Today I had a friend pass at an early age, I learned this when I logged onto Facebook this morning. As I will never forget my friend, I decided to write something today, and let the words of others be my voice today. When I was growing up my dad would talk about his friend “Bodden”. This was the only name I knew him by until a few years ago. Msg. Timothy Bodden went missing in Vietnam. He was well liked, and had a daughter. I never knew him myself but thought I would write about this man, and his courage to defend others, when no one else would. He served proudly, and gave his life for that purpose, and left this world to soon. So without further ado, I present to you written in the words of others, the day America lost a soldier and a friend!.
BODDEN, TIMOTHY ROY
Remains Identified 09/08/00
Name: Timothy Roy Bodden
Rank/Branch: E5/US Marine Corps
Unit: HMM 165, Marine Air Group 36
Date of Birth: 06 November 1942
Home City of Record: Downer's Grove IL
Loss Date: 03 June 1967
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 161914N 1064049E (XD795050)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: Frank E. Cius (returned POW 1973); Ronald J.
Dexter; John G. Gardner; Stephen Hanson; Billy Laney; (all missing); Mr. Ky
(Nung Cdr. - wounded and rescued); Charles F. Wilklow (rescued)
REMARKS: LAST SEEN IN CRASHED AIRCRAFT
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 2011.
SYNOPSIS: On June 3, 1967, Capt. Steven P. Hanson, pilot; 1Lt. John G.
Gardner, co-pilot; Sgt. Timothy R. Bodden, crew chief/door gunner; LCpl.
Frank E. Cius, doorgunner; SFC Billy R. Laney, SFC Ronald J. Dexter, SFC
Charles F. Wilklow and an unknown number of ARVN personnel, all passengers,
were aboard a CH46A helicopter (serial #150955) on an extraction mission in
The USMC aircraft picked up a U.S. Army Special Forces team attached to
MACV-SOG, Command and Control, and the ARVN troops they were working with.
Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observation Group (MACV-SOG)
was a joint service high command unconventional warfare task force engaged
in highly classified operations throughout Southeast Asia. The 5th Special
Forces channeled personnel into MACV-SOG (not a Special Forces group)
through Special Operations Augmentation (SOA) which provided their "cover"
while under secret orders to MACV-SOG. These teams performed deep
penetration missions of strategic reconnaissance and interdiction which were
called, depending on the time frame, "Shining Brass" or "Prairie Fire"
The aircraft received extensive automatic small arms fire upon takeoff from
the Landing Zone, took numerous hits and crashed 350 meters from the LZ,
located about 15 miles inside Laos west of the A Shau Valley. The helicopter
did not burn on impact, and continued to receive fire. Three ARVN troops
were able to return to the LZ where the troops remaining at the LZ were
extracted the following day.
The troops waiting at the LZ could not search because of the hostile threat
in the area. Air searches located the survivors of the crash, but they could
not be evacuated. The only America found to be in a position to be safely
evacuated was SFC Wilklow. He gave the following account of what happened to
the crew and passengers aboard the CH46:
SFC Dexter appeared uninjured and left the wreckage with a large number of
ARVN troops. Capt. Hanson was wounded and outside the helicopter, but stated
that he had to return to get his carbine. The Marine Corps believes he died
of the wounds he received when the aircraft was overrun, although Hanson's
wife later identified her husband in a widely distributed Vietnamese
propaganda photograph of a pilot being captured. When last seen, all the
other Americans were still in the wreckage, and enemy troops (the U.S. Army
says they were Viet Cong; the U.S. Marines say they were North Vietnamese
Army - possibly a joint force of both) were tossing grenades toward the
aircraft with no attempt to capture the personnel inside. Wilklow left the
crash site, and noted that gunfire suddenly stopped. He continued to evade
the enemy and was picked up 3 days later.
When Mr. Ky, the Nung Commander was being evacuated by the last helicopter
out, he noted several men (undoubtedly Dexter and the ARVN) in a large bomb
crater firing red star clusters from a flare gun. Frank Cius was taken
prisoner and released from Hanoi in 1973. He was one of the dozen or so
captured by the Vietnamese and taken immediately to Hanoi claimed to be the
"Laos" prisoners. In reality, none of the dozen had been held in Laos.
Ronald Dexter, according to Frank Cius, was captured, and died in captivity
on July 29, 1967. John Gardner, according to the USMC, died on the ground
after the crash of the aircraft due to intense enemy fire. Billy Laney was
last seen lying wounded on the floor of the aircraft between a crewmember
with a broken back and the door gunner with a head wound.
