Covington, William Lee, LT

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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
510X-Civil Engineer Corps
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1965-1969, 510X, 30th Naval Construction Regiment
Service Years
1965 - 1969

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Tommy Burgdorf (Birddog), FC2 to remember Covington, William Lee, LT.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Rome, GA
Last Address
Rome, GA

Casualty Date
Jan 07, 1969
Hostile, Died
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Quang Tri (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Myrtle Hill Cemetery - Rome, Georgia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
13E 120

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Vietnam Veterans MemorialUnited States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family Registry
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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
30th Naval Construction Regiment
  1965-1969, 510X, 30th Naval Construction Regiment
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1968 Vietnam War
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United States Naval Academy
  1961-1965, United States Naval Academy1
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 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Four men of HMM-165 are known beyond doubt to have died in the crash of their CH-46B helicopter (BuNo 152552):
  • 1stLt Glenn Jesse Ford III, pilot
  • 1stLt Vincent Lawrence Jacobs, copilot
  • Sgt Paul Dennis Fleming, aircrew
  • Sgt Glenn Edward Hobart III, aircrew
The aircraft was on a routine resupply mission in poor weather when it suffered a radio failure. The crew's efforts to recover safely under NORDO conditions failed and the aircraft impacted in mountainous terrain:
"We received notice at the squadron ODO desk that Glenn (Ford) and Vince (Jacobs) had lost radio contact heading SE of Chu Lai over the South China Sea and disappeared from radar heading in a SE direction. The SAR missions flew for a couple of days with no result. The aircraft was found over a year later. The crash site was intact, aircraft and bodies. Glenn and Vince had evidently lowered down when they realized they were heading out to sea with no radios. They made their way back to land, but crashed into the mountains West of Chu Lai. The aircraft and crew were Lady Ace, HMM-165."
Terry M. Curtis
Operations Duty Officer, HMM-165
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.
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