Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012 - Cryptologic Direct Support Team Lost off Vietnam

From the USS Enterprise, " 0844 on 12 December 1971, a COD flight, Grumman C-2A Greyhound (BuNo 152793), Lieutenant Vetal C. LaMountain, Jr., pilot, and Lieutenant (jg) Gale V. Woolsey, Jr., co-pilot, VRC-50 Det Cubi Point, took off from Cubi Point, bound for Enterprise, routed via Tan Son Nhut, for a “logistic support mission.” Two other crewmembers, Airman James M. Van Buswum, plane captain, and ABH3 Richard C. Gaynor, load master; together with six passengers, Petty Officer 1st Class (He was a CTO1 ed.) D.E. Dickerson, CTR1 Walter Ray Woods, CTM2 G.K. Zeller, CTO3 J.M. Coon, CTISN J.M. Deremigio and Seaman S.H. Elliott, were also on board. Flying across the South China Sea on Airway R68 the Greyhound reported in at 0927, having reached Coral Intersection, at approximately 13º07’N, 117º00’E. From 0941, however, nothing further was heard from the C-2A.

We remember these men on Memorial Day.  It was a CDSE (Cryptologic Direct Support Element) team. It started out as just a routine det like so many others. A young team flying out to meet their ship and get on with their mission.  But it ended tragically. 

Regarding their memory.  I visited the Wall this weekend and looked for them. They are not listed.  Some of their family members are trying to get this changed and NSA is still keeping the mission classified. My assumption is that they were listed somehow as not "in theater."  If you know something about their mission or the loss, or would like to help with the effort, try the contact info at the link for Dick Willis, Senior Analyst with Stanley Associates.

For a complete list of Navy Cryptologists killed since WWII, see my Memorial Day post from 2009.


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