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John Robert Adams

John Adams
Born 31 Jul 1946, Chico, Butte Co, CA
Died 8 Nov 1967, Air Loss/Helicopter Crash, 3 MI E of the border of Laos, MIA
Service Branch Army
Rank Staff Sergeant
Rating or Job Helicopter Crew Chief
Unit 189th AHC, 52nd AVN BN, 1st AVN BDE, 17th AVN Group Camp Holloway, Pleiku Province, South Vietnam
Campaign Viet Nam
Military Citations  
Family Father: Jack Donell Adams was born on October 13, 1918, Grand Prairie, Dallas Co, TX. He married Margaret Ruth O’Connell in 1943 in Mangum, Greer Co, OK. They had four children during their marriage. He died on June 23, 2006, in Chico, Butte Co, CA, at 87.

Mother: Margaret Ruth O’Connell was born in 1920 in Willow, Greer Co, OK. She died on October 19, 2012, in Chico, Butte, Co, CA at 92.


Staff Sgt. John Robert Adams

July 31, 1946 - Nov. 8, 1967


By the time he was 21, Robert Adams had 400 hours of combat as crew chief aboard a Huey helicopter. On Nov. 8, 1967, his chopper, part of the 189th Assault Helicopter Company, was shot down by small arms fire during the bloody battle of Dak To.

First reports indicated the chopper fell in North Vietnam, but later accounts said it dropped in Viet Cong-held territory.

Army spokesmen told Adams’s anguished parents that all efforts to save the crew were unsuccessful and that the Viet Cong “sealed off the area and occupied the crash site.”

For a long two months in late 1967, Adams’s parents did not know whether their son was dead or held prisoner. In a nightmarish snafu, the Army at one point shipped home the body of a soldier who was not Robert Adams.

Adams was listed as missing in action until March 13, 1978, when he was officially declared deceased.

Robert Adams, a I964 graduate of Chico High School, worked after high school in the carpentry shop in Six Rivers National Forest near Eureka. He went in the service in mid-1966.

Chico News & Review, May 26, 1988

Casualty Details: died while missing

Listed on the Vietnam Courts of the Missing, Honolulu Memorial HI

Listed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall, Washington, D.C. Panel 29E, Line 46 Listed on the Gold Star Memorial, Glen Oaks Memorial Park Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Air Crew Wings


Staff Sergeant Adams was a member of the 189th Assault Helicopter “Ghost Riders” Company, 52nd Combat Aviation “Flying Dragons” Battalion, 17th Aviation Group. On November 8, 1967, he was the crew chief of a Bell Iroquois Utility Helicopter (UH-1C) on a Special Forces insertion mission west of Dak Tho, South Vietnam, when the aircraft lost power and crashed into a wooded area three miles east of the border of Laos. His remains were not recovered.


National Archives

Chico News & Review

Bill Edmiston