Wagner, Raymond A. (KIA)

Raymond Anthony Wagner, A1C, USAF (KIA)
October 22, 1951 – March 27, 1972

March 27,1972: HH-53 accident or shoot down (there is debate about reason for crash), 40th ARRS, 5 KIA SERGEANT RAYMOND A. CROW and AIRMAN FIRST CLASS RAYMOND A WAGNER.

Sergeant Crow and Airman Wagner are PJs crewing an HH-53 over Tonle Sap Lake. They have just completed a combat SAR orbit and are returning to base. More recently, they have just completed an aerial refueling.

Suddenly, without warning, a catastrophic mechanical failure races through the complex rotor system destroying it and instantly killing all personnel aboard. Because the incident occurs over a heavily contested and dangerous area of the war zone, none of the crew remains are recovered, and to this day the tragedy remains a mystery.

Jolly Green 61, HH-53C BuNo 66-10359 crashed over Stoeng Treng Province, Cambodia, about 10 miles southeast of the city of Siempang due to unknown causes. A pararescue specialist was lowered to the ground at the site of the crash to check for survivors, but due to the intense heat from the burning helicopter, he could not approach near enough to determine if there were crew members inside the aircraft. Some three hours later a second rescue specialist was deployed in the immediate area, who reported the wreckage was still burning, precluding close inspection. The 5 man crew were all KIA-BNR

In December 1993, a US team under the auspices of the Joint task Force for Full Accounting (JTFFA) investigated and conducted a site survey of Jolly Green 23’s crash site. In addition to snaps, zippers, lap belts, adjustment buckles, a pilot’s seat inflation bag, a metal set of parachutist wings, and parachute “D” ring, they found two data plates which are from the sleeve and spindle assembly of a HH-53C main rotor hub. Since no other HH-53C was lost within a 160-kilometer radius of this crash site, there is no doubt of its identity. Several small bone fragments were also recovered, with one appearing possibly to be human. Also during this Joint Field Activity (JFA), a local villager turned over one tooth fragment allegedly associated with a member of this aircrew to the survey team. While the villager provided the tooth fragment, he provided no tangible information about the fate of the person it came from. To date none of the bone or tooth fragments have been identified as coming from any of the men aboard the helicopter. Further, because of their size and condition, there is no way to determine if human, American or Asian.

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