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Info Sheet - Joe Don Ramey
Killed in Action 21 May 1970- Incident report
see story by Jack Nemeyer "Drop Camera Crew & Save LOH Crewmen"
see Newpaper Article 25 May 1970

comments: Gary Drennan, Allen Allcock, Jack Nemeyer, Wayne Hooper, Luke Hooper, Steve Wills

On May 21, 1970, SP5 Joe D. Ramey was the crew chief on a U.S. Army helicopter OH-6A (Tail number 68-17321) from D Troop, 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry, 25th Infantry Division on an armed reconnaissance mission in Cambodia.

While in level flight at about 75 feet and 50 knots of airspeed, the helicopter came under enemy attack. The aircraft was hit on the right side with at least two rounds of small arms (AK-47) fire, causing engine damage which resulted in the crash of the helicopter.

SP5 Ramey suffered fatal wounds in the attack. Another crewman was also wounded and a third injured in the crash. Both were rescued and medically evacuated. The aircraft was later recovered by a downed-helicopter retrieval unit. (Taken from


Gary Drennan: The Ramey story; I have relived this a million times but never had anyone ask what happen that would understand how events like this unfold.

We had been flying low level observations in Cambodia for quite some time, different crews and different aircraft. We were finishing a mission and Rocky had radioed we were going in to refuel when Ramey said he had just seen something shiney and needed to check it out. Rocky mad a sweeping turn to go back over the target when the cabin was filled with incoming rounds, from it seemed every direction.

I dropped smoke and starting firing at what, never did seen anything that looked like a target. Cobra asked if smoke was a good mark, we replied affirmative, our engine sputtered and we crashed to the ground.

To my surprise I was still alive and realized we were in a place we didn t want to be. Rocky was talking, we check Ramey he was non responsive, we tried to find cover and pulled rifles out of aircraft in attempt to defend ourselves. We were there for how long?? heard movement behind us, I rolled over and it was Black medic, good thing.

Could hear the rotor of a huey hitting brush, the medic herded us in that direction and appearing out of the bush a huey came into view . The medic herded us into it and away we went.

Met David Atkinson at reunion and he said he was suppose to be on that mission ; I told him that was just how things worked out. He did get me a picture of the LOH when they dug it out of the jungle and brought it back to base. I stayed in touch with him and his wife up until his death.


Jack Nemeyer: Mark Kempson , was a Black WO , Last I talked to Mark he was in Union City , Ga.
He managed to lower the slick thru the Bamboo thicket and then got out and helped me with Reed and Gary Drennen ( gunner-observer) Drennen was ex -LRP ... back injury . Rocky Reed was Loach Pilot., his photo is in Dave Atkinsons pictures.


Allen KC Allcock: I think he had been in an infantry unit before, but extended his time in Vietnam to come to D troop, be a gunner on a LOH. He may have taken an early out.

Joe at first worked with helicopter maintence, then started serving as a gunner.

Joe always had a sure way of getting out a good laugh. He could also make sounds with his vocal chords without it moving anything in his facial expression. (you can only imagine what it was like to be in a Formation with him).

We became good friends and he loved it when we would fly on Slicks, and then he later worked as a crewmember/ observer in our LOH Scouts.

He was KIA after I left country

In my pictures, he is on Pic AA-41. Left to right is Joe Ramey, "KC" Allcock, and Paul Todd.


Wayne Hooper: A side story about Joe in the rescue part of the Cambodia Crash and Rescue (10 May 1970) I refer to him as Ace Crew Chief Joe Don Ramey. Earlier in his tour he was credited with a one shot kill. His M60 jammed after one shot but incredibly the enemy soldier fell dead. That should qualify any door gunner as an Ace in my book.


Luke Hooper (Wayne Hooper's son) (Jan 13, 2009) This man touched the lives of an entire generation of my family. Of course, he did not know it at the time.

On May 10, 1970, 11 days prior to his death, he pulled my father, Wayne Hooper out of a wrecked helicopter and saved his life. My father is paralyzed from the waist down a a result. However, today he is 59 years old and healthier than most of my friends in their mid-20's.

He has lived a full life, is well traveled, a father of 3 of which I am the youngest, and quite an accomplished songwriter. I plan on visiting the wall soon to pay my respects to the man who gave our family life. We are forever grateful for this man, and all of the others who have served our country. Thank you, sir. I simply cannot describe my grattitude.

Steve Wills: (January 09, 1999) Joe was flying in the rear seat of an OH-6A Loach helicopter called Lil Casper when he was lost. He is a hero to all. I was a Loach crewchief with DIVARTY and was flying nearby the day Joe was lost. I also flew as a doorgunner with the Little Bears on off days. God Bless you Joe.

Jack Nemeyer: Joe Ramey’s grave site .Located in Aroro (sp?) Grande , California .
We arrived there while driving to a DTroop Reunion a couple years ago.

One of the Cemetery workers asked if he could help us. I told him we were looking for a Nam Buddy who was Killed. His name was Ramey. The man replied "Joe Don Ramey"? I said yes! He replied that Joe and him went to High School together and they played Base Ball together and smoked cigarettes ..He knew all of Joes family ...JN   


Incident Report

Helicopter OH-6A 68-17321

Information on U.S. Army helicopter OH-6A tail number 68-17321
The Army purchased this helicopter 1069
Total flight hours at this point: 00000589
Date: 05/21/1970
Incident number: 70052122.KIA
Unit: D/3/4 CAV
This was a Combat incident. This helicopter was LOSS TO INVENTORY
This was a Recon mission for Armed Recon
While Enroute this helicopter was at Level Flight at 0075 feet and 050 knots.
South Vietnam
UTM grid coordinates: XT398936
Helicopter took 2 hits from:
Small Arms/Automatic Weapons; Gun launched non-explosive ballistic projectiles less than 20 mm in size. (7.62MM)
The helicopter was hit in the Right Side
Systems damaged were: ENGINE, PERSONNEL
Casualties = 01 WIA 01 INJ 01 KIA . .
The helicopter Crashed. Aircraft is later recovered by any means other than its own power.
Both mission and flight capability were terminated.
Additional crash damage
Original source(s) and document(s) from which the incident was created or updated: Defense Intelligence Agency Helicopter Loss database. Survivability/Vulnerability Information Analysis Center Helicopter database. Also: OPERA, FM385 (Operations Report. )
Loss to Inventory

Crew Members:

This record was last updated on 02/09/2002..................................



Newspaper Article 25 May 1970