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1LT Forameanimflag.gif (12791 bytes)

Peter Charles


OH-6A 67-16347

Date MIA  19 Dec 1971

Please read the Story Below

W01 Skiles animflag.gif (12791 bytes)

Thomas William


OH-6A 67-16347

Date MIA  19 Dec 1971 

Please read the Story Below

Still Serving in Southeast Asia

by Brigadier General Terry L Tucker  56th
Colonel of Blackhorse

I recently returned from the 11 ACVVC and Blackhorse Reunion in San Diego California-- What a great weekend many other 11 ACR veterans and I had. Thanks for inviting me to participate.

For the past 2 years, I have been privileged to command Joint Task Force "Full Accounting".   In that assignment I led 160 outstanding men and women from all services on a mission to achieve the fullest possible accounting of Americans still unaccounted-for as a result of the war in Southeast Asia.     We conducted over 1,000 investigations and 125 recovery operations and brought home 67 Americans to their families in that 2 years. Let me tell you about one case that I shared with my brother Blackhorse troopers at the July reunion.      

     In January 1998, we investigated the site of a 19 December 1971 OH-6 helicopter crash in central Cambodia.   In March 1999, we excavated that crashed site.   The recovery team did not find remains of the crew. However, they did find several items of personal effects.   Found were a military identification card and part of another card with an unidentified
sticker on it.  The recovery team could clearly identify the photograph and name on the Identification Card, but could not identify the sticker on the second card.  Upon my arrival, several possible explanations were offered as to what the sticker might be. After listening to their speculation, I opened my wallet, removed my Blackhorse Association Membership Card, and showed them the exact symbol they were trying to figure out.  It was a Blackhorse patch.

   The crew of that OH-6 was 1LT Peter Forame and W01 Thomas Skiles, Air Cavalry Troop, 11 ACR, two of the last Blackhorse troopers to die in Southeast Asia.  They were piloting an OH-6A scout helicopter on a Bomb Damage Assessment mission Southeast of Dambe, Cambodia.  Their were hit by .51 caliber and .30 caliber machine gun fire and crashed into a tree line. The helicopter exploded upon impact and was completely destroyed by fire in a short time.  Two other helicopters attempted a recover Lt. Forame and WO1 Skiles, but were driven off by heavy automatic weapon fire and rocket propelled grenades, with one helicopter suffering extensive damage.   After helicopter gunships arrived to suppress the enemy fire, it was verified that the helicopter was destroyed and that there were no survivors.   Further attempts to recover the pilots were unsuccessful despite numerous airstrikes on known and suspected enemy positions.

   Many of you knew troopers Forame and Skiles.   Some of you fought with them in Vietnam and Cambodia, and a few of you were there on 19 December 1971, in Dambe, Cambodia.  I had the honor of none of these.    However, 1LT Forame and WO1 Skiles stay with me; I think of them frequently.    Although we may never recover their remains, we can never forget their sacrifice. Annual Reunions should continue to remind us that 768 Blackhorse troopers did not come home.  And, we should remember that until 1LT Peter Forame and WO1 Thomas Skiles (Air Troop, 11 ACR) come home, the Blackhorse continues to  serve in Southeast Asia.