|Birth: ||Jul. 21, 1945|
|Death: ||Aug. 9, 1969, Laos|
In Memory of .......... 1LT. Ronald James Janousek.
*** First Lieutenant Janousek was a member of the Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Attack Group 36, 1st Marine Air Wing. On August 9, 1969, he was flying in a Bell Iroquois Utility Helicopter (UH-1E) over the border of Laos and South Vietnam, when his aircraft was shot down. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.
You may be gone, no longer living on this earth; but you will live on - in the memories of your family and friends. There will always be a part of you living in those who knew you. You will live on because we remember you! ***
RONALD JAMES JANOUSEK - Marine Corps - 1LT - O2
HML-367, MAG-16, 1ST MAW
Date of Birth Jul 21, 1945
From: POSEN, IL
Religion: ROMAN CATHOLIC
Marital Status: Married - Barbara J. Janousek of Sellersburg, Ind. Parents: Father, Rudolph F. Janousek, Born Jan. 7, 1921 in Chicago, Ill. and Died Dec. 15, 1996 in Cook Co.,Ill at the age of 75 yrs and Mother, Virginia C. Janousek, Born March 26, 1921 and Died Nov. 1990 at the age of 69 yrs ( living in Hazel Crest,Ill), both from Ill.
* Paternal Grandparents: Grandfather, Rudolph Janousek,Sr. and Grandmother, Mary Jindra Janousek.
***** I was at a Memorial Day ceremony. I saw two of the restored helicopters from Lieut Janousek's squadron. One of them has a plaque attached and I have added it to his page.
Length of service 3 years
His tour began on Aug 9, 1969
Casualty was on Aug 9, 1969
In QUANG TRI, LAOS
HOSTILE, HELICOPTER - CREW
AIR LOSS, CRASH ON LAND
Body was not recovered
Panel 20W - Line 118
Other Personnel In Incident: Bruce E. Kane (missing)
On 9 August 1969, Major Thomas B. Hill, pilot; 1Lt. Ronald J. Janousek, co-pilot; Cpl. J. J. Dean, crewchief; and Cpl. Bruce E. Kane, door gunner; comprised the crew of the lead UH1E (serial #155339) in of a flight of two Huey helicopters and four Cobra gunships conducting an emergency extraction mission for a platoon-sized MACV-SOG, Command and Control - North (CCN) Prairie Fire team.
Four men of Marine Light Helicopter Squadron 367 went down when their UH-1E (BuNo 155339) was hit by enemy fire in the vicinity of the SVN/Laotian border northwest of the Rockpile:
MAJ Thomas B Hill, pilot
1ST LT Ronald James Janousek, copilot
CPL Bruce Edward Kane, gunner
LCPL John O Dean, crew chief
Capt. Brokovich nosed over and pulled in more power as he quickly accelerated away from the ridgeline in a hail of automatic weapons fire. On the way out, he heard the team's radio operator state that he had just flown over them thereby pinpointing the team's position in addition to that of the enemy.
At the same time the Cobra pulled away from the ridgeline, Capt. Brokovich briefed Major Hill on the ground team's position and the NVA's automatic weapon's position on the ridgeline.
Tom Hill acknowledged Mike Brokovich's transmission, then to the astonishment of the Cobra's pilot, flew over the same ridge where the communist's automatic weapons were located.
Eagle Claw lead immediately drew heavy ground fire. Because the gunships' were too close to the position of the Prairie Fire team, they were unable to lay down suppressive fire to protect the Huey without fear of hitting the American ground team.
After being struck by the ground fire, Major Hill transmitted, "Mayday! Mayday! I'm hit and losing power!"
All four Cobras fell in behind and two on each side of the crippled Huey. Eagle Claw lead sustained battle damage to several parts of the aircraft including the fuel cell. A cloud of fuel vapor began billowing out the left side of the helicopter.
The Huey headed toward a clearing near a bend in the river. Immediately the Covey FAC radioed Capt. Hill not to land in the clearing he was headed for because there was an enemy controlled village located there. The FAC pilot directed him toward another clearing on the near riverbank that was safer.
As Tom Hill initiated a right-hand turn away from the village, the fuel vapor burst into flames. Working together to control their aircraft, Tom Hill and Ronald Janousek slipped the helicopter to keep the flames away from the crew compartment and lined up with the river intending to put it down in the water to extinguish the fire.
The helicopter was engulfed in flames when Capt. Hill heard 1st Lt. Janousek state over the aircraft's intercom system, "I'm on fire!"
As the Huey continued to auto-rotate toward the edge of the Se Kong (Xepon) River, other flight members reported that "at about 75 feet (above the ground) the tail boom fell off. The helicopter inverted and crashed into the river upside down."
Others added, "Pieces of rotor blades and helicopter went everywhere along with large amounts of water and debris that splashed up when the helicopter hit." In addition to observing the fiery loss; Bill Gurski, one of the Cobra crewmen, caught it on film with a Kodak camera.
Tom Hill and J. J. Dean escaped the almost fully submerged aircraft and were swept down stream in the swift current roughly 100 meters and to the opposite side of the river. They were located and rescued by the daring lead Kingbee pilot, Dai Uy (Captain) Ahn while the four Cobras laid down a wall of suppressive fire around the CH-34.
According to a witness statement provided to Cpl. Kane's family, he was seen alive, well, and out of the Huey. The door gunner had jumped free of the aircraft landing in the stream near the bank. Because Bruce Kane had been a lifeguard prior to joining the Marine Corps, he was known to be an extremely strong swimmer with water life-saving skills.
The report stated that he exited the water, then re-entered it to help free Ronald Janousek, However, as Hill came to surface the first time, he saw CPL Kane re-enter the water to assist the remaining crew members, but did not know what happened to either man after that.
After the reconnaissance team had been extracted, and again the next morning, Capt. Frank Cuddy led a search and rescue (SAR) flight of gunships to the crash site to continue the search for Cpl. Kane and 1st Lt. Janousek.
All attempts to search the crash site and surrounding area were driven away by intense enemy small arms and automatic weapons fire. While the aircrews were unable to search the area themselves, they saw a large number of communist troops along the riverbanks, in the clearings and trees. They also saw 10 to 20 small boats in the river near the wreckage and enemy forces obviously searching it. Because the region was under total enemy control, no ground search by US personnel was possible.
At the time the search was terminated, Ronald Janousek and Bruce Kane were both immediately listed Missing in Action. However, 33 days after the date of loss, the squadron commander reviewed all known lost information and changed both men's status from Missing in Action to Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered and probably not recoverable.
Note: Looking for location of his Memorial Headstone.
Plot: Courts of the Missing
GPS (lat/lon): 21.31323, -157.84734
Created by: Eddieb
Record added: Nov 02, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 61023279