DILLENDER, WILLIAM EDWARD
Name: William Edward Dillender
Rank/Branch: E4/US Army
Unit: Company B, 101st Aviation Battalion,
101st Airborne Division
Date of Birth: 06 November 1951 (Waltham MA)
Home City of Record: Naples FL
Date of Loss: 20 March 1971
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 163544N 1962513E (XD515352)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: John J. Chubb; Jack L. Barker; John F. Dugan
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990 from one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998.
REMARKS: EXPLODED FIRE NO SEARCH - J
SYNOPSIS: LAM SON 719 was a large offensive operation against NVA
communications lines in Laos. The operation called for ARVN troops to drive
west from Khe Sanh, cut the Ho Chi Minh Trail, seize Tchpone and return to
Vietnam. The ARVN would provide and command the ground forces, while U.S.
Army and Air Force would furnish avaition airlift and supporting firepower.
The 101st Airborne Division commanded all U.S. Army aviation units in direct
support of the operation. Most of the first part of the operation, begun
January 30, 1971, was called Operation DEWEY CANYON II, and was conducted by
U.S. ground forces in Vietnam.
The ARVN were halfway on February 11 and positioned for the attack across
the Laotian border. On 8 February, ARVN began to push into Laos. The NVA
reacted fiercely, but the ARVN held its positions supported by U.S.
airstrikes and resupply runs by Army helicopters.
President Nguyen Van Thieu ordered a helicopter assault on Tchepone, and the
abandoned village was seized March 6. Two weeks of hard combat were
necessary for the ARVN task force to fight its way back to Vietnam. Towards
the end of the removal, a helicopter from Company B, 101st Aviation
Battalion was lost.
Flown by Maj. Jack L. Barker, the UH1H (serial #66-16185) was attempting to
land to extract ARVN troops about 20 miles west of Khe Sanh. During the
attempt, the aircraft came under enemy fire and was seen to spin, explode,
and catch fire, then to break up in the air. No signs of survivors were
seen. The crew aboard the aircraft were PCF John J. Chubb, Sgt. William E.
Dillender, and Capt. John F. Dugan. Because of the presence of enemy forces
in the area, no subsequent search could be made for survivors.
Losses were heavy in Lam Son 719. The ARVN lost almost 50% of their force.
U.S. aviation units lost 168 helicopters; another 618 were damaged.
Fifty-five aircrewmen were killed, 178 wounded, and 34 missing in action in
the entire operation, lasting until April 6, 1971.
In all, nearly 600 Americans were lost in Laos, but because we did not
negotiate with the Pathet Lao, no Americans held in Laos were released.
Since that time, over 10,000 reports have been received relating to
Americans prisoner, missing or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Although
many authorities are convinced that hundreds remain alive, the U.S. has not
secured the release of a single man.
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