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In my heart and in my mind
I will not forget

John Charles Keiper
born September 18, 1945
lost November 15, 1966

UnitHAMS 16, Marine Air Group 16
Home City of RecordRenovo PA
Country of LossSouth Vietnam
Loss Coordinates162535N 1074619E (ZD 150045)
Status (in 1973)Missing In Action
Other Personnel In IncidentHarry M. Ravenna, missing

Incident Synopsis

On November 15, 1966, US Army Capt. Harry M. Ravenna, pilot, and US Marine Corps Cpl. John C. Keiper, passenger, were flying a U6A aircraft (serial #541723) on a routine flight from Dong Ha to Da Nang. Keiper was assigned to Helicopter Attack Maintenance Squadron 16, Marine Air Group 16. His role on this mission is unclear from public record.

Ravenna filed a VFR (visual flight rules) flight plan, but ran into poor weather conditions. He radioed Dong Ha and requested radar guidance. At 1430 hours, he passed into Da Nang airfield radar control and radioed "Lonely Ranger 723, heading 125, 3000 feet, estimating Da Nang at 40, request radar. Presently on instruments."

Having trouble bringing him onto radar screen, Da Nang instructed Ravenna to activate his transponder, but this did not improve radar contact, so they asked his location, which he gave as 45 nautical miles from Dong Ha. Da Nang instructed him to recontact Dong Ha (believing he was out of Da Nang range and still in that of Dong Ha). Ravenna acknowledged the tranmission, radio contact was broken, and never resumed.

Ravenna and Keiper were last believed to be in South Vietnam about halfway between Da Nang and the city of Hue. Later investigation concluded that on his present course, had it been followed, Ravenna's aircraft would have impacted with the side of a mountain in that vicinity. The hostile threat in the area prevented extensive search, and all efforts to discover the fate of Ravenna and Keiper have failed.

Keiper is among nearly 2500 Americans who did not return from the war in Vietnam. Today, thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. Government that indicate that men are still alive, held in captivity in Southeast Asia. Thus far, official policy is to state that "conclusive proof" is not yet available. Detractors state that proof is in hand, but the will to act on that proof does not exist. As long as even ONE American is alive, held against his will, we must do everything in our power to achieve his release.

Reference Number0523-0-02
Return Date
Coordinates (LatitudeLongitude)162535N1074619E
Aircraft/Vehicle TypeU6A

PMSEA taken from the Casualty Lists of the Library of Congress POW/MIA Database. For explanation of symbols in the table, click here.

The letter that I wrote

I have received replies

The DoD letter. Please read

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Original photograph provided by Ms. Lynn M. O'Shea of The National Alliance of Families.

All biographical and loss information on Vietnam Era POW/MIAs provided by Operation Just Cause supplied by Chuck and Mary Schantag of POW/NET. Please check with POW/NET regularly for updates.

Eagle graphics AND the smaller Keiper jpg supplied by Dennis at the Raptor's Nest

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