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Kenneth Lloyd Crody
Corporal, United States Marine Corps
Indiana State Flag
Full Name: KENNETH LLOYD CRODY
Date of Birth: 3 August 1953
Date of Casualty: 11 July 1972
Home of Record: GRIFFITH, INDIANA
Branch of Service: MARINE CORPS 
Rank: CORPORAL
Casualty Country: SOUTH VIETNAM
Casualty Province: QUANG TRI
Status: MIA (Until 2004)

From a news report: 1 June 2004

The remains of an Indiana soldier killed in Vietnam are recovered, bring closure to his family in southern Indiana 32 years later.

Marine Corporal Kenneth Crody was killed in 1972 when the helicopter he was on was hit by a missile. His remains and those of another Marine on board were identified a few weeks ago.

Action 10 News talked with Corporal Crody's parents and found that even after 30 years their grief is very much alive.

A faded picture of Corporal Kenneth Crody shows a dashing young man just short of his 19th birthday.

His mother still remembers the last time she saw him. "The last thing he told me was, 'don't worry mom there aren't any Marines in Vietnam'," said Wilma Crody.

Shortly after that he was shot down near Qang Tri.  The military listed him as missing in action, but presumed dead.

"Kind of rough. It's been, of course I kind of knew but hoped there might be a chance," said Mrs. Crody describing the last 30 years.

Then last month. the military confirmed they recovered Corporal Crody's remains.

"Just so many years you don't think about it quite as much, but yet you think about it once in a while," she said. "It hurts."

For about 20 years, the military looked for the body of Corporal Crody, and now his family has a book that tells them how they went about it.

The book shows some of the items that were recovered. His dog tags, watch face, nail clippers, and razor.  It also shows how they went about finding his remains.

"It's all worthwhile," said Kenneth's father, Guy Crody. "They need to be back here."

Corporal Crody will come back to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

"He was serving his country," remembers his mom. "He was a good kid."

"The main thing is we know where he is now and where he'll be from hereafter," added his dad.

Now, the family will have the pictures and memories of a soldier who has been away from the country he served far too long.

Corporal Crody's remains are currently being held in Hawaii.  The family is waiting for word on when his burial can take place at Arlington National Cemetery.



 News Report: 1 June 2004

Remains of Griffith Marine identified 32 years later

GRIFFITH, Indiana - The remains of an Indiana Marine Corporal killed in Vietnam 32 years ago have been identified and will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, family members said.

Kenneth L. Crody of Griffith had been listed as missing in action or killed in action/body not recovered since his Sikorsky CH-53D Sea Stallion helicopter was struck by a ground-to-air missile on July 11, 1972. Most of the 56 aboard were killed.

His remains and those of another crew member, Sergeant Jerry Hendrix of Wichita, Kansas, were identified five weeks ago through DNA analysis. The soldiers' families will choose a date for their joint burial later this summer at Arlington.

Crody's parents, Guy and Wilma Crody, now live in Linton, about 30 miles southeast of Terre Haute. Griffith is about 7 miles southwest of Gary.

"It will be so comforting to know our Kenny will be finally buried right," said Wilma Crody, who's in poor health and will not attend the burial. "It's OK, I guess. At least I have his dog tag and his class ring."

Crody was three weeks shy of his 19th birthday when he died. The helicopter had launched from the USS Tripoli to drop 50 South Vietnamese marines behind enemy lines near Communist-occupied Quang Tri City.

"Don't worry, Mom," he had told his mother just weeks earlier. "Marines aren't ever sent into Vietnam. I'll be fine."

As the Sikorsky, on which Crody was a door gunner, approached the drop zone, still 100 feet above the ground, a heat-seeking SA-7 missile hit its starboard engine. The blast ignited fuel and ammunition on board.

Crody's remains were excavated in Vietnam on August 29, 2000. They were identified earlier this year along with remnants of some personal items, including his double-edged razor, nail clippers and part of his watch.

The remains were identified in March, said Air Force Lieutenant Ken Hall of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, which was formed last year from a merger of the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory and the Joint Task Force-Accounting Command. It identifies about two Americans a week. An estimated 1,800 Americans are missing from the Vietnam War.

