SGT Larry Wayne Maysey

 
Pararescue emblem Pararescue Creed
It is my duty as a Pararescueman to save life and to aid the injured. I will be prepared at all times to perform my assigned duties quickly and efficiently, placing these duties before personal desires and comforts. These things I do, "That Others May Live."
Pararescue Beret
POW/MIA bracelet
Name Larry Wayne Maysey
Rank/Branch E4/US Air Force
Serial Number 12751422
Unit 37th Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Squadron, DaNang, Republic of Vietnam
Date of Birth 18 May 1946
Home City of Record Chester NJ
Date of Loss 09 November 1967
Country of Loss Laos
Loss Coordinates 161458N 1065258E (YC012973)
Status (in 1973) Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category 2 - Suspected Knowledge

This category includes personnel who were:
A. Involved in the same incidents as individuals reported in category 1 (Confirmed Knowledge), or
B. Lost in areas or under such conditions that they may reasonably be known by the enemy, or
C. Connected with an incident which was discussed but not identified by name in the enemy news media, or
D. Probably identified through analysis of all-source intelligence.

Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground HH-3E Jolly Green Giant Combat Rescue Helicopter (Jolly Green 26)
The Wall Panel 29E - Row 060
Other Personnel In Incident Joseph G. Kusick, Bruce R. Baxter, Eugene L. Clay, Ralph W. Brower (all missing)
Gerald O. Young (rescued - awarded Congressional Medal Of Honor for action)
3 indigenous personnel with Special Forces team (rescued)
Source Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 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. Task Force Omega. Inc.

Synopsis

The first HH-3E Jolly Green Giant helicopters specifically outfitted for search and rescue arrived in Vietnam in the fall of 1965. By the beginning of 1967 there were 50 Aerospace Search and Recovery Squadron (ARRS) rescue aircraft in four squadrons in Southeast Asia. Later models of the HH3 were equipped with aerial refueling capability which gave them the range necessary to fly missions deep into North Vietnam.

At 2305 hours local time on 08 November 1967, two Air Force HH-3E helicopters (call signs "Jolly Green 26" and "Jolly Green 29") were scrambled from the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron, DaNang Airbase, South Vietnam for an emergency extraction of 5 remaining members of a Special Forces road-watch reconnaissance team. The team had suffered heavy casualties while operating deep in a denied area along the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos and was under intense and relentless attack by the communists. This recovery effort would be recorded by the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron as one of the largest and most hazardous on record.

The Special Forces team members were assigned to MACV-SOG. Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group, was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special Forces channeled personnel into MACV-SOG (though it was not a Special Forces group) through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA), which provided their "cover" while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. These teams performed deep penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire" missions.

This area of Laos was known to be a major artery of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. When North Vietnam began to increase its military strength in South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some years before. This border road was used by the Communists to transport weapons, supplies and troops from North Vietnam into South Vietnam, and was frequently no more than a path cut through the jungle covered mountains. US forces used all assets available to them to stop this flow of men and supplies from moving south into the war zone.

The two Air Force rescue helicopters were advised by the on site Forward Air Controller (FAC) to remain in the holding area while three Army UH1B gunships softened the area with rockets and machine gun fire. Meanwhile, an Air Force C130 provided flare support for the operation. During this time 2 helicopters - 1 American UH1B and 1 ARVN H34 - were shot down by automatic weapons fire very near the road watch team approximately 45 kilometers east-southeast of Muang Nong and 5 kilometers southwest of Achiang, Salavan Province, Laos.

At 0030 hours on 09 November, Jolly Green 29 successfully extracted three indigenous personnel before being severely damaged and driven off by heavy enemy automatic weapons fire. Damaged, Jolly Green 29 left and made an emergency landing at Khe Sanh. Twenty 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 attempt pick up Special Forces SGT Joseph G. Kusick and MSGT Bruce R. Baxter, both wounded.

