McCollum, James Patrick, Capt

 Service Photo   Service Details
View Time Line
Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1967-1968, 1025C, 56th Air Commando Wing
Service Years
1954 - 1968
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

54 kb

Home State
New Jersey
New Jersey
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SMSgt R. Hensel (Bob / Ole Buck) to remember McCollum, James Patrick, Capt.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Nakhon Phanom RTAFB

Casualty Date
May 23, 1968
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Quang Tri (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery - St. Louis, Missouri
Wall/Plot Coordinates
66E 012

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  1968, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Ribbon Bar

Aviator (Basic)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
21st Special Operations Squadron - Dust Devils56th Air Commando Wing
  1967-1968, 1025C, 21st Special Operations Squadron - Dust Devils
  1967-1968, 1025C, 56th Air Commando Wing
 My Aircraft/Missiles
HH-3/CH-3E  Jolly Green Giant  
  1967-1968, HH-3/CH-3E Jolly Green Giant
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

   On May 23, 1968, three CH-3E helicopters departed Nakon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand on a close-hold mission of unknown specifics.  The area involved was near Kae Sanh, and the helicopters were escorted by a flight of A-1 Skyraiders.  On arrival in the target area, they dropped down through a hole in a nearly solid cloud cover.  Once underneath, Capt. James P. McCollum, the flight lead (call sign "Knife"), determined that the mission was not practical and directed the flight to climb back above the cloud deck.  The wing helicopters did so without difficulty, but visual and radio contact with McCollum's aircraft was lost.  Weather conditions limited search and rescue efforts.

   When the cloud cover broke, the burning wreakage was spotted and their were no signs of survivors, but atttempts to lower a search party to the site were foiled by heavy turbulance around the peaks.  For the next three weeks, Marine ground forces attempted to reach the crash site but were unable to do so.  Although the crash was believed to be unsurvivable, the six men aboard were classified Missing In Action.

   On 2 November 1968, a ground party finally reached the site and recovered the remains, believed to be those of at least five men.  A mortuary report from 15 January 1969, stated that only the remains of Capt. William H. Taylor could be individually identified.  The unidentified remains were given a group burial with military honors.

Crew and passenger lost from the CH-3E (tail number 66-13295):
 (Note this was the 1st combat loss of this unit in the war in SEA).

Capt. James P. McCollum, Aircraft Commander  
Capt. William H. Taylor, Pilot 
Sgt. John E. Albanese, Jr.,  Flight Engineer 
SSgt. John L. Coon, Flight Engineer 
Sgt. Robert A. Fink, Gunner 

Sgt. Thomas F. Buhr, Combat Photographer from the 600th Photo Squadron

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