Dedicated to the Preservation of the
U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Larry W. Maysey, Sergeant, USAF (KIA)May 18, 1946 – November 09, 1967
On November 8, 1967, two Air Force “Jolly Greens” (#26 and #29) from the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron were scrambled from Da Nang Air Base at 1505 hours for an emergency extraction of five surviving members of a Special Forces reconnaissance team which had suffered heavy casualties while operating deep in a denied area in Laos. The recovery effort was to be recorded by the Squadron as one of the largest and most hazardous on record.
The two Air Force helicopters were advised by forward air control to hold while three Army UH-1B gunships softened the area with rockets and machine gun fire. An Air Force C-130 gunship, meanwhile, provided flare support for the mission. At 1630Z, Jolly Green 29 picked up the three indigenous personnel before being driven off by hostile fire. Damaged, Jolly Green 29 left and made an emergency landing at Khe Sanh. 20 minutes later, Jolly Green 26, flown by CAPT Gerald Young, with flight crew consisting of CAPT Ralph Brower, co-pilot; SSGT Eugene Clay, flight engineer; and SGT Larry Maysey, rescue specialist; braved the ground fire to pick up Special Forces SP4 Joseph G. Kusick and MSGT Bruce R. Baxter, both wounded. The helicopter was hit by automatic weapons fire, crashed and burst into flames.
By the afternoon of November 9, a recovery team was inserted into the area and reached the crash site of the burned HH-3. Because of fading light, it was impossible to inspect the wreckage at that time.
On 10 November, the wreckage was searched and 3 charred remains were found.Two of the remains had identification tags which identified them as members of the crew. The third remains had no tags, but were identified as SP4 Kusick, radio operator of the reconnaissance team, as the long antenna from his PRC-25 radio were found on his body. CAPT Young had survived and was rescued 17 hours after the crash of the aircraft.
About 34 meters downhill from the wreckage, another set of remains were found which were readily identified as MSGT Baxter from the facial features.No trace was found of the third crew member. The remains of the two crewmen and Kusick were removed from the aircraft and placed with MSGT Baxter’s remains so they could be hoisted as one lift into a hovering helicopter. The identification tags of the crewmembers were placed with the remains. Weather conditions and enemy action would not permit helicopters to make the extraction either that day or the day following.
The remains of the crew and passengers aboard Jolly Green 26 were never recovered. Although the location of the crash is known, the bodies of the crew and recon team who died still lie on foreign soil. The five are among nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos. Not one prisoner was released from Laos, and few remains have been recovered.
While it is a great sadness to know a loved one is dead and his body is lying far from home, the greater tragedy is those known to have been prisoners of war who did not return, and those who are missing in action.
Since the war ended, “several million documents” and “over 250,000 interviews” have been reviewed relating to Americans prisoner, missing or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Many officials who have reviewed this largely-classified information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still alive in captivity today.
These reports increase the agony for families who want to know what happened to their sons, fathers and brothers. If, as the U.S. Government seems to believe, all the men are dead, it’s time the information was declassified so that all can understand the fates of these heroes. If, as many believe, men are still alive, it’s time they were brought home to bring the war inVietnam to an honorable end.
===================================================Subject: Bio CorrectionDate: Mon, 12 Mar 2001 23:00:21 EST
I wanted to point out a possible error in the bios you have listed for Capt Ralph Wayne Brower, SSgt Eugene Lunsford Clay, Sgt Larry Wayne Maysey, MSG Bruce Raymond Baxter, and SP4 Joseph George Kusick. All of these gentlemen were KIA during the shootdown of a USAF HH-3 Jolly Green helo on 9 Nov 1967.
The bios have a date of loss of 8 Nov 1967. The loss occurred in the early morning of 9 Nov 1967. Also, there is no mention of SSgt. Clay’s remains being found.
I’ve been researching this loss and have obtained a copy of a report from the commanding officer of Kusick and Baxter. In that report, he states that Clay’s body was also found outside of the aircraft by the recovery team and identification was made by ID tags. I also have a copy of the mission report from “Crown 1”, an HC-130 aircraft that was on station overhead that day. That mission report confirms that all five KIA, three crewmembers and two recon team members, were found and identified. Unfortunately, I can’t find anything that specifically says that Clay’s remains, like the rest of the HH-3 crew were placed with Baxter’s. I can only assume that. The bottom line is that all KIA were accounted for, but not extracted from the crash site.
I appreciate what you do on your web site, and I’m just trying to share information I’ve obtained that will help you make it more accurate.
Jeff Nash (retired AF Master Sergeant)Elbert, CO
The Star-LedgerSunday, March 14, 2004
Mission aims to locate a lost hero – Air Force sergeant died in Vietnam War
Although it took many years, Charlotte Hoffman finally accepted that her only child was killed in a helicopter crash during a rescue mission in the Vietnam War. But what she never got over before her death three years ago – what she carried with her for more than three decades – was that the remains of her son, Air Force Sgt. Larry Maysey, were lost in a Laotian jungle…..
For information on the Maysey memorial, call Dean at (908) 835-0623 orArentowicz at (973) 584- 2903.
SGT LARRY WAYNE MAYSEY
On November 9, 1967, an HH-3E Jolly Green Giant (tail number 66-13279) with a crew of four took off on a rescue mission in Saravane Province, Laos. The Jolly Green Giant was the second of two helicopters responding to an emergency call made by a reconnaissance team that had suffered heavy casualties. The first helicopter successfully extracted all the team except for two wounded men. This Jolly Green Giant picked up these last two men, but was hit by ground fire after liftoff, crashed, and burned. The helicopter’s pilot survived the incident and was rescued, but the other occupants died in the crash. A recovery team reached the crash site later that day and found several sets of remains, but poor weather and enemy forces prevented helicopters from successfully extracting the bodies they found. Continued hostile presence in the area precluded further recovery efforts, and the remaining five men who were aboard the Jolly Green Giant are still unaccounted for.
Sergeant Larry Wayne Maysey, who joined the U.S. Air Force from New Jersey, was a member of the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron. He was the rescue specialist aboard the Jolly Green Giant when it went down, and was one of the men lost during the crash. Further attempts to recover his remains have been unsuccessful. Today, Sergeant Maysey is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.