As he was departing the area, the pilot of the damaged SAR helicopter advised Capt. Young that the endangered team was positioned on the side of a steep slope which would require unusual airmanship on the part of Capt. Young to effect pickup. He further advised that any additional rescue attempts be abandoned because it was not possible to suppress the concentrated fire from those weapons.

With full knowledge of the danger involved and that the supporting helicopter gunships were low on fuel and ordnance, Capt. Young hovered under intense enemy fire until SGT Kusick and MSgt Baxter, who were both wounded, were aboard. As he maneuvered the aircraft for takeoff, the enemy appeared at point-blank range and raked it with automatic weapons fire. The Jolly Green Giant crashed inverted in flames. Capt. Young escaped through a window of the burning aircraft. Disregarding his own serious burns, Capt. Young aided one of the wounded men and attempted to lead the hostile forces away from that man's position.

The number of US and allied personnel on the ground and under attack was now 2 men from the Special Forces road-watch team, 4 US crewmen from the UH1B, 3 ARVN from the ARVN H34 and 4 US crewmen from the HH-3E.

By 1700 hours on 9 November, 6 men still on the ground included 2 trail-watch team members, 1 UH1B crewman and 4 HH-3E crewmen. Later, when another rescue attempt by air was planned, Capt. Young declined to bring the aircraft in because he had observed hostile forces setting up automatic weapons positions to entrap any rescue aircraft.

By late afternoon a strike team was landed some distance away to rescue the remaining Americans, but had difficulty making contact with the survivors. When they did link up, it was impossible to inspect the wreckage for survivors or remains because of fading light.

On 10 November, over 17 hours after the HH-3E was shot down, the remaining survivors were evacuated by rescue helicopter. Capt. Gerald O. Young, the pilot of Jolly Green Giant 26, was awarded this nation's highest decoration, The Congressional Medal of Honor, for his extraordinary heroism both in the air and on the ground during this mission.

Later that day, the wreckage of the Jolly Green Giant was searched. Three charred remains were found... two of them had identification tags which identified them as members of the aircrew. The third set of remains had no tags, but was identified as SGT Kusick, the reconnaissance team radio operator, as the long antenna from his PRC-25 radio was found on his body. Approximately 34 meters downhill from the wreckage, another set of remains were found which were readily identified as MSGT Baxter from the facial features. SSgt Clay's body was also found outside of the aircraft and identified by his ID tags. The remains of the two crewmen and Kusick were removed from the aircraft and placed with MSGT Baxter's remains so they could be hoisted as one lift into a hovering helicopter. The identification tags of the crewmembers were placed with the remains.

Weather conditions on 9 November were clear with 7 miles visibility and light to variable winds. By 10 November there was a 1000-foot overcast of clouds with only 3 miles of visibility and light rain. During the next 2 days, weather conditions and enemy action would not permit helicopters to extract the remains of the dead. Ultimately the strike team was forced to leave the remains where they had been placed, and depart the crash site area. On 13 November 1967, George Kusick, Bruce Baxter; Ralph Brower; Eugene Clay and Larry Maysey were all declared Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.

The remains of the crew and passengers aboard Jolly Green 26 were never recovered. Although the location of the crash is known, the bodies of the crew and recon team who died still lie on foreign soil. George Kusick, Bruce Baxter; Ralph Brower; Eugene Clay and Larry Maysey are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many of these men were known to be alive on the ground. The Laotians admitted holding "tens of tens" of American Prisoners of War, but these men were never negotiated for either by direct negotiation between our countries or through the Paris Peace Accords which ended the War in Vietnam since Laos was not a party to that agreement.

While the fate of the five men is not in doubt, each man has a right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country. For other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, their fate could be quite different.

Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE American Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY. American servicemen in Vietnam were called upon to operate in many dangerous circumstances both on and off duty, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.

The Air Force dedicated three buildings to the memory of Larry Maysey, at Los Angeles AFB, California,  Randolph AFB, Texas,  and at  Hickam AFB, Hawaii .

