Arthur Fletcher Chaney
Chief Warrant Officer, United States Army
Name: ARTHUR FLETCHER CHANEY
Date of Birth: 6/27/1947
Date of Casualty: 5/3/1968
Home of Record: VIENNA, VIRGINIA
Branch of Service: ARMY
Casualty Country: SOUTH VIETNAM
Casualty Province: QUANG TRI
Name: Arthur Fletcher Chaney
Rank/Branch: W1/US Army
Unit: A Troop, 1st Squad, 9th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division
Date of Birth: 27 June 1947 (Mitchell Field, Long Island, New York)
Home City of Record: Vienna Virginia
Date of Loss: 03 May 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel In Incident: Bobby L. McKain (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990 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 2008.
On the afternoon of May 3, 1968, CWO Bobby McKain, pilot, and WO Arthur Chaney, co-pilot, were flying aboard an AH1G helicopter on an armed escort mission for a reconnaissance team operating west of Khe Sanh. At about 1405 hours, while making a pass on an enemy gun position, they were hit by 37mm anti-aircraft fire from the gun emplacement and the helicopter exploded in mid-air. They were about 1500 feet above the ground when the explosion occurred, separating the tail boom and one main rotor blade from the aircraft.
The aircraft spun to the ground on fire and impacted, and seconds later, the ammunition onboard detonated. Other pilots in the area immediately flew to the site and observed the aircraft engulfed in flames with no visible signs of life. Shortly thereafter, they were driven from the area by other heavy automatic weapons fire. Air searches were made, but revealed no signs of the crew. No radio contact was made.
Because of the close proximity to enemy positions,
Chaney and McKain's fates were almost certainly known by the enemy. The
Army holds out no hope they survived, but believes that their cases may
someday be resolved.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 610-08
Soldiers Missing From The Vietnam War Are Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
They are Chief Warrant Officer Bobby L. McKain, of Garden City, Kansas; and Warrant Officer Arthur F. Chaney, of Vienna, Virginia, both U.S. Army. McKain will be buried on August 11, 2008, in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., and Chaney will be buried September 16, 2008, in Arlington.
Representatives from the Army met with the next-of-kin of these men to explain the recovery and identification process, and to coordinate interment with military honors on behalf of the secretary of the Army.
On May 3, 1968, these men flew an AH-1G Cobra gunship on an armed escort mission to support a reconnaissance team operating west of Khe Sanh, in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. Their helicopter was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire, exploded in mid-air and crashed west of Khe Sanh near the Laos-Vietnam border. The crew of other U.S. aircraft flying over the area immediately after the crash reported no survivors, and heavy enemy activity prevented attempts to recover the men’s bodies.
In 1985, an American citizen with ties to Southeast Asian refugees turned over to U.S. officials human remains supposedly recovered from an AC-130 aircraft crash in Laos. While subsequent laboratory analysis disproved the association of the remains to the AC-130 crash, some of the remains were those of McKain and Chaney.
Between 1989 and 2003, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) investigative teams working in Laos and Vietnam made five attempts to locate the crew’s crash site, but could not confirm the location.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in identifying the remains.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s
mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo
or call (703) 699-1169.
‘40-Year Tour’ Comes to End
Remains of 1965 Madison grad found in Vietnam, returned to family.
By Mirza Kurspahic
Courtesy of The Connection
Monday, July 21, 2008
Forty years ago an Army Chaplain visited Hugh Chaney’s office in the Pentagon, informing him that his son Arthur, a pilot in the Army, had been shot down in a mission over Vietnam.
"I was busy at work when the front secretary approached me saying I was wanted in the front office," wrote Hugh Chaney, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force, in a correspondence to The Connection. "I noticed a Lieutenant Colonel there and didn't pay any attention to his insignia. When he faced me and I saw he was a chaplain, I felt a chill and my heart sank as I immediately knew something was wrong."