Crody's sister, Beverly O'Brien of Santa Fe, Texas, said her younger brother had worn his dress blues when he served as best man at her wedding nearly a year before he died.

"That's the last time I saw him," she said. "He was only in Vietnam for a month before he was killed."

She named her first-born son Kenneth.

"I got pregnant right after my brother died. It just seemed right," O'Brien said.



Closure after 32 years

Remains of local Vietnam vet finally identified, returned for proper burial.

 The name of Kenneth L. Crody is chiseled into Griffith's War Memorial as "missing in action" since 1972.

He's not missing anymore.

After 32 years buried under foreign soil, the U.S. Marine corporal's remains were excavated from South Vietnam on August 29, 2000.

Crody's tiny, fragmented skeletal remains were finally identified April 23 of this year, along with remnants of some personal items -- his double-edge razor, nail clippers, part of a comb, part of his watch and a standard, military-issued fork and can opener.

And his dog tag. The only thing left intact.

The Griffith teenager was three weeks from his 19th birthday when he died.

'Don't worry, Mom'

On the morning of July 11, 1972, Crody was flying in a CH-53D helicopter carrying 50 South Vietnamese Marines, an American crew of five and a combat photographer.

The chopper was launched from the USS Tripoli, its mission to drop the Marines behind enemy lines near Communist-occupied Quang Tri City.

Crody, who enlisted at 17, served that day as the chopper's door gunner.

"Don't worry, Mom," he told his mother, Wilma Crody, weeks earlier. "Marines aren't ever sent into Vietnam. I'll be fine."

Those were his last words to her.

As the chopper approached the drop zone, still 100 feet above the ground, a heat-seeking SA-7 missile hit the aircraft's starboard engine. The missile's 5.5-pound warhead exploded engine turbine fragments into the passenger compartment.

Crody, along with another crewman, Marine Staff Sergeant Jerry W. Hendrix, died at the scene. A third Marine was rescued but died of his injuries a month later. Seven of the 50 Vietnamese Marines made it out alive.

Back in the states, Wilma Crody, driving to her job at Purdue University Calumet that day, clicked on the car radio and heard a special report: A U.S. helicopter was shot down by hostile gunfire in South Vietnam. Dozens of casualties. Crew presumed dead.

"Those poor guys," Wilma sighed to herself.

Later that day, two Marines walked up to Wilma at work. That's about all she remembers from that day. That's about all she cares to remember.

'I always had hope, but ... '

Shortly after Crody's death, the family held a memorial service for their "Kenny."

"We had to do something for him ... for me... for us," Wilma said. "It helped some."

A couple years later, Crody's father, Guy, lost his job at a local plant. Guy and Wilma, who came to Griffith in 1949, left the region to find work in Texas.

The years peeled away. Five, 10, 20. Then they moved back to Indiana, to downstate Linton, about 80 miles south of Indianapolis, to be near family.

The Marines sent occasional letters to the couple, informing them that efforts were being made to find their boy's body, along with 1,859 other MIAs from the Vietnam War.

In 2000, Crody's sister, Beverly O'Brien, was asked for a DNA sample by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, a military and civilian group based at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. The high-tech group conducts recovery and forensic identification efforts of missing soldiers.

The family got its hopes up. But another year peeled away. And another and another.

"I always had hope, but ..." said O'Brien, who lives in Texas.

The last time she saw her brother was at her wedding, almost a year before his death. He assured her that he was being shipped to the Philippines, not Vietnam.

"He was only in Vietnam for a month before he was killed," O'Brien said.

A town kept the light on

Marthann Gatlin has lived in Griffith for 35 years. She's a member of the town's war memorial committee, which erected the Central Park War Memorial to honor local soldiers.

"I feel like I've come to know Ken Crody through the years," she said.

She never honestly believed his remains would be found, but she prayed for it each night, she said.

Delford Jones, chaplain for the Griffith VFW Post 9982, said he will have a hard time finding the words today to express how the town feels about Crody's homecoming. At 10 a.m., the VFW will honor Crody during its annual Memorial Day ceremony.

"To find a soldier's remains after all these years is so special," Jones said. "To know that soldier is from Griffith makes it so much more."

Wayne Govert, a Griffith businessman who knew Crody in high school, said, "This means so much to this town. Especially to the people who remember Kenny. He's finally coming home."