Visit these sites to learn more:

On Memorial Day, May 30, 2005, the people of Chester, NJ (Larry's hometown) decicated the  The Larry Maysey Veterans' Memorial Project.


Who Was Larry Wayne Maysey?

This is by Charlotte Hoffman, Larry Maysey's mother, in a mini-biography she wrote to the Air Force in 1984:

Larry was born May 18, 1946, at Morristown Memorial Hospital. He had blue eyes, dark brown hair. His weight at birth was 6 lbs. 7 oz. He was a very happy child and was looking forward to attending kindergarten at the age of 5 years old. He had a little trouble in reading, so the teacher kept him back in second grade. T then gave him hp and he made out much better. When he graduated from grade school in 1961, he received an award for best talent in a play called H.M.S. Pinafore. He received a price from the Junior Women's club for Art. He then attended high school. During his high school years, he played baseball and football all four years. The year he graduated, his football team came out in first place. The next year at football dinner, a football was presented to his Dad and I. We were both very grateful.

He also took up woodworking in high school. He made a coffee table in his junior year, and a beautiful hutch in his senior year. I was so proud of his work. His dad and I were talking about putting him up in cabinet making. Larry worked with different carpenters while in his junior and senior years. He helped the carpenter that built our house. He also got a prize for the hutch.

After High School, Larry joined the Air Force and was assigned to Air Rescue and Recover. Just before he joined the Air Force, he bought a new MG car. He was so proud of it. There were very few people who were allowed to drive it. But when he was stationed at Fort Walton Beach, Florida, he asked if his Dad and I could drive it down to him. It was around his birthday, so we did.

After many hours and studies, he had become a Pararescueman. He was over in Viet Nam 23 days when we received word of his death.

We were invited to McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey and were presented with the following medals: Purple Heart, The Air Force Cross, National Defense, and Republic of Vietnam Service. Then each state gave the POW/MIA Commemorative Medal. Suspended from a yellow, green, and red striped ribbon, a 3" medallion reminds the wives, parents, and children of the nearly 2,500 Americans still missing in Southeast Asia that "You are not forgotten."

The following is from a high school classmate of Larry Maysey:

Larry W. Maysey, A Warriors Savior, Dedicated to a mission that made Pilots, LRRP and SOG personnel feel comfort in knowing that someone was ready to risk their life, to possibly save yours.

My father had Larry as a student and had commented about his happy go lucky attitude and willingness to help. My wife had a class with him and remembered him always trying to get Mr. Lewis to talk about the house he was trying to build. What I remember is his ultimate sacrifice to save someone else's life in a time when we didn't know why or what we may be doing but that we were "comrades" and fellow American soldiers. It is sad that he is still among the 2000+ not yet brought home to a country that still feels that "we" started the war and not the politicians. He did not only what he was ordered to do but more, he sacrificed his life so that others would live. The Ultimate Hero!!!

-- Michael Lewis, USA, RET (VN68-69)

This is from Doug McGill, a fellow PJ:

Commitment is the word!

President John F. Kennedy, early on in his presidency had stated "Ask not what your country can do for you... but rather what you can do for your country." These words inspired many of the youth in America. Those who believed in their country, volunteered and enlisted in the American military. There were some who enlisted and some who received commissions in the armed services of their country. Regardless, all made a commitment and all strived to do their best!

These men and women not only made a commitment to themselves but to the country they loved. They were undivided in their fervent desire to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and Larry Maysey lived by making commitments to the codes of the military and to the Pararescue/Air Rescue service.

Larry, like all of the Pararescuemen assigned to the Vietnam theater, was a volunteer who knew full well the dangers involved with combat rescue activities. Larry Maysey made the commitment to volunteer for the rigorous 18 months of Pararescue training and he made a commitment as a volunteer to serve in Vietnam.

