Bruce Raymond Baxter
Killed In Action - Body Not Recovered
|SYNOPSIS: On November 8, 1967, two Air Force "Jolly Greens" (#26 and #29) from
the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron were scrambled from Da Nang Air Base at 1505 hours for an emergency extraction of five surviving members of a Special Forces reconnaissance team which had suffered heavy casualties while operating deep in a denied area in Laos. The recovery effort was to be recorded by the Squadron as one of the largest and most hazardous on record.
The two Air Force helicopters were advised by forward air control to hold while three Army UH1B gunships softened the area with rockets and machine gun fire. An Air Force C130 gunship, meanwhile, provided flare support for the mission. At 1630Z, Jolly Green 29 picked up the three indigenous personnel before being driven off by hostile fire.
Damaged, Jolly Green 29 left and made an emergency landing at Khe Sanh. 20 minutes later, Jolly Green 26, flown by Capt. Gerald Young, with flight crew consisting of Capt. Ralph Brower, co-pilot; SSgt. Eugene Clay, flight engineer; and Sgt. Larry Maysey, rescue specialist; braved the ground fire to pick up Special Forces SP4 Joseph G. Kusick and MSgt. Bruce R. Baxter, both wounded. The helicopter was hit by automatic weapons fire, crashed and burst into flames.
By the afternoon of November 9, a recovery team was inserted into the area and reached the crash site of the burned HH3. Because of fading light, it was impossible to inspect the wreckage at that time.
On 10 November, the wreckage was searched and 3 charred remains were found. Two
About 34 meters downhill from the wreckage, another set of remains were found which
The remains of the crew and passengers aboard Jolly Green 26 were never recovered.
While it is a great sadness to know a loved one is dead and his body is lying far from home, the greater tragedy is those known to have been prisoners of war who did not return, and those who are missing in action.
Since the war ended, "several million documents" and "over 250,000 interviews" have been reviewed relating to Americans prisoner, missing or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Many officials who have reviewed this largely-classified information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still alive in captivity today.
These reports increase the agony for families who want to know what happened to their
sons, fathers and brothers. If, as the U.S. Government seems to believe, all the men are
dead, it's time the information was declassified so that all can understand the fates of
these heroes. If, as many believe, men are still alive, it's time they were brought home