United States Army Air Crew
March 24, 1970
August 11, 2001
Presumed remains of Crawford County MIA finally coming home
EDINBORO, Pennsylvania. Sergeant First Class Gary Harned never had a funeral, because his Crawford County relatives could never be sure he was dead. Harned’s family still isn’t entirely sure - but they plan to bury remains presumed to be his in a joint ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on Thursday. Harned enlisted in the Army in October 1968, when he was 18, and was assigned to the Special Forces a year later.
Harned’s parents, Roberta and Arnold, who lived in Crossingville, about18 miles south of Erie, were notified their son was missing in action in 1970. A helicopter Harned and six other soldiers were supposed to be in had been shot down in Cambodia, near the border of Laos. Joyce Schwab, Harned’s older sister, still remembers the mix of emotions the family felt - fear that Harned was dead, concern that he was a prisoner of war, and hope that they might receive a telephone call at any time telling them he was still alive. “You’re kind of in shock, in limbo; you don’t know how to feel,” Schwab said.
Earlier this year, the Army notified Harned’s family that they had found and positively identified the remains of four soldiers aboard the helicopter, although none of the remains were Harned’s. The remains of three other soldiers could not be positively identified, but Harned’s family agreed to participate in a joint memorial and burial of the unidentified remains at Arlington Thursday. The grave will be marked with the names of Harned and the two other soldiers who were supposed to be in the helicopter.
“We feel we’re going to bury him with honors,”
Schwab said. “It’s the only thing we can do now. I just wish it could have
been done before - before my mom passed away.” Roberta Harned died three
years ago. Arnold Harned, who now lives in Edinboro, will make the
trip along with Schwab, her husband and their children; and Harned’s two
other siblings and their families, including brother Don - also a Vietnam
veteran. The family would prefer proof positive that Harned is dead,
but that’s unlikely because the Army told them they won’t further excavate
the crash site and don’t expect to find more remains or other clues to
the unidentified soldiers’ identities. Schwab said the family has
never talked much about her brother because it’s “pretty upsetting.”
But she believes the Green Beret has a message for the family: “Put me
to rest and quit worrying.”
Unit: SOA (MACV-SOG), CCN, 5th Special Forces Group
Date of Birth: July 5, 1950 (Meadsville, Pennylvania)
Home City of Record: Springboro, Pennsylvania
Date of Loss:March 24, 1970
Country of Loss:Cambodia
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Duty: UH1H Army Special Forces
Other Personnel In Incident:
Berman Ganoe; John C. Hosken; Rudy M. Becerra; Michael O'Donnell; John Boronski, Jerry L. Pool (all missing)
Remarks: SURVIVAL UNLIKELY - PER SAR
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.
U.S. Army Sergeant Gary Alan Harned, of Springboro,
PA, will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, August
16th at 11:00 AM. Sergeant Harned was a member of a MACV-SOG
team and was in the midst of being extracted from a hot Landing Zone (LZ)
after a dangerous mission in Cambodia (Ratanokiri Province). During
the extraction, and after take-off, the helicopter in which Sgt. Harned
and his team were aboard took on heavy fire, causing several explosions
and ultimately a crash.
The burial date for my Uncle, Gary Alan Harned, and the other's that perished with him, has been changed to Thursday, August 16, 2001 at 11:00AM at Arlington Cemetery. I appreciate your support throught my search and am looking forward to meeting you if you attend the funeral.
24 March 1970
Jerry Lynn Pool, First Lieutenant of Freeport,
US Army UH-IH Helicopter Crew from the 170th AHC, Tail # 262, Ops 32/75-MIA, Presumptive finding of death.
A recon team which had been engaged with an enemy force in Cambodia for three days, requested extraction. The UH-1H, 170th AHC responded in support of the team. The landing zone in the tri-border area 14 miles inside Cambodia, had enemy forces closing in, the pilot, ignoring his own safety attempted the extraction. The helicopter set-down on the LZ , the entire team boarded the aircraft and having just loaded the recon team, and in an effort to depart, the helicopter started its assent reaching an altitude of about 100 feet when an explosion was observed in the aircraft. The aircraft continued to fly for about three hundred meters when another explosion occurred. No bodies were seen being thrown clear of the exploding aircraft. The aircraft crashed and burned uncontrollably. No rescue was attempted due to heavy enemy fire. See "No Name Creek" Tales from SOG, Also see the "Into the Killing Zone, March 24, 1970," Tales from SOG.
Posted: 3 September 2001
Updated: 17 October 2002
Updated: 21 March 2003
First Lieutenant,United States Army
Staff Sergeant, United States Army
Sergeant, United States Army
Captain, United States Army Pilot
Co-Pilot, Warrant Officer I, United States Army
Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Specialist 4, United States Army
Specialist 4, United States Army