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POW/MIA Bracelet

Name: John Lawrence Burgess
Rank/Branch: E5/US Army
Unit: Company B, 227th Aviation Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)
Date of Birth (DOB): 05 April 1949 (Sutton's Bay, MI)
Home City of Record: Kingsley, MI
Loss Date: 30 June 1970
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 121557N 1071051E (YU372568)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: UH1H
Refno: 1645
Other Personnel in Incident:
(none missing)
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 1998.
Remarks:  
Synopsis:
     On June 30, 1970, SP5 John L. Burgess was the crew chief of a UH1H helicopter on a command and control mission when it was hit by enemy fire, crashed, and burned near the Cambodia/South Vietnam border in Phuoc Long Province, South Vietnam.
     The other individuals aboard the aircraft included 1Lt. Leslie F. Douglas, Jr., 1Lt. Richard Dyer, SFC Juan Colon-Diaz, and PFC Goosman. PFC Goosman, who was thrown clear of the aircraft (he was probably the door gunner), was the only survivor of the crash.
     PFC Goosman later stated that he pulled the aircraft commander clear of the aircraft, but because of the fire, was unable to free any of the crew members or the one passenger from the aircraft. Goosman was able to determine that no one else had survived the crash. He remained at the scene of the crash site until friendly troops arrived to secure the aircraft wreckage. The remains of the four crew members were placed in four body bags and evacuated.
     Major Knudson, who arrived shortly after the crash, landed in a secure LZ adjacent to the crash and picked up Goosman and the 4 body bags. They were transported directly from the crash site to medical facilities located at Camp Gorvad, Phuoc Vinh, South Vietnam. Graves Registration at Camp Gorvad forwarded the four body bags to the mortuary at Than San Nhut to undergo autopsies. At the mortuary, as identification was conducted, it was determined that they only had 3 sets of remains rather than four. While processing the remains at the mortuary, it was discovered that one of the body bags contained portions of the upper torso and another bag contained portions of the lower torso of the same individual. After this discovery, they were combined and positive identifications made of the three individuals, Douglas, Dyer and Colon-Diaz.
     Than San Nhut Mortuary never received any remains correlating to SP5 Burgess, and it was believed that the remains of Burgess were either burned beneath the wreckage of the aircraft or incinerated in the fire which engulfed the aircraft after it crashed. The mortuary suggested another search of the crash site area, but additional searches were not considered possible because of enemy presence in the area. When a final review of aerial photographs was made in 1973, there was no evidence of the crashed aircraft.
     SP5 John L. Burgess is maintained with honor among the missing because his remains were never found to be sent home for burial in the soil for which he fought. His family can grieve for his death.
     For the families of nearly 2500 other missing Americans, grief cannot occur. They are caught in the uncertainty of not knowing. They are tantalized and tortured by nearly 10,000 reports received regarding missing Americans in Southeast Asia. Many of the missing were alive and well the last time they were seen. Some were in radio contact with would-be rescuers. Others were seen in captivity and even photographed, only to disappear from the prison systems.
     While Burgess may not be among the hundreds of Americans thought to be still alive, one can imagine his gladly flying one more mission to help bring his comrades home - alive.

All Biographical & loss information on POWs provided by OpJC have been supplied by Chuck & Mary Schantag of POWNET.
Please check with POWNET regularly for updates.

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JOHN LAWRENCE BURGESS
SP5 - E5 - Army - Regular
1st Cav Division (AMBL)
21 year old Single, Caucasian, Male
Date of Birth - Apr 05, 1949
From KINGSLEY, MICHIGAN
His tour of duty began on Jun 30, 1970
Casualty was on Jun 30, 1970
in PHUOC LONG, SOUTH VIETNAM
Hostile, died while missing
HELICOPTER - CREW AIR LOSS, CRASH ON LAND
Body was not recovered

Religion - ROMAN CATHOLIC
Panel 09W - - Line 104

Source:  The VietNam Veterans' Memorial Wall Page.
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