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Date: 26 November 1968
Aircraft type: O-2A Skymaster
Serial Number: 67-21419
Military Unit: 20 TASS, 504 TASG
Service: USAF
Home Base: Da Nang
Capt Gregg Hartness (KIA)
1Lt Allen S Shepherd (Survived)

In the very early hours of the 26th an O-2 (call sign Covey 227) took off from Da Nang for a visual reconnaissance of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos, southwest of the DMZ. Just over one hour into the flight the aircraft was hit in the tail by 37mm anti-aircraft fire as it was flying near the village of Ban Katao at 8,000 feet. As the aircraft started to spin down inverted out of control, Capt Hartness ordered 1Lt Shepherd to bail out, which he did successfully. 1Lt Shepherd was rescued by a HH-3E from the 37th ARRS a few hours later but there was no sign of Capt Hartness and it was thought that he may not have escaped from the aircraft before it crashed. After a lengthy investigation between 1993 and 2003 during which over 60 witnesses were interviewed a crash site was excavated in 2005 by a joint US/Laotian team and human remains along with personal effects and wreckage were recovered. After positive identification the remains of Capt Hartness were buried in Arlington National Cemetery in September 2005.

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