Jun. 30, 1933 Glens Falls Warren County New York, USA
Nov. 24, 1969, Laos
Major Michael Demerti Balamoti was a Navigator on a C-130A assigned to the 41st Tactical Airlift Squadron, 374th Tactical Airlift Wing at Naha Air Base, Okinawa and temporarily deployed (TDY) to Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand.
On the night November 24, 1969, Captain, Earl Carlyle Brown, aircraft commander; 1st, Lieutenant, Peter Richard Matthes, co-pilot; Captain, Richard Owen Ganley, navigator; Major Michael Demitri Balamoti, navigator; Staff Sergeant, Donald Lee Wright, flight engineer; Sergeant, Rexford John DeWispelaere, loadmaster; Staff Sergeant, Larry Irwin Grewell, loadmaster; and Staff Sergeant, Charles Richard Fellenz, loadmaster, comprised the crew of a C-130A, call sign 'Blind Bat', that departed Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, on an operational mission over Laos. While operating at night over the rugged jungle covered mountains near the city of Ban Bac, Laos on a forward air control mission, the C-130A was observed to take several direct rounds of 37mm anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) fire. Other pilots saw the aircraft burst into flames and crash to the ground exploding on impact. Those aircraft on site conducted an immediate electronic and visual search, but none of the aircrews heard any emergency beeper signals. Because of the heavy enemy presence in the area no ground search for the crew was possible.
According to the Air Force due to the circumstances surrounding this incident it could not be determined whether the crew died or survived the crash of the aircraft. All crewmen were immediately listed Missing in Action. In January 1993, a team from the Joint Task Force for Full Accounting visited the C-130A crash site for the first time. During that survey and excavation operation no bone fragments or teeth were found. A full-scale crash site field excavation was conducted from October 21 to November 8, 1993, during which time 649 unidentifiable bone fragments and 5 teeth were recovered. On October 23, 1995, nearly two years later the remains were accepted by the United States Government as "positively identified group remains" of all 8 crewmembers.
A common headstone has been placed at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Day is done....gone the sun...from the hills....from the lake...from the sky....All is well...safely rest....God is nigh...~~~~Go to sleep....peaceful sleep...may the soldier or sailor God keep....on the land or the deep...safe in sleep...~~~~Love, good n...(Read more) -
Diane Miller Added: May. 26, 2014