A Man is Not Dead Until He Is Forgotten




MIA Jan. 05, 1971

Photo Courtesey of Craig Wilbanks

101st Airborne

Name: Donald Martin Cramer

Rank/Branch: W2/US Army

Unit: C Troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry, 101st Airborne Division

Date of Birth:12 January 1946 (Columbus OH)

Home City of Record: St. Louis MO

Date of Loss: 05 January 1971

Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water

Loss Coordinates: 161657N 1073102E (ZD060160)

Status (in 1973): Missing in Action

Category: 3

Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: AH1G

Refno: 1689

Other Personnel in Incident: SP4 Ronnie Vago Rogers (killed, body recovered)


Source: Compiled from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK in 1998.


At 0210 hours on January 5, 1971, CW2 Donald M. Cramer, pilot of an AH1G (tail #67-16083), departed the Hue/Phu Bai Airfield on a training flight mission with SP4 Ronnie V. Rogers aboard. No contact was established after takeoff. When the aircraft failed to return within a reasonable time, efforts were made to establish radio contact. After checking all airfields and contact bases in the area, an aerial search was initiated at 1640 hours, and lasted until dark.

On January 8, SP4 Roger's body was found on the beach. The search shifted primarily into the coastline areas until about January 20, with no sightings of the aircraft or of CW2 Cramer.

Because it was determined that Rogers had drowned, it was assumed that the aircraft departed its destination (a fire base), and crashed into the South China Sea. CW2 Cramer was never found. He was listed Missing in Action.

Whether Cramer drowned as Rogers did on January 5, 1971, may never be learned. The U.S. Army, believing there was a chance he survived, did not declare him officially dead for over four years, and then only in general administrative "presumptive findings of death" which were sought for all missing personnel.

As the years pass, and more and more reports are received indicating that many Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia, one must wonder if CW2 Cramer is one of those said to be alive. If he is, what must he be thinking of us?

Over water Donald M. Cramer (1689)

On January 5, 1971, Chief Warrant Officer Cramer and Specialist Fourth Class Ronnie V. Rogers departed from the Hue/Phu Bai Air Field to conduct a test of CWO Cramer's AH-1G Cobra helicopter aircraft armament system. He had been cleared to test his weapons in a free fire zone south southeast of Fire Support Base Normandy. He was last reported in a coastal area of Thua Thien Province approximately 20 kilometers east of the air field. Flying weather at the time was judged to be poor and there was no radio communications with him after takeoff. He did not return from the weapon's system test and both crewmen were declared missing.

On January 8, 1971, the body of Specialist Rogers was located on the beach in the general area where the AH-1G was last known to be operating. An autopsy determined the cause of his death was due to drowning.

Returning U.S. POWs had no information about the fate of CW2 Cramer. In June 1973 he was declared dead/body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death.

17th Cavalry Coat of Arms

!7th Cavalry Insignia

Rank Insignia

100% Pure Gold  

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This is from U.S. POW/MIA's Who May Have Survived In Captivity

Cramer, Donald R. USA name passed on a note in Cu-Loc/Zoo prison according to POW returnee Charles. Name in the POW memory bank according to POW returnees Jeffrey and Charles.

Why Helicopter Pilots are Different 

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