A joint burial

Five weeks ago, Crody's remains were identified, along with the remains of Hendrix, who was from Wichita, Kan. It turns out that DNA comparisons were not used in the "group identification," officials said.

Both Marines will share a joint burial this summer at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The soldiers' families are choosing a date.

"Families live for this day, for closure if nothing else," said Hattie Johnson, head of the Marines' POW/MIA Affairs Headquarters in Quantico, Virginia.

It was Johnson who visited Crody's parents last month at their Linton home to tell them the news in person.

In the past three years, Johnson has visited with seven families of soldiers whose remains were found. Everyone treated her like family, she said.

This summer, Crody's remains, escorted by a Marine, will be flown from Hickam Air Force Base to Arlington National Cemetery for a proper military burial.

"It will be so comforting to know our Kenny will be finally buried right," said Wilma, who's in poor health and unable to attend the burial in Virginia. "It's OK, I guess. At least I have his dog tag and his class ring."

Crody's sister, however, will attend with her family, including her first-born son. His name is Kenneth.

"I got pregnant right after my brother died. It just seemed right," O'Brien said.

Corporal Kenneth Crody was assigned as a door gunner with HMM-165 embarked in USS TRIPOLI (LPH 10). On the morning of July 11, 1972, Crody's CH-53D helicopter launched from the USS TRIPOLI to insert South Vietnamese Marines behind enemy lines near Communist-occupied Quang Tri City, Republic of Vietnam. The CH-53 carried 50 Vietnamese Marines, an American crew of five and a combat photographer from BLT 1/9.

While approaching the drop zone and while still 100 feet above the ground, the helicopter was struck in the starboard engine by a heat-seeking SA-7 missile. The detonation of the SA-7’s 5.5 pound warhead in the helicopter’s starboard engine sent engine turbine fragments into the passenger compartment. The pilot autorotated the flaming aircraft to the ground in a controlled "crash and burn" procedure. Two crewmembers were killed outright and a third seriously injured. Most of the Vietnamese troops on board were killed, with only seven returning to friendly lines. The helicopter was completely destroyed by fire and the detonation of ammunition carried by the Vietnamese. The surviving Americans took shelter in a nearby bomb crater and hunkered down as the wreckage cooled and NVA soldiers poked through the remains.

At dusk, a Vietnamese Marine patrol located them and brought them to friendly lines. American Army helicopters returned them to their ship.

Three crewmen died as a result of the crash:

Corporal Kennth L Crody (died outright, body not recovered)
Staff Sergeant Jerry Wayne Hendrix (died outright, body not recovered) 
Staff Sertgeant Clyde K Nelson (rescued, died of wounds 09 August 1972)


Closure after 32 years

Remains of local Vietnam vet finally identified, returned for proper burial.

BY JERRY DAVICH

The name of Kenneth L. Crody is chiseled into Griffith's War Memorial as "missing in action" since 1972.

He's not missing anymore.

After 32 years buried under foreign soil, the U.S. Marine corporal's remains were excavated from South Vietnam on August 29, 2000.

Crody's tiny, fragmented skeletal remains were finally identified April 23 of this year, along with remnants of some personal items -- his double-edge razor, nail clippers, part of a comb, part of his watch and a standard, military-issued fork and can opener.

And his dog tag. The only thing left intact.

The Griffith teenager was three weeks from his 19th birthday when he died.

'Don't worry, Mom'

On the morning of July 11, 1972, Crody was flying in a CH-53D helicopter carrying 50 South Vietnamese Marines, an American crew of five and a combat photographer.

The chopper was launched from the USS Tripoli, its mission to drop the Marines behind enemy lines near Communist-occupied Quang Tri City.

Crody, who enlisted at 17, served that day as the chopper's door gunner.

"Don't worry, Mom," he told his mother, Wilma Crody, weeks earlier. "Marines aren't ever sent into Vietnam. I'll be fine."

Those were his last words to her.

As the chopper approached the drop zone, still 100 feet above the ground, a heat-seeking SA-7 missile hit the aircraft's starboard engine. The missile's 5.5-pound warhead exploded engine turbine fragments into the passenger compartment.

