the Air Force. Served during the Vietnam War. He had the rank of Captain. Occupation or specialty was Pilot. Served with 7th Air Force, 21st Special Operations Squadron.
Kays experienced a traumatic event which resulted in loss of life on May 13, 1975. Recorded circumstances attributed to: “Died through non-hostile action, helicopter air crash”. Incident location: Thailand.
On May 13, 1975, 16 Sikorsky CH-53C’s took off from RTAFB Nakhon Phanom to assist in the recovery operation of the SS Mayaguez.
One of them, CH-53 #68-10933 carried a crew of four and 18 USAF Security Police. Shortly after takeoff, they fell out of formation and disappeared from radar 40 miles west of the airfield. The helicopter had crashed and exploded on impact. All 22 aboard were killed in the crash. They were all posthumously awarded the Bronze Star medal.
We identified 23 casualties in our archive that might be related to the #68-10933 incident on May 13, 1975.
◼Jimmy P Black :: Security Specialist
◼Bobby G Collums :: Military Policeman
◼Gerald A Coyle :: Military Policeman
◼Thomas D Dwyer :: Military Policeman
◼Bob W Ford :: Law Enforcement
◼Gerald W Fritz :: Military Policeman
◼Laurence E Froehlich :: Pilot
◼Jackie D Glenn :: Security Police
◼Darrell L Hamlin :: Military Policeman
◼Gregory L Hankamer :: Security Policeman
◼David A Higgs :: Military Policeman
◼Faleagafula Ilaoa :: Security Policeman
◼James G Kays :: Pilot
◼Michael D Lane :: Security Policeman
◼Dennis W London :: Security Policeman
◼Robert P Mathias :: Security Policeman
◼William R McKelvey :: Military Policeman
◼George E McMullen III :: Flight Engineer
◼Edgar C Moran II :: Military Policeman
◼Tommy R Nealis :: Security Policeman
◼Paul J Raber :: Security Policeman
◼Robert W Ross :: Military Policeman
◼Robert P Weldon :: Flight Engineer
James Grier Kays is buried or memorialized at Arlington Memorial Park, Sandy Springs, Fulton County, Georgia.
James is honored on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC. Name inscribed at VVM Wall, Panel 01w, Line 127.
★ Bronze Star★ United States Aviator Badge★ National Defense Service Medal★ Vietnam Campaign Medal★ Vietnam Service Medal★ Air Force Presidential Unit Citation★ Vietnam Gallantry Cross★ Air Force Good Conduct Medal