Sunday, June 11, 1972
Helo Crash Kills John Paul Vann
Vann, his pilot and a U.S. military passenger died when their light observation helicopter crashed in flames on a night flight from Pleiku to Kontum in the central highlands, the U.S. command said.
First reports said it was not known whether hostile fire was the cause of the crash of the OH58 helicopter.
The command said there were no reports of Communist ground fire of the area. The crash was witnessed by South Vietnamese soldiers at Fire Base 41, south of Kontum.
U.S. and South Vietnamese troops later reached the crash site and found the bodies of all three men.
Military sources said Vann, 47, a flamboyant figure noted for his outspoken views on Vietnam, was flying to Kontum to spend the night when the helicopter crashed about 9:20 p.m.
Although frequently at odds with the U.S. State Department, for which he worked, and the military command because of his controversial public statements, Vann was widely respected as a capable and courageous figure.
In recent weeks he had assumed virtually outright command of the situation in the central highlands, where North Vietnamese forces have been trying to capture Kontum. Vann had repeatedly predicted the attacks would fail.
"Helo Crash Kills John Paul Vann", SAIGON, (AP) published in the Pacific Stars and Stripes on Sunday, June 11, 1972 and reprinted from European and Pacific Stars and Stripes, a Department of Defense publication copyright, 2002 European and Pacific Stars and Stripes.
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