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First Name: Ralph

Last Name: Havnaer

Birthplace: Charlotte, NC, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Army (1784 - present)

Home of Record: Charlotte, NC
Middle Name: Milton

Date of Birth: 15 June 1944

Date of Death: 25 June 1968

Rank: Warrant Officer 1

Years Served: 1967 - 1968
Ralph Milton Havnaer

•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Ralph Milton Havnaer
Warrant Officer 1, U.S. Army

Ralph Milton Havnaer was born on 15 June 1944 in Charlotte, NC, the son of Ralph Dale and Mae Walker Havnaer.

On 25 June 1968, Warrant Officer 1 Ralph Milton Havnaer was serving with the 240th Assault Helicopter Company, 214th Aviation Battalion, 12th Aviation Group, 1st Aviation Brigade, in Bien Hoa Province, South Vietnam.

On that day, WO1 Havnaer was declared Missing when the UH-1H helicopter he was piloting crashed due to a mid-air collision in a non-hostile action. His status was later changed to Died While Missing. His body was recovered. *

* Additional Details of Crash

On 25 June 1968 the 240th Assault Helicopter Company was tasked with conducting a troop lift for a Royal Thai Army unit moving into an area about 11 kilometers southeast of Bien Hoa. Eleven UH-1H 'Huey' helicopters were involved - a Command and Control (C&C) aircraft and ten lift ships. Since the weather was marginal the C&C ship departed first to recon the assault area and found that the weather in the operating area was acceptable. He directed the ten lift ships to depart BEARCAT base for the assault point. The subsequent accident investigation says:

"During take off, climb out and enroute to the area of operation the flight encountered fog, clouds and haze that restricted visibility. The flight of ten lift helicopters proceeded northwest from Bearcat at an altitude of 1000 feet in a staggered right formation until over the area of operation. The flight leader (Blue 1) had visual contact with the command and control aircraft and gunships, but stated that the command and control aircraft did not have the flight in sight. After proceeding northwest of the area of operations, the flight leader informed the command and control aircraft of his location and that he was encountering clouds at 1000 feet. He did not have visual contact with the ground or the command and control aircraft at that time. He informed the command and control aircraft he was going to establish a left hand orbit, as he was passing the area of operations. The command and control ship acknowledged the left orbit and suggested the flight go to 900 feet as the weather was better at that altitude. The flight leader established a standard turn to the left and descended to 900 feet, after turning from northwest through south and east to a heading of 060 degrees he entered a cloud. Immediately upon emerging from the cloud the flight leader saw an unidentified helicopter approaching at his immediate right front at the same flight level."

The approaching aircraft was the C&C ship. BLUE 1 and the C&C ship both took immediate evasive action and missed each other - but BLUE 2's rotors hit the C&C ship's fuselage, which promptly exploded. BLUE 4, immediately behind BLUE 2, sustained severe damage as it flew through the debris, while the remaining eight Hueys avoided damage.

Twenty-nine men - 12 aircrew of the 240th Assault Helicopter Company and 17 Thai soldiers - were aboard the three Hueys (tail numbers 66-16601, 66-16592 and 66-16206); all died in the accident:

● CPT Franklin J. Hiner, Ogden, UT [Honoree Record ID 253576]
● CWO Thomas J. Smith, North Kingstown, RI [Honoree Record ID 278416]
● WO Harvey C. Addison, Ojai, CA [Honoree Record ID 231139]
● WO David R. Hoffman, Springfield, IL [Honoree Record ID 253826]
● WO Arvi Rohtvali, Gardiner, NY [Honoree Record ID 274100]
● SP5 Joseph G. Catoir, Baton Rouge, LA [Honoree Record ID 239083]
● SP5 George D. Dell, Cedar Rapids, IA [Honoree Record ID 243271]
● SP5 Henry L. Page III, Alexandria, VA [Honoree Record ID 269030]
● SP4 Robert Powell, Chicago, IL [Honoree Record ID 271288]
● SP4 Charles C. Sales, Owensboro, KY [Honoree Record ID 275038]
● SP4 Wayne M. Smith, Lake Pleasant, NY [Honoree Record ID 278442]
● Seventeen Thai soldiers whose names and ranks are unknown

Medals, Awards and Badges

Air Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Vietnam Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Army Aviator Badge


The name Ralph M Havnaer is located on Panel W55 Line 35 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall.


Warrant Officer 1 Ralph Milton Havnaer is buried at Sharon Memorial Park in Charlotte, NC, in Section 11C, Lot 107, #1.

Honoree ID: 252286   Created by: MHOH




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