Special Section on the MIA ID Lab.
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Jim Ray Cavender
Rank/Branch: W1/US Army
Unit: 281st Aviation Company, 17th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade
Date of Birth: 28 December 1948 (Gladewater TX)
Home City of Record: Santa Paula CA
Loss Date: 04 November 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 123327N 1085304E (BP702890)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: James Klimo; John A. Ware; Terry L. Alford (all missing)
SYNOPSIS: On November 4, 1969, WO Terry L. Alford, aircraft commander; WO1 Jim R. Cavender, pilot; SP4 John A. Ware, crew chief; and SP4 James R. Klimo, door gunner; were flying a series of combat support missions in a UH1H helicopter (serial #67 - 19512) in South Vietnam.
WO Alford was returning to his base at Nha Trang from Duc Lap at about 1920 hours when he made his last known radio contact with the 48th Aviation Company Operations at Ninh Hoa. Either the pilot or aircraft commander gave his approximate location as Duc My Pass, and stated he was in the clouds and instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). Shortly afterwards, the controller at Ninh Hoa heard a radio transmission that WO1 Alford was in trouble. The pilot reported, inexplicably, that the helicopter was flying upside down.
The Defense Department has told family members that the helicopter was on a secondary mission heading toward a buffer zone between Cambodia and South Vietnam, an area in the Central Highlands the helicopter was in by mistake. The helicopter is not believed to have been shot at. Search efforts were conducted for six consecutive days, but nothing was found.
According to the Defense Department, one crewmember's body was recovered at a later time, but no remains were ever found that could be identified as Alford, Klimo, Ware or Cavender. The four crew members were not among the prisoners of war that were released in 1973. High ranking officials admit their dismay that "hundreds" of suspected American prisoners of war did not return. Klimo's sister has identified her brother as one of the prisoners of war pictured in a Vietnamese propaganda leaflet.
Alarmingly, evidence continues to mount that Americans were left as prisoners in Southeast Asia and continue to be held today. Unlike "MIAs" from other wars, most of the nearly 2500 men and women who remain missing in Southeast Asia can be accounted for. The crew of the UH1H could be among them. Isn't it time we brought our men home
"All Biographical and loss information on POW's provided by Operation Just Cause have been supplied by Chuck and Mary Schantag of POWNET
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