Donald Grella 

SP5 - E5 - United States Army
A Company,
229th Attack Helicopter Battalion

229th AHB

7th Special Forces Group (Attack Helicopter)
1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile)

1st Cav

25 Years Old
Laurel, Nebraska
December 1, 1940 - MIA, December 28, 1965

 

"Stormie" honors Donald...

I remember reading about this crew in Chicken Hawk.  Glad the fellows
were found and brought home after all this time.

God Bless Them.

 

Barry Horner honors Donald...

I have had Donald's name on my bracelet for many years and I can
now retire it!  I won't throw it away, just retire it.  Or maybe take
it up north and put it on his final resting place, now there's a thought!

I have followed Donald's case for quite some time and I live in
Nebraska so it wouldn't be too much of an effort to find out when
and where his return will be.  I think I'll ask his sister, Shirley, if
she would like the Patriot Guard to escort or present colors for
the ceremony.  We can at least do that much for Donald.

Thanks for this site to help keep our missing soldiers' memories alive.

 

An article from Vietnam Magazine, August, 2009.

Huey 808 and Its Ia Drang Crew Recovered After 43 Years.

The Joint Task Force-Missing in Action team has found the crash site of an
Army Huey helicopter and its crew, missing since December 28, 1965.  Tail
number 63-08808 was one of 10 helicopters in a platoon of A Company, 229th
Assault Battalion that was flying alone along Route 19, a familiar trip, when
it went missing in a mountain pass between An Khe and Qui Nhon.  All four
of its crew had fought the previous month in the Ia Drang Valley.

Aboard the aircraft were two experienced pilots, Chief Warrant Officer
Jesse Phelps and Chief Warrant Officer Kenneth Stancel, along with
crew chief Don Grella and door gunner Jim Rice.

Without a word of distress, Huey 808 disappeared.  For months, search
teams in helicopters and on the ground scoured the rugged hills of the mountain
pass looking for clues, but found nothing.

According to newspaper columnist and former UPI reporter Joe Galloway,
who was at the Ia Drang battle, in early April Department of Defense officials
informed the surviving family members of the four missing crewmen that
search teams had found and positively identified the wreckage of Huey 808.
The Joint Task Force-Missing in Action team at the site also recovered dog tags,
personal artifacts and some human remains.  The remains were taken to the
Central Identification Library in Hawaii, where they will undergo analysis,
before being turned over to their families.

More than 1,600 American servicemen
are still listed as missing in action in Vietnam.

 

Donald Grella 

 

On December 28, 1965, a UH1D Huey helicopter from the Aviation Company depated An Khe on a
supply mission to a combat unit in the early hours.  Radio transmissions revealed that flight was
difficult because of weather and darkness.  The pilot, Warrant Officer 2 Jesse Phelps radioed for
weather reports.  The other crew of the aircraft consisted of Specialist 5 Donald Carroll Grella,
crewchief; Warrant Officer 2 Kenneth Leon Stancil, co-pilot; and Specialist 4 Thomas
Rice Jr., door gunner.

When the aircraft was about 10 minutes flying time from An Khe, radio contact was suspended and no
further word was received from the aircraft.  When the UH1D Huey failed to return, an intensive
search was conducted with no sign of either the lost aircraft or its crew.  The crew was believed to be
all killed at that time.

 

Donald Grella 

 

If you would like to post your remembrance
about Donald, please
click here.  

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