Swenck, Robert B. (KIA)

Robert Bennett Swenck, Major, USAF (KIA)
March 18, 1933 – November 25, 1971

Vietnam Veteran-Air Force Pilot
Jolly Green Heroes
On 25 November 1971, two HH-53C helicopters of the 37th ARRS, call signs Jolly Green 70 and 73, departed Bien Hoa Airbase to pick up survivors of a crash near Can Tho. Jolly Green 70 was crewed by Major Robert B. Swenck, pilot Capt John W. George copilot TSgt James R. Thomas, Pararescueman Sgt R. L. Sneed, Pararescueman Sgt H. L. Theriot, flight engineer and A1C Thomas D. Prose, Pararescueman. The two Jolly Green’s departed Can Tho in tactical formation for the 95-mile flight to Bien Hoa to the northeast. During the return flight, they encountered a 100 foot to 300 foot overcast with moderate to heavy rain showers. At 1550 hours, while flying below the cloud cover, Jolly Green 73 lost contact with Jolly Green 70. When radio contact could not be reestablished search and rescue efforts were begun. Jolly Green 70 was located approximately 13 nautical miles southeast of Tan Son Nhut Airbase, Saigon, in the Song Nha Be River. The aircraft wreckage was close to the east bank of the river. While the west bank of the river was secure, the east side was considered enemy territory. Two crewmen (Theriot and Sneed) survived the crash and reported that the aircraft had been hit by enemy ground fire. Salvage efforts began at once. The aircraft was raised with cables and the bodies of Major Swenck, Captain George, and A1c Prose recovered. TSgt Thomas’s body was never found.
Nov 25, 2012

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