1/7/69 Fallen Brother RVN IP: 188.8.131.52 Posted on January 7, 2020 at 12:51:23 PM by dh
1/7/69 Lt William L. Covington, CEC, Rome, GA - 5100 Danang 30th NCR
William Lee Covington
Home of Record: Rome, GA
Date of birth: 06/05/1943
Service: United States Navy
Grade at loss: O3
ID No: 252660552
MOS: 5100: Staff Corps - Civil Engineering
Length Service: **
Unit: 3RD NC BDE, USNAVFORV
Incident Date: 01/07/1969
Casualty Date: 08/16/1977
Age at Loss: 34 (based on date declared dead)
Location: , South Vietnam
Remains: 1977 status: Body Not Recovered. Found later.
Repatriated: 09/22/1969 (Returned to US soil)
Casualty Type: Non-hostile, died while missing
Casualty Reason: Helicopter - Noncrew
Casualty Detail: Air loss or crash over land
ON THE WALL Panel 13E Line 120
William is buried at:
Myrtle Hill Cemetery
90 Myrtle Street
Rome, Floyd County, GA. 30162
Section FT, Lot 044, Grave 1
Hostile, died while missing, HELICOPTER - NONCREW
AIR LOSS, CRASH ON LAND
Four men of HMM-165 are known beyond doubt to have died in the crash of their CH-46B helicopter (BuNo 152552):
Glenn J Ford
Vincent L Jacobs
Paul D Fleming
Glenn E Hobart
The crash site was located and the bodies of its crew recovered on 22 Sep 1969, 8 months after the accident occurred. While burial information for three crewmembers is not known, 1stLt Vincent Jacobs was buried in Arlington National Cemetery on 10 October 1969.
There is very strong circumstantial evidence that another man died in the crash: Navy Lieutenant William Lee Covington. LT Covington is known to have died in a helicopter incident on 07 Jan 1969. His casualty record (which is coded as a hostile-action loss in Quang Tin Province) indicates that he was carried as Missing in Action until 16 Aug 1977. It also shows that his remains were recovered and at some point identified. It is not clear if the determination of death on 16 Aug 1977 was due to identification of his remains or if it was a Presumptive Finding of Death with his remains identified at some later date.
LT Covington was a civil engineering officer with the 30th Naval Construction Regiment at Danang. Available records confirm that he was traveling from Danang to Chu Lai. CH-46B BuNo 152552 was enroute from Marble Mountain (Danang) to Chu Lai when it went down. Research by the Vietnam Helicopter Pilots' Association, the USMC Combat Helicopter Association, and others have ruled out all other known helo incidents on 07 Jan 1969.
It is postulated that
LT Covington was an unmanifested passenger aboard 152552, a common practice;
His original casualty record was submitted by the 30th NC Regiment at a time when the cause and location of the loss could only be guessed at;
His remains were recovered with the known crewmen on 22 Sep 1969 but could not be identified;
His remains were identified on or after 16 Aug 1977; and that
His casualty record was never updated to reflect actual cause and location of his death.
While the association between CH-46B BuNo 152552 and LT Covington is based on circumstantial evidence, it appears irrefutable.
William Lee Covington
Report on the crash can be found here: http://www.popasmoke.com/kia/incidents.php?incident_id=188