Thursday, March 26, 2009

Oley Neal Adams, SSgt USAF

I wear the Memorial Bracelet of USAF SSgt Oley Adams who perished in an explosion of unknown cause of a C-130 aircraft witnessed over water off the coast of Vietnam. His remains were never found. Sergeant Adams is from my home state, Missouri.

I am creating a Memorial of the Fallen for him on the official AIR FORCE: TOGETHER WE SERVED member's website at this link:

I would be grateful to anyone who wishes to provide any kind of information such as a photograph of him, and any or all other personal details of his life. They may contact me at

This is part of his story:

ADAMS, OLEY NEAL  1937-1966

Name: Oley Neal Adams 
Rank/Branch: E5/US Air Force 
Unit: 12th Armament Electronic Maintenance Squadron 
Date of Birth: 27 June 1937 
Home City of Record: Green City MO 
Date of Loss: 17 June 1966 
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water 
Loss Coordinates: 125336N 1093123E (CQ398257) 
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered 
Category: 5 
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: C130E 
Refno: 0363 

"Other Personnel in Incident: Ralph B. Cobbs; Jack I. Dempsey; Stanley J. 
Freng; Edward L. Romig; M.J. Savoy; Donald E. Siegwarth; Curtis D. Collette; 
Gene K. Hess; Connie M. Gravitte; Robert A. Cairns; Larry E. Washburn (all 

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 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. 


SYNOPSIS: On June 17, 1966, a C130E "Hercules" aircraft departed Cam Ranh 
Bay, South Vietnam en route to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa on an operational 
airlift support mission. Aboard the flight were the crew, consisting of 
LtCdr. Ralph Cobbs; ADJ2 Curtis D. Collette; YN2 Jack I. Dempsey; ADR2 
Stanley Freng; Ltjg. Edward Romig; AN M.J. Savoy; and Ltjg. Donald 
Siegwarth. All were assigned to the 7th Air Transport Squadron. Also aboard
the aircraft were U.S. Air Force personnel SSgt. Robert Cairns; SSgt. Gene 
Hess; Capt. Connie Gravitte; SSgt. Oley N. Adams; and A1 Larry Washburn, and 
one other individual. 

About 30 minutes into the flight, as the aircraft was 43 miles northeast of 
Nha Trang, the crew of a naval gunboat cruising off the South Vietnam coast
observed the C130 explode and crash into the South China Sea. No hostile 
fire was observed, and the exact cause of the crash could not be determined. 
The vessel arrived at the crash scene only minutes after the impact and 
began an immediate search. The accident occurred so swiftly that it was 
assumed all aboard perished instantly. Some debris and wreckage have been 
recovered including parts of the aircraft and personal belongings. Only one 
body was recovered from the crash site. The others are listed as "Dead/Body 
Not Recovered." 

Cobbs and Siegworth were pilots, and probably the co-pilots of the aircraft, 
although this information is not included in public data relating to the 
loss. Crew positions of the remaining crew members are not available. 

Inexplicably, Cobbs' loss coordinates place him on the coast of South 
Vietnam a few miles northeast of Tuy Hoa, while the others aboard are listed 
as lost northeast of Na Trang. (This is a difference of about 55 miles.) 
Also, the entire crew of the aircraft has been assigned "Knowledge Category
4", while the passengers are in "Knowledge Category 5". Category 5 includes 
those individuals whose remains have been determined to be non-recoverable. 
Category 4 includes individuals whose loss details, such as location and 
time, are unknown and who do not fit into any of the varying degrees of 
knowledge other than category 5. No reason for this discrepancy can be 

The Americans aboard the C130E are listed among the missing because their 
remains were never found to be returned to their homeland. They are among 
nearly 2500 Americans who remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam war. The 
cases of some, like the C130E crew, seem clear - that they perished and will
never be recovered, Unfortunately, many of the missing do not have such 
clear cut cases. Some were known captives; some were photographed in 
captivity. Some were in radio contact with search teams, while others simply

Mike Bell - USAF 1963-66, 3345th M&S Group/ATC
"Warriors are decisive in battles, not in wars."

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