CROW, RAYMOND JACK JR.
Raymond Jack Crow, Jr
40TH ARRS, 3RD AIR RESCUE GROUP, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
Salt Lake City, Utah
May 04, 1951 to March 27, 1972
RAYMOND J CROW Jr is on the Wall at Panel 02W Line 119
Incident Date: 03/27/1972
Casualty Date: 03/27/1972
Age at Loss: 20
Location: Province not reported, Cambodia
Remains: Body not recovered
Casualty Type: Hostile, died while missing
Casualty Reason: Helicopter - Crew
Casualty Detail: Air loss or crash over land
27 March 1972
- SERGEANT RAYMOND A. CROW and AIRMAN FIRST CLASS RAYMOND A WAGNER.
Sergeant Crow and Airman Wagner are PJs crewing an HH-53 over Tonle Sap
Lake. They have just completed a combat SAR orbit and are returning to
base. More recently, they have just completed an aerial refueling.
Suddenly, without warning, a catastrophic mechanical failure races
through the complex rotor system destroying it and instantly killing all
personnel aboard. Because the incident occurs over a heavily contested
and dangerous area of the war zone, none of the crew remains are
recovered, and to this day the tragedy remains a mystery.
Name: Raymond Jack Crow, Jr.
Rank/Branch: E3/US Air Force
Unit: 40th Aerospace Rescue Recovery Squadron, Nakhon Phanom, Airfield, Thailand
Date of Birth: 04 May 1951
Home City of Record: Salt Lake City UT
Date of Loss: 27 March 1972
Country of Loss: Cambodia
Loss Coordinates: 140622N 1063350E (XA682585)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: Richard E. Dreher; James Manor; David E. Pannabecker; Raymond A. Wagner (all missing)
SYNOPSIS: Altogether, the HH-53 "Super Jolly Green Giant" was the largest, fastest and most powerful heavy lift helicopter in the U.S. Air Force
inventory. In 1967, the Air Force started a development program to acquire a night rescue capability, and by March 1971, it had succeeded in installing a
nighttime recovery system aboard five HH53C Super Jolly helicopters in Southeast Asia. The Super Jolly was involved in such famed rescue attempts
as the attempt to rescue American POWs held at the Son Tay prison compound near Hanoi in late November 1970, and the assault operation to free the
Mayaguez crew in May 1975.
Captain David E. Pannabecker, pilot and Capt. Richard Dreher, co-pilot, were assigned as part of a day rescue mission and departed NKP at 0830 on
the morning of March 27, 1972. Pannabecker's Super Jolly was the second aircraft in a flight of two. Aboard the aircraft was the Pararescue team
consisting of James Manor and Raymond A. Wagner.
Following aerial refueling over southeastern Thailand, they departed the tanker to complete the mission, maintaining interplane communications on FM
and UHF radios. The lead aircraft called a "tally ho" on the aircraft they were escorting. When the lead aircraft did not receive an answer, the pilot
attempted to find him visually without success. After completing a 180 degree turn, the pilot of the lead aircraft reported sighting a column of
black smoke coming from the dense jungle five miles away. Their position at this time was in Stoeng Treng Province, Cambodia, about 10 miles southeast
of the city of Siempang.
A Pararescue specialist was lowered to the ground at the site of the crash to check for survivors, but due to the intense heat from the burning
helicopter, he could not approach near enough to determine if there were crew members inside the aircraft.
Some three hours later a second rescue specialist was deployed in the immediate area, who reported the wreckage was still burning, precluding
close inspection. It was never determined if any aboard the Super Jolly survived, but all aboard were declared Killed/Body Not Recovered.
In an attempt to classify the cases of the Missing in Action to determine which cases could be readily resolved, the Defense Department assigned
"enemy knowledge" categories to each missing man, according to the likelihood their fates would be known by the enemy. In the case of the downed Super
Jolly, Wagner, Pannabecker and Dreher were assigned "Category 2", and Manor and Crow "Category 3".
The Americans missing in Cambodia present a special problem. The U.S. has never recognized the government of Cambodia, nor has it negotiated for the
release of any Americans captured there. It has generally been believed that any POWs held in Cambodia after the end of U.S. involvement in Southeast
Asia perished in the genocide committed by Pol Pot in the mid-1970's.