Larry made the commitment to volunteer for the rigorous 18 months of Pararescue training; he made a commitment as a volunteer to serve in Vietnam; and he made his strongest commitment... that of saving the lives of others in need... no matter the environment. He honored the commitments he made to his country; he honored the commitments he made to the United States Air Force; and he honored his commitments to the United States Air Force Pararescue service by risking it all in order to save lives. His code... as well as that of the USAF Rescue Service, is "These things we do... that others may live."

Larry will always be remembered by his friends for his unselfish sacrifices, his strong commitments to duty, to God and to country, and his exemplary professionalism!

It was my honor to have flown and served with Larry W. Maysey. He touched my life and made me a better man for knowing him .

-- Douglas J. McGill Jr., USAF PARARESCUE, RETIRED, (66-87)

This is from D.W. Hudacsko, who went to basic training with Larry:

I remember that Larry was pretty committed to his pararescue career as we went through basic. He was the only one in the entire basic flight that knew exactly what duty assignment he wanted. The rest of us had no real preferences or even much of an idea as to what kind of training we might go through or what kind of duty we might expect. I remember how focused he was on passing the tests to get into pararescue and how he relished talking about what his training program and duty would involve. He was the youngest but had the most mature vision of what he was taking on. It was shocking to learn how short that career turned out. He was the only one of a dozen guys I enlisted with not to come back.

When I read the accounts of how the pilot polled the crew to see if they wanted to make the rescue attempt, I could picture how confidently Larry would have responded to that question. I can't imagine that he would have even seen it as a choice. I don't know but I suspect that all he needed to know was that the pilot thought he could get Larry on the ground - I doubt that he thought his part at issue - I am sure he was "ready to go".

This is from Gamble C. Dick, U.S. Army, Retired, who led the team to find Jolly Green 26:

Thank you for the memorial to Larry and the others lost that day in Laos. I was privileged to attend the unveiling of the memorial named for him in Chester, NJ this past Memorial Day. It is an inspiring tribute to him and the other brave men from that area of this great country.

Here is some of the story as I remember it. I led the team that went in the next morning.

There was a VNAF H-34 that was shot up and auto-rotated into another valley that night. The crew and team members on board were picked up at first light. I believe that VNAF was able to patch it up and fly it out the next day. Prior to JG 29 going in for its pick up, an Army gunship (1 of 3 that were in support that night) jettisoned its armament and attempted a pick up but was shot down. Two of the crew were picked up by VNAF at first light and my team located a third surviving member of that crew that afternoon. He informed us that the 4th crew member was deceased. I have not been able to find any information about this aircraft or to what unit it belonged.

At the site of JG 26, we found 3 bodies in the wreckage (Brower, Clay, and Kusick), a fourth body (Baxter) was found about 30 yards downhill. We were told that everyone was accounted for. I later found out that Capt. Young, who escaped the crash and evaded until one of the USMC gunships supporting us picked him up later in the afternoon, had hidden a dying crew member under some brush because the NVA were approaching. This was probably Sgt. Maysey. There were no signs of life in the area the next day and we were all over the crash site.

To make a long story short, it was an area infested with NVA moving into SVN in preparation for Tet and the siege at Khe Sanh. We were briefed for a daylong mission to search the area and be extracted at dusk. We took no food and very little water. Due to weather and enemy activity, we were not extracted for 3 days. The NVA tried to use the crash site as a flak trap to lure and shoot down more aircraft. The terrain was very steep, the weather was really bad, and we were exhausted and hungry. We were unable to remove the bodies of the deceased from the crash site. We killed/wounded many NVA and were fortunate to get out of the area with 5 or 6 wounded on our team.

It was a bad mission and I wish it had turned out differently. The effort to find and rescue those personnel was monumental and I can not say enough about the aircrews, including JG 26, who flew into that dark place. They were all heroes and will be unknowingly missed by a society who never knew or cared about them.

Larry Wayne Maysey  Larry Wayne Maysey
Special thanks to Air Force Magazine for allowing me to use the picture and
article that appeared in the April 1998 issue about enlisted Air Force Cross recipients.

