The aircraft headed to the pilot's location,which was approximately 80 miles off the China coast in the northern sector of the Gulf of Tonkin. Two A1E Skyhawks were escorting the rescue aircraft and remained on station until the mission was complet- ed, then the escort aircraft (A1E skyhawks) returned to Da Nang Air Base. The last contact with the rescue aircraft (HU16 Albatross) was at 5:45 P.M., and at that time,there was no indication of any trouble. The rescue aircraft was returning to the Air Base at Da Nang, and last contact was in the vicinity of coordinates YE278821, approximately 35 miles off the coast of North Vietnam. All contact was lost with the amphibious aircraft in marginal weather conditions,and although an extensive search for the aircraft was conducted,there were no sightings of the crew or the aircraft. Even though the HU16 was believed lost over water,the men on board were not de- clared killed, but listed as Missing In Action. The possibility exists that they were all captured by one of the numerous enemy vessels that were present offshore from North Vietnam.
RANK: E-3, United States Air Force UNIT: 33rd Air Rescue/Recovery Squadron DATE OF BIRTH: 25 September 1944 HOME OF RECORD: Spencer, Iowa DATE OF LOSS: 18 October 1966 COUNTRY OF LOSS: North Vietnam (Gulf of Tonkin) LOSS COORDINATES: 175500N 107090E (YE278821) STATUS (in 1973): Missing In Action CATEGORY: 4 AIRCRAFT/VEHICLE/GROUND: HU16- Aircraft REFNO: 0496
OTHER PERSONNEL IN INCIDENT: Inzar W. Rackley; John H.S. Long; Robert L. Hill; John R. Shoneck; Lawrence Clark; Ralph H. Angstadt. (ALL MISSING)
SOURCE: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or more of the following Raw Data from U.S. Government Agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, publish- ed sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK.
synopsis: At 11:01 A.M. on October 18, 1966, a HU16 Albatross aircraft (serial # 51- 7145) departed Da Nang Airbase,Republic of Vietnam, to rescue a downed pilot in the Gulf of Tonkin off the coast of North Vietnam.
The crew of the aircraft consisted of Maj. Ralph H. Angstadt,rescue commander and pilot; 1st. John H.S. Long,co-pilot; SSgt. John R. Shoneck and TSgt. Robert L. Hill, flight mechanics; SSgt. Lawrence Clark,radio operator; and Capt. Inzar W. Rackley, Jr.,navigator. Also aboard the aircraft was A2C Steven H. Adams,a parajumper/frog- man and a member of an elite pararescue team ("PJs").
In October 1966 I received my orders for Vietnam,I arrived in country in November of 1966, by December I was at Dong Ha within a rocks throw from the DMZ,nice place to spend Christmas. The first part of January1967 I found myself in another wounderful place called Khe Sanh,I'm not going to get into that on this page. In January 1968,back in the states I purchase a POW-MIA bracelet. To make a long story short, so you are not bored. The POW-MIA bracelet I purchased was the one with the name of STEVEN ADAMS. I still have it even though it was broken in half a few years ago.
CURIOUSLY, the DIA enemy knowledge categories assigned to the men onboard the rescue aircraft are not the same. Five of them were assigned category 4 which indica- ates "unknown knowledge" and indicates individuals whose time and place of loss incident are unknown.
Major Angstadt was assigned category 3 which indicates "doubtful knowledge" and indicates personnel whose loss incident is such that it is doubtful that the enemy would have knowledge.
SSgt. Clark was assigned category 2 which indicates "suspect knowledge" and includ- es personnel who were lost in areas or under conditions that they may reasonably be expected to be known by the enemy. NO REASON FOR THE DIFFERENT CATEGORIES CAN BE DETERMINED !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
About one year after the incident,Adam's family received a call from am International Red Cross representative who had just come from a "Closed door" meeting during which STEVEN ADAMS was discussed. She stated that STEVEN was "ALIVE, well and presumed to be in a hospital in Southeast Asia," and that "upon exiting the aircraft,his left side had been severely injured." A family friend and member of the intelligence com- munity located the Red Cross worker and confirmed the information.
In August 1987, a Department of Defense official was contacted by a U.S. citizen who said he was relaying information from a man in London. According to the American,17 U.S. prisoners of war could be released through the office of a western European em- bassy in Bangkok,Thailand. The POW's would be released C.O.D. upon the delivery of seven U.S. passports and a million dollars. If the money were placed at the Embassy,an unidentified Vietnamese general would take the 17 Americans to the Philippines for re- lease, and provide information on how to secure the release of over 1,400 other Ameri- cans upon payment of another MILLION DOLLARS. "STEVEN ADAMS "was mentioned as one of the 17 POW's.
Shortly after the call, two Air Force casualty officers cautioned the family strongly "not to listen to outsiders" and that only "government sources" could be trusted.
U.S. government officials refused to place the money at the Embassy. They said they had investigated the offer and that it was "a clumsy, amateur attempt to extort money and arms from the U.S. Gover- nment."
Steven's brother,Bruce,was outraged. A non-government offered POW reward fund had been established for just such an offer and the Government was aware of it, yet did not inform Bruce of the COD offer for several months. By that time, it was too late to do any- thing about it from the private sector.
"This was a pay on delivery offer, not extortion,"said Bruce Adams. "It would have cost the Government nothing to comply. If the general did not appear with the 17 American POW's the money would still be intact, in neutral hands. But to deny me the opportunity to enact the privately offered reward is inexcusable ."
Bruce Adams says the evidence is clear that there are Americans still held captive in Southeast Asia. "I really don't know if steve is one of them,but someone's brother is. We as a nation owe those men our best efforts to secure their release and return. I could not face myself if I did not do everything in my power to help bring them home."
The crew of the Albatross UH16 received promotions during the period they were main- tained Missing In Action: Angstadt and Rackley were promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel; Long to the rank of captain; Clark and Hill to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant; Shoneck to the rank of Senior Master Sergeant; and Steven Adams to the rank of Master Sergeant.
There is no available information on the downed pilot the Albatross crew was sent to rescue.
There are over 1,500 American servicemen just like Steven Adams and the crew of the Albatross still not accounted for from the Vietnam war. Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to American service men missing in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S., convicing many that hundreds remain alive in captivity, myself included. Steven Adams and the crew of the UH16 Albatross could be among them. If so what must they think of our Government and the citizens of this great country? Our government has turned their back on our POW/MIA's and has not made any effort to get a full accounting of known POW's that were not released at Operation Home Coming. They have been betrayed by the same government that sent them off to fight their war.
Although the U.S.Government called the offer a "scam" they refused to give the Adams family the names of those involved,citing "National Security" as the reason.
MAY 2001, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-IOWA, Is pressuring President George W. Bush to hurry and sign a trade agreement with Vietnam. Looks like Mr. Grassley is more money hungry than alot of people thouhght. He needs to put pressure on the President to get a full accounting of our POW/MIA's from Vietnam than a trade agreement. There are still 32 Vietnam POW/MIA's and 136 Korea POW/MIA unaccounted for from the state of IOWA. Ask Mr. Grassley if he knows that! Or does he even care? Please view my other POW/MIA pages, links located at bottom of this page, click on their name.
Presidents Reagan, Bush and Clinton had all promised they would never normalize trade or diplomatic relations with Vietnam until Hanoi had given a satisfactory accounting for the servicemen still missing as a result of the Vietnam War. But the Clinton administration, despite the loud protests by groups like The Last Firebase, betrayed that promise and normalized trade and diplomatic relations with Vietnam.
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