14 July 1948 - 16 August 1976
Greenville, Mississippi
Panel 35E Line 005

Read about Donna's Search for her brother

POW/MIA---Who Can Say?

In my dreams I can clearly see Jerry's face,
But harsh reality reveals only an empty space.
To Vietnam, Mike, his Army buddy, and I, his sister, came,
Searching for something, anything to ease the pain.

The last Elliott alive, I am eternally duty bound,
To question until my big brother is someday found.
My worn body aches, heart and mind so very tired,
Yet questions unanswered still burn like fire!

My Father, my friend, my rock, my guide,
Does he perhaps in Your heavenly house abide?
With Mama, Daddy, and little sister Cindy Ann,
Or does he somehow, somewhere, survive in some foreign land?

No sure answer, no piece of bone have we found,
Walking over the crash site's hallowed ground.
Only half the chopper's blade, a cornerpost in a cowpen,
Surely, Lord, this cannot be the final end!

Donna Elliott

Chui writes:
I was a member of an Army Security Agency monitor team assigned to the MACV Compound in Quang Tri City, January 1968.  It had been a busy month for our team with the disclosure of an Australian General visiting the compound and many other Transmission Security Violations which were not well received by the Lt. Colonel in charge of the detachment.  VC and NVA activity was increasing to the north and west.  Tragically, the Lt. Colonel would be killed as he led a rescue force of Vietnamese Regional Forces towards a Special Forces camp which had been under attack for 2 days.  Reports coming from the SF Camp indicated large numbers of NVA regulars marching south.   Information about landing a relief force near an old French fort close to the SF camp had been broadcast in the clear.   About 3 hours later, the choppers landing the RF troops were hit by concentrated mortar fire as they touched down in the LZ.  Later that night, the SF Camp reported receiving radio transmissions from the rescue force asking to be let into the camp.  They were advised by the MACV Tactical Operation Center that there were no survivors from the RF force and not to let the anyone approach the camp.

I did not remember the Lt. Colonel's name nor did I know other details about the incident until contacted by Donna Elliott (US Army, Retired) sister of Jerry Elliott, a door gunner lost in the action.  I remember listening to radio traffic as the choppers went in to drop the Regional Forces. After all these years, I have learned the details of that action and the heroism of Jerry Elliott.

Information available at the Virtual Wall:
On January 21, 1968, a UH-1D HUEY from the 282nd Aviation Company was tasked as the lead ship in a section inserting Regional forces at an old French fort approximately 1200 meters east of Khe Sanh. The following Americans were aboard the lead helicopter:

  • CPT Tommy C. Stiner, pilot
  • WO Gerald L. McKinsey Jr., co-pilot
  • SSG Billy D. Hill, doorgunner
  • SP5 David H. Harrington, crew chief
  • LTC Seymoe, senior advisor to the RF unit being inserted
As the aircraft touched down on the landing zone, NVA troops stood up all around the aircraft and began firing at the aircraft at almost point blank range. As soon as all the ARVN troops were off-loaded, the aircraft lifted off.  At approximately 8-10 feet off the ground, the aircraft was hit by either a 57mm recoilless rifle or a direct hit mortar fire, burst into flames, and crashed.

The second UH-1D landed approximately 50-60 feet from the downed aircraft and Jerry W. Elliott, door gunner, and his crew chief exited their aircraft to assist survivors of the downed helicopter.  In a matter of seconds, the crew chief returned to his aircraft and advised the pilot to take off immediately because of the intense hostile fire.  The aircraft lifted off, leaving PFC Elliott on the ground, circled and returned to the LZ, but could not locate Jerry Elliott.

Jerry Elliott was last seen rushing to try to rescue his buddies from the downed chopper

  • CPT Stiner exited the aircraft successfully, evaded capture and returned to friendly lines.
  • WO McKinsey was shot and killed.   His body was subsequently recovered.
  • SSG Hill disappeared.
  • SP5 Harrington was able to board a rescue aircraft that landed in the LZ.
  • LTC Seymoe died while pinned under the aircraft. His body was later recovered.
  • Pfc Elliott disappeared.

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