 

"The Air Force Cross is presented to Larry Wayne Maysey, Sergeant, U.S. Air Force, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as a Pararescueman in Southeast Asia on 9 November 1967. On that date, Sergeant Maysey attempted the night extraction of a ground reconnaissance team after his helicopter had been severely damaged. Two other helicopters had been shot down and a third extensively damaged in previous attempts. During the rescue attempt, Sergeant Maysey unhesitatingly exposed himself to the hail of hostile fire to assist wounded survivors into the helicopter. The hostile forces closed in quickly, and as the damaged helicopter departed, it was shot down. Though his extraordinary heroism, superb airmanship, and aggressiveness in the face of the enemy, Sergeant Maysey reflected the highest credit upon himself and the United States Air Force."

This is the text of Larry W. Maysey's
Air Force Cross award.

Air Force Cross

 


Due to this page, I had the luck to be contacted by Jeff Nash, a retired Master Sergeant in the Air Force. He adopted Larry Maysey and wears his MIA bracelet. Jeff has been doing research on Larry and sent me some personal information about him that I would like to share:

From what I've learned from conversations with those that knew him, Larry was the typical All-American kind of guy. Larry was 6'2" tall, weighed about 180 lbs, had brown hair and blue eyes, was athletic, played the guitar and was partial to the folk music that was popular in the mid-60's. He also owned a green 67 MG that was his pride and joy.

The other day, I received some copies of documents I requested from the Library of Congress's POW/MIA data base concerning Larry. Basically what I have are some summaries and case reports from Joint Task Force - Full Accounting (JTF-FA). One summary says that the recovery team that initially went in to secure the crash site and recover remains found Larry's remains in the wreck, placed them in a body bag, then placed them in a washed out crevice downhill from the crash site for helicopter extraction. Poor weather that day prevented extraction. Later, when the weather cleared, enemy action forced the team to leave the area without the remains.

In January 95, a joint US/Lao team investigated the area where the helo was recorded to have crashed. The team traveled throughout the area, interviewing several village chiefs, none of whom could provide any knowledge of a crash site. However, they did learn of a potential person who could lead them to a helicopter crash site, who wasn't there at the time. The team leader at that time recommended further investigation.

In April 95, the team returned and located the witness, who took them to a crash site determined to not correlate with Larry's case. But, they did locate another crash site believed to be the right one. They found parts of an M-60 machine gun (similar to those used by helo door gunners), a large five-blade main rotor, and a tail rotor assembly matching an HH-3 helicopter. The team leader at that time stated that the potential for finding remains in that area was high. No more information after that. I'm sure the site was slated for further excavation.

I never knew Larry, he's not a relative, and I was not quite 6 years old when he was lost. But to me he's a hero and my brother. He epitomizes the spirit of service before self, and sacrifice for others. As a fellow member of the Air Force, I'm proud to be associated with him.

I also heard from Douglas J. McGill Jr., USAF PARARESCUE, RETIRED, (66-87)

I was directed by MSgt Jeff Nash to view your wonderful tribute site to a friend and comrade in arms, Larry Maysey.

Larry was a most special human , who loved life, who loved peace, and loved Pararescue, and lived and died by the motto.. "These things we do... THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE." His deed and example are remembered and followed by all that wear the Maroon Beret of the United States Air Force Pararescue Special Forces.

Thank you for the love and dedication you have shown towards this most special project.

USAF Pararescue

I would also like to thank all the other wonderful PJs who have written to me about this site. I understand why PJs are so special. If you're interested in learning more about Pararescue, please visit these excellent sites:

Click  here  to read about the ongoing search for Jolly Green 26.


 

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Email:

Write to Jeff Nash at:
jeff_nash@hotmail.com
Write to Doug McGill at:
dmcgill2@tampabay.rr.com
Write to Lorrie Scally at:
lorrie@scally.com

 

 
   

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