Crody, along with another crewman, Marine Staff Sgt. Jerry W. Hendrix, died at the scene. A third Marine was rescued but died of his injuries a month later. Seven of the 50 Vietnamese Marines made it out alive.

Back in the states, Wilma Crody, driving to her job at Purdue University Calumet that day, clicked on the car radio and heard a special report: A U.S. helicopter was shot down by hostile gunfire in South Vietnam. Dozens of casualties. Crew presumed dead. 

"Those poor guys," Wilma sighed to herself.

Later that day, two Marines walked up to Wilma at work. That's about all she remembers from that day. That's about all she cares to remember.

'I always had hope, but ... '

Shortly after Crody's death, the family held a memorial service for their "Kenny."

"We had to do something for him ... for me... for us," Wilma said. "It helped some."

A couple years later, Crody's father, Guy, lost his job at a local plant. Guy and Wilma, who came to Griffith in 1949, left the region to find work in Texas.

The years peeled away. Five, 10, 20. Then they moved back to Indiana, to downstate Linton, about 80 miles south of Indianapolis, to be near family.

The Marines sent occasional letters to the couple, informing them that efforts were being made to find their boy's body, along with 1,859 other MIAs from the Vietnam War.

In 2000, Crody's sister, Beverly O'Brien, was asked for a DNA sample by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, a military and civilian group based at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii. The high-tech group conducts recovery and forensic identification efforts of missing soldiers.

The family got its hopes up. But another year peeled away. And another and another.

"I always had hope, but ..." said O'Brien, who lives in Texas.

The last time she saw her brother was at her wedding, almost a year before his death. He assured her that he was being shipped to the Philippines, not Vietnam.

"He was only in Vietnam for a month before he was killed," O'Brien said.

A town kept the light on

Marthann Gatlin has lived in Griffith for 35 years. She's a member of the town's war memorial committee, which erected the Central Park War Memorial to honor local soldiers.

"I feel like I've come to know Ken Crody through the years," she said.

She never honestly believed his remains would be found, but she prayed for it each night, she said.

Delford Jones, chaplain for the Griffith VFW Post 9982, said he will have a hard time finding the words today to express how the town feels about Crody's homecoming. At 10 a.m., the VFW will honor Crody during its annual Memorial Day ceremony.

"To find a soldier's remains after all these years is so special," Jones said. "To know that soldier is from Griffith makes it so much more."

Wayne Govert, a Griffith businessman who knew Crody in high school, said, "This means so much to this town. Especially to the people who remember Kenny. He's finally coming home."

A joint burial

Five weeks ago, Crody's remains were identified, along with the remains of Hendrix, who was from Wichita, Kan. It turns out that DNA comparisons were not used in the "group identification," officials said.

Both Marines will share a joint burial this summer at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The soldiers' families are choosing a date.

"Families live for this day, for closure if nothing else," said Hattie Johnson, head of the Marines' POW/MIA Affairs Headquarters in Quantico, Virginia.

It was Johnson who visited Crody's parents last month at their Linton home to tell them the news in person.

In the past three years, Johnson has visited with seven families of soldiers whose remains were found. Everyone treated her like family, she said.

This summer, Crody's remains, escorted by a Marine, will be flown from Hickam Air Force Base to Arlington National Cemetery for a proper military burial.

"It will be so comforting to know our Kenny will be finally buried right," said Wilma, who's in poor health and unable to attend the burial in Virginia. "It's OK, I guess. At least I have his dog tag and his class ring."

Crody's sister, however, will attend with her family, including her first-born son. His name is Kenneth.

"I got pregnant right after my brother died. It just seemed right," O'Brien said.


Report

Corporal Kenneth Crody was assigned as a door gunner with HMM-165 embarked in USS TRIPOLI (LPH 10).

On the morning of July 11, 1972, Crody's CH-53D helicopter launched from the USS TRIPOLI to insert South Vietnamese Marines behind enemy lines near Communist-occupied Quang Tri City, Republic of Vietnam. The CH-53 carried 50 Vietnamese Marines, an American crew of five and a combat photographer from BLT 1/9.