Warrant Officer Arthur Fletcher Chaney of Vienna, member of the 1st Cavalry Division, flew an AH-1G Cobra gunship supporting a reconnaissance mission in South Vietnam on May 3, 1968. The helicopter came under heavy anti-aircraft fire, exploded in mid-air and crashed near the Laos-Vietnam border. According to the Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DMOP), U.S. aircraft flying over the area immediately after the crash reported no survivors.
After praying with the chaplain for a few minutes, Hugh Chaney left his office, stopping at the flight surgeon’s office to pick up some Valium. He knew his wife, Lillian, would not take the news well. The entire drive home to Dogwood Street in Vienna, Hugh Chaney worried about how to break the news to Lillian and Arthur’s younger brother Mark.
"Finally, to her I said, ‘I fear we have lost Art,’" wrote Hugh Chaney. "Hard to believe but after all these years mentioning this brings tears to my eyes."
The devastating news kicked off a search for Art Chaney’s remains. According to the DMOP, in 1985, an American citizen with ties to Southeast Asian refugees turned over to U.S. officials remains from a supposed aircraft crash in Laos. Analysis disproved the association of the remains to Chaney’s crash site. Between 1989 and 2003, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) investigative teams working in Laos and Vietnam made five attempts to locate the crash site and the remains, all of them unsuccessful.
The conflicting reports about the remains, after years of search, brought Chaneys pain and anguish. On a memorial page dedicated to their son, Hugh and Lillian wrote in April 2004 that it had been 36 years since the day of the chaplain’s visit to Hugh’s Pentagon office. "Your Mother and I have felt the sorrow and anguish every day. The confusion and conflicting reports about your accident and recovery hasn't helped us," they wrote on the virtual memorial page. "We attended a POW/MIA briefing, this just added more pain, but they are working hard and it is our fervent hope your body will be recovered and a proper burial can be scheduled."
Years of hope are now materializing into burial plans. Recent information led investigators to a site not previously searched. On Friday, July 18, 2008, DPMO announced that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors. McKain will be buried on August 11, 2008, and Chaney on Sepember 16, 2008, in Arlington National Cemetery.
"We are profoundly grateful for the dedication and relentless efforts by the JPAC recovery teams. The Army's edict ‘No one left behind’ resulted in the opportunity for us to be able to put Art to rest and offer prayers and hope to others still searching for loved ones," Chaney’s parents — who now reside in Henderson, Nevada — told the Vienna and Oakton Connection in the correspondence over the weekend.
Hugh Chaney and Mark Chaney, Art’s brother who also served as a member of the 1st Cavalry Division, left a message on the 1st Cavalry Division Association Guestbook about the recent find. "I hope friends and comrades from the [division] will see this posting and know he will soon rest in Arlington after completing his 40-year tour."
The Chaneys elected to bury Art at Arlington, even though there is a Veterans Cemetery in Boulder City, near their current home. One of the reasons they chose Arlington is to bury Art close to those he served his country with. "The perpetual care was another factor. He had so many friends in the area. In fact, he was engaged to a local girl and planned on marriage on his return from Nam," wrote Hugh Chaney.
Art Chaney was a 1965 graduate of Vienna’s James Madison High School, the fourth high school he attended. He also attended high schools in New Mexico, California and Alabama prior to Madison, following his father’s Air Force career. "How he coped with this is testimony of what an understanding and talented individual he was," wrote Hugh Chaney to the Connection.
Hugh Chaney served in the Air Force for more than 30 years, before retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. Arthur’s brother, Mark, retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army. According to Hugh Chaney, for a brief time, all three served in Vietnam at the same time.
The Chaneys are proud of Arthur’s service. "We are proud to say in your short time you certainly left your mark, son, the remembrances and memorials in your name are numerous. You will not be forgotten," they wrote on his memorial page.
"He was only 20 years of age when he gave the supreme sacrifice," wrote Hugh Chaney in his correspondence with The Connection.
CHANEY, ARTHUR F
Posted: 17 July 2008 Updated: 21 August 2008