NOTE: the USMC states that Bodden, crewchief/door gunner was shot in the
back and never left the aircraft, but reports received by the National
League of Families indicate that he was definitely alive after the aircraft
crashed. The U.S. did not know Cius was captured until he was released,
evidently believing he never exited the aircraft, and Wilklow had indicated
that the Vietnamese were not trying to capture the occupants of the
aircraft. Therefore, as door gunner, he must have been the "door gunner with
the head wound", and Bodden the "crewmember with a broken back".* )
Since 1975, the U.S. Government has received thousands of reports relating
to Americans still alive in Southeast Asia. Many of them cannot be dismissed
as untrue. Officially, the U.S. says it is operating under the assumption
that men are being held, and that the matter is of "highest national
priority". Yet, we seem unable to resolve the mystery. Nor have they ever
negotiated for the "tens of tens" of American prisoners the Lao stated they
There can be no question that the communists know the fate of those who were
last seen on the ill-fated CH 46A that day. The men aboard this craft were
inserted into Laos for exceedingly dangerous and important missions. They
deserve no less than America's very best efforts to determine their fates.
If any of them are alive, they must be brought home.
* The "Homecoming (Egress Recap) Summary of all non-returnees reported"
by returnees dated 24 April 1973, quotes returnee Frank Edward Cius Jr as
saying "(Bodden) was the port gunner with me. As the aircraft lifted, Bodden
was hit in the stomach and went down. As he stood up clutching his stomach,
he took another hit in the stomach and fell to the floor of aircraft. I was
unable to examine Bodden but his eyes remained closed and his body was
motionless the entire time we were in the aircraft. I believe Bodden was
dead when the helicopter crashed.
It was our pleasure today to talk to Tim's mom, Dorothy at her home in
Illinois. She hopes no one will allow the issue of our men to fade away, or
allow history to repeat the tragedies she has witnessed with her son. She
stated there is much more information to be gotten, and much more truth that
needs to be shared. The NETWORK will continue to forward all letters to her
regarding Tim, but she stated that her health does not allow her to
individually answer the letters. Married to a WWII veteran, leaving near her
son and his family, she does share each letter with them all.
She asked that we convey to all of you, her thanks -- and she sends her
love to all of you.
Then while researching this project I ran across this photo of a
Marine touching Tim Boddens name on the wall!.
The words that follow were writtenby another U.S Marine!!!
8 Jan 2005
While I was in the Marines visiting the Wall, I bought a bracelet from a
Vietnam veteran. I was hoping to get the bracelet of someone special,
but I had no idea how special that day would be.
Tim’s bracelet was the first one my hand touched. Turned out that he, like me, was a CH-46 aircrewman in HMM-165.
I went back to the Wall every Memorial Day to pay my respects to him,
and ended up running into several people who knew him personally. I
heard some stories that were so funny my sides hurt, and I could tell
that he was also a truly fine man … the kind everyone wanted to claim
as his best friend.
Just today I found an interesting link to a picture of me paying my
respects to Tim one Memorial Day long ago. Unfortunately it’s a
password-protected educational site in Texas, and they won’t answer my
email requests for a copy. If anyone is in school in Texas, they might
be able to get a copy. That would be pretty cool to see some day.
Best wishes to all who knew and loved Tim. Semper Fi.
Sgt. Douglas Findlay, USMC
People seemed to love Tim for all his efforts, and some lives were not only saved but created because of him, as this next post would say
18 Aug 2007
My father was with Timothy right before he got on that helicopter. I
would love to talk with Richard Bodden. If it wasn’t for Timothy, my
brother would not have had his father and I would never have been born.
If you know Tim’s brother, please have him contact me. Thank you.
From the daughter of a friend,
I was moved by all the memories of him and the people that knew him but no homage was more moving than this.
Tim Bodden is the greatest hero in my eyes and I never was able to meet
him. I have read through all of the materials online that I can find on
this man and all that I can find are good and positive. Tim Bodden was
my father, I was only 2 when he went missing. So many years later, I
was given the information of who he is. What a hero to be able to say is
Two of my sons have gone on to be Marines. They are both also very
proud to say he is their grandfather. He gave the ultimate sacrifice
for our country. The bravery of this man overwhelms me when I think
about it. Tim is my hero!! He has given not only me but my children a
legacy that we all look at with great pride! God Bless Tim and God
Bless all who have given the ultimate sacrifice!
From his daughter,
Grave above in Arlington National Cemetary, May all those who served be remembered!!
Msg. Timothy Bodden
06 November 1942 – 26 February 1980
Note: Death date is when he was finally pronounced dead after his remains still were not found!.
Like I said before life is fleeting, and we are only here for a moment in time. We have to know life is precious.
Thanks for listening to this story of a mans life who served his country proudly!.