While approaching the drop zone and while still 100 feet above the ground, the helicopter was struck in the starboard engine by a heat-seeking SA-7 missile. The detonation of the SA-7’s 5.5 pound warhead in the helicopter’s starboard engine sent engine turbine fragments into the passenger compartment. The pilot autorotated the flaming aircraft to the ground in a controlled "crash and burn" procedure. Two crewmembers were killed outright and a third seriously injured.

Most of the Vietnamese troops on board were killed, with only seven returning to friendly lines. The helicopter was completely destroyed by fire and the detonation of ammunition carried by the Vietnamese. The surviving Americans took shelter in a nearby bomb crater and hunkered down as the wreckage cooled and NVA soldiers poked through the remains.

At dusk, a Vietnamese Marine patrol located them and brought them to friendly lines. American Army helicopters returned them to their ship.

Three crewmen died as a result of the crash:

Corporal Kennth L Crody (died outright, body not recovered)
SSGT Jerry Wayne Hendrix (died outright, body not recovered)
SSGT Clyde K Nelson (rescued, died of wounds 09 August 1972)


After 32 years, military burial 
July 21, 2004 

 By Ruth Ann Krause / Post-Tribune correspondent

Griffith, Indiana, native Kenneth Crody, a Marine corporal whose remains were recently identified, will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

Crody was 18 when the helicopter in which he was serving as door gunner was shot down by a ground-to-air missile and burst into flames in Vietnam in 1972. For years, Crody had been listed as missing in action or killed in action/body not recovered.

His sister, Beverly O’Brien of Santa Fe, Texas, said the family was asked four years ago to provide samples for DNA testing. Then the family didn’t hear anything from the military.

“We kind of gave up,” she said.

A few months ago, however, her parents, Guy and Wilma Crody, received a visit from the Marine Casualty Division at their home in Linton, southeast of Terre Haute.

After more than three decades, their loved one’s remains had been identified.

“We never thought the day would come. It’s so amazing, like something you see in a movie,” O’Brien said.

Kenneth Crody’s namesake, O’Brien’s oldest son, was married last weekend and will return from his honeymoon in time to leave Monday for Arlington, Va. Also making the trip are her parents, O’Brien’s husband, their younger son and his family, and her brother David and his family.

The prospect of a funeral after 32 years brings mixed emotions to the family. “It’s going to be a hard day to get through and I’ll be glad when it’s over. But I’m glad it’s happening,” O’Brien said.

Even now, it’s difficult for the family to talk about their loss.

“I’m just so glad. He would be surprised at how may people turned out at the memorial in Griffith and how many people remembered,” she said. A special wreath-laying was held at the Griffith War Memorial at Central Park on Memorial Day to honor Crody.

O’Brien said she remembers letters from her brother talking about how proud he was to be a Marine and to serve his country, even though the war was unpopular among Americans back home. “I still have all the letters my brother wrote to me. He never, ever complained,” she said.

O’Brien was living in New York City at the time and remembers her brother asking for a subway map so he could find his way around when he came to visit.

He never got to ride the subway.

She last saw him at her wedding in 1971, wearing his dress uniform.

Though the family felt certain Crody was dead, the official confirmation was to take years. The Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command in Oahu, Hawaii, used mitochondrial DNA analysis and other information to identify Crody’s remains. Mitochondrial DNA is passed from a person’s mother, so siblings born to the same mother would have the same mitochondrial DNA sequences.

Crody, who quit school and enlisted in the Marines at age 16 with his parents’ approval, died during a July 11, 1972, attack by the North Vietnamese Army 11 miles south of the demilitarized zone in Quang Tri Province.

Crody and crewmate Sergeant Jerry Hendrix will be buried at 3 p.m. Tuesday.


CRODY, KENNETH LLOYD
CPL US MARINE CORPS
VIETNAM
DATE OF BIRTH: 08/03/1953
DATE OF DEATH: 07/11/1972
BURIED AT: SECTION 60  SITE 7956
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY
Posted: 1 June 2004  Updated: 21 July 2004  Updated: 1 January 2005 Updated: 11 June 2006 Updated: 15 June 2006
Purple Heart Medal
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Group Burial Site - Section 60 - December 2004
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 2 December 2004

KL Crody Gravesite PHOTO
Photo Courtesy of Roxsanne Wells-Layton, June 2006