Accident Grumman A-6A Intruder 154160, Monday 17 March 1969
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Date:Monday 17 March 1969
Type:Silhouette image of generic A6 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different    
Grumman A-6A Intruder
Owner/operator:VMA(AW)-533 USMC
Registration: 154160
MSN: I-295
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Destroyed
Location:near Muang Nong, Savannakhet Province, Laos -   Laos
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:Chu Lai AB, near Tam Kỳ city, Quảng Nam Province, South Vi
Destination airport:Chu Lai AB, near Tam Kỳ city, Quảng Nam Province, South Vi
Confidence Rating: Information is only available from news, social media or unofficial sources
A-6A Intruder BuNo. 154160 of VMA(AW)‑533, MAG‑12, US Marine Corps, based at Chu Lai Air Base. Lost on combat operations March 17, 1969: low‑level night mission near Muang Nong in southern Laos. Aircraft was on a Night Armed Recon flight and was diverted to "Blind Bat" control. Forward Air Controller observed the aircraft to crash and explode 21:30 hours. Suspected hit by AAA ground fire. Wreckage confirmed. No beeper heard. Aircraft came down at approximate Coordinates: 16'19.00"N 106'33.00"E

The Fate of the crew - 1st Lt Steven Ray Armistead (pilot) and Captain Charles Elbert Finney (bombardier/navigator) - was unknown for many years. Aerial search and rescue (SAR) operations were immediately initiated and continued for several days, but were terminated when no trace of the aircraft or its crew were found in the dense jungle. Because of the intense enemy presence, no ground search was possible. At the time the formal search was terminated, both Steven Armitstead and Charles Finney were listed Missing In Action. Charles Finney's status was officially changed changed from MIA to "Killed in Action, Body not Recovered" with effect from April 28 1978

In 1995 and 1999, joint US/Lao teams from Joint Task Force for Full Accounting (JTFFA) interviewed local villagers in the area of the crash, then conducted a crash site excavation. A local worker turned over a military dogtag bearing Steven Armistead's name and data, but provided no information about the fate of the Intruder's pilot.

During the excavation, the team recovered numerous pieces of aircraft wreckage, personal effects and possible human remains. All remains were eventually sent to the Central Identification Laboratory - Hawaii for anthropological analysis. According to USG personnel, the personal effects and other evidence recovered from the crash site aided in the final identification of Charles Finney. Final identification was announced on 14 March 2000.

On 17 March 2000, 31 years after his death, Major Charles E. Finney, United States Marine Corps, was laid to rest in the Arlington National Cemetery

To date no remains have been identified for Steven Armitstead.


1. A-6 Intruder Units of the Vietnam War By Rick Morgan

Revision history:

20-Aug-2013 08:33 Uli Elch Added
20-Aug-2013 08:47 Uli Elch Updated [Date, Registration, Cn, Operator, Location, Country, Narrative]
20-Mar-2016 16:30 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Other fatalities, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
20-Mar-2016 16:33 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
27-Dec-2019 15:17 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Operator]

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