Seabird 02 SAR

Jolly Green 71 Downed by MiG 21

28 Jan 70
(tape courtesy of Tom Stump, Sandy pilot)

Would be nice to get inputs from those who were in the flight, both from the Jolly Green side and from the Sandys.

Input from Jim 'Jink' Bender (Sandy 04):

I didn't hear Tom Stump's tape but I do have my own copy. I checked my log book and the date is correct.

I was one of the Sandy wingmen, Sandy 04. It was a bad day all around. The SAR was for SeaBird 02 and the shootdown location was in North Vietnam. While Sandy 01 was ascertaining the exact location and condition of survivors he had a SAM fired at him. SA2 as I recall. I think Capt. John Dyer was Sandy 05. Sandy's 5 & 6 were escorting a formation of 4 Jolly's (70, 71, 72 ,& 77). They had arrived from the West Northwest at about 10,000 ft. Jolly 19 (I think) was the primary low helicopter and he decided to refuel early. A C-130, King 03, and the Jolly 19 headed a ways west at about 7,000 ft to conduct the refueling and I went along to provide cover. We were all holding west along the border in Laos, waiting to see how things were going to transpire.

We were receiving several Mig calls but none of us were familiar with the reference point, CRAB, used by the radar guys. After listening to the tape someone reports that the Mig position is some 15 Miles north of us. Anyway, shortly thereafter, people started yelling "Migs!" and Jolly 71 disappeared in smoke. King 03 dropped his tanks and headed west into the weeds and the now disconnected refueling Jolly 19 did the same. Apparently two Migs made one pass through the holding helicopterformation and escaped to the North. Jolly 72 was in loose trail with Jolly 71 when the missile and Mig passed them on the right and hit Jolly 71.

Well, it was chaos after that!! Everyone in the SAR force was headed west at this time to RTB. My notes say that Sandy 01 was unable to contact any SeaBird 02 survivor. My tape is from the cockpit of Jolly 72 whose Aircraft Commander was reported to be LTC Shipman. My notes also show the AC of King 03 was Lt. Casey Quinn, USCG. I can't remember who was piloting Sandy 01, 02, 03, or 06.

Jolly Green 71

70/01/28 HH-53B 66-14434 40th ARRS Udorn

Capt Holly G. Bell Pilot KIA/BNR
Capt Leonard C. Leeser Copilot KIA/BNR
SMSgt William D. Pruett PJ KIA/BNR
TSgt William C. Sutton PJ KIA/BNR
Sgt William C. Shinn Flt Eng KIA/BNR
Sgt Gregory L. Anderson Photographer KIA/BNR

The Jolly Green website also has a list of all HH-3 and HH-53 losses in Southeast Asia. From this list, you can get the names of the crew on Jolly Green 71 by looking at the HH-53 loss on 28 Jan 1970.

You can then go to and enter Jan 28. After some notable events in world history are listed, you will find a section listing MIAs for that day. The crew of JG 71 is listed, along with the F-105 crew that was the object of the SAR, Seabird 02. The F-105 crew, although having ejected safely, never made it into the POW system.

The events described here took place in North Vietnam north of Mu Gia pass. Seabird 02 was down in the foothills along the route structure leading north out of Mu Gia. Jolly Green 71 was northwest of this area in the high terrain along the border of Laos and North Vietnam.

An interesting note is that the two sets of coordinates given for the crash site of JG 71 do not agree. The Lat-Longs given are N 180200 E 1053300 which puts the crash site inside Laos. The UTM coordinates of WF 582048 move the crash site north, into North Vietnam.

 (Audio file is in mp3 format)

Play Jolly Green 71 Shootdown Tape