MIA Facts Site

Report of the
Senate Select Committee
on
POW-MIA Affairs:
Appendix 2g

South Vietnam Earl E. Shark
(1277)

On 12 September 1968, Sergeant Shark was serving as the point man
for the 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, C Company, 1st Battalion, 28th
Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. As the platoon advanced up a hill
approximately 6 kilometers northeast of the town of Loc Ninh, Song
Be (formerly Binh Long) Province, his unit came under intense enemy
fire. The radio operator with Sergeant Shark radioed that they had
both been hit. The platoon leader and his radio operator crawled
to within 5-10 meters of Sergeant Shark. They could see no
movement,heard no noise, and saw no visible sign of life. As the
contact continued, the Platoon leader through a hand grenade at an
enemy soldier in a bunker in front of Sergeant Shark. The grenade
fell short and exploded closer to Sergeant Shark than the enemy.
The fragmentation from the platoon leader's grenade was close
enough to Sergeant Shark to set off the smoke grenades attached to
Sergeant Shark's web gear but Sergeant Shark still made no
voluntary movement. Due to heavy enemy fire, the platoon leader
and his radio operator were forced to withdraw without retrieving
Sergeant Shark.

On September 15, 1968, the unit was able to reach the area where
Sgt Shark was last seen. However, he could not be located by
ground or air search.

Although seriously wounded, Sergeant Shark apparently was alive and
survived for several days. His name and date of death appeared on
the Died in Captivity list provided by the Provisional
Revolutionary government of South Vietnam on January 27, 1973.
Sergeant Shark's date of death was given as September 1968.

Intelligence reports that have been correlated to Sergeant Shark
indicate that Sergeant Shark died of his wounds and complications
following the amputation of one of his legs about five days after
his capture. He apparently died at K101 Dispensary in Cambodia and
was reportedly buried west of the hospital. His remains have not
yet been recovered and repatriated.



Laos Leighton L. Paul
Edgar F. Davis
(1279)

On September 17, 1968, Paul and Davis were the crew in an RF-4C
which took off from Udorn Air Base, Thailand on a single aircraft
reconnaissance mission over Laos. Their aircraft was hit by
hostile anti-aircraft fire in an area southeast of Tchepone,
Savannakhet Province. Their aircraft began to break up and Paul,
the pilot, ordered Davis to eject, then ejecting himself. The type
of ejection system employed on the aircraft automatically ejected
the navigator after the pilot's ejection.

Paul, the aircraft's pilot, ejected safely. He made contact with
SAR forces and was rescued. There was no contact with Captain
Davis and he was declared missing in action. A second electronic
beeper heard at the time could not be pinpointed due to the
overriding beeper signal from the pilot

Returning U.S. POWs has no information on Captain Davis's fate. In
March 1979 he was declared killed in action, body not recovered,
based on a presumptive finding of death.

In December 1984, the Joint Casualty Resolution Center staff in
Thailand interviewed a Lao source who had been incarcerated at the
Tchepone reeducation camp after 1975. The source reported wreckage
of a U.S. jet aircraft in the area which was said to have been shot
down in 1967. There were two crewmen who bailed out from the
aircraft and one was rescued. People's Army of Vietnam forces
killed the other airman whose body was buried in the area by local
civilians. JCRC concluded this report possibly correlated to this
loss incident.



North Vietnam Domenick A. Spinelli
(1294)

On 30 September 1968, Lieutenant JG Larry J. VanRenselaar and
Lieutenant Domenick A. Spinelli were the crew of an A-6A aircraft
which departed the U.S.S Constellation in a flight of three
aircraft. The flight was assigned to acquire and destroy moving
targets just south of 19 degrees North Latitude over North Vietnam.

Two hostile surface to air missiles, one high and one law, were
observed by other flight members to explode near Spinelli's
aircraft. About 20 seconds later a third explosion was observed
and it lit up the horizon. At this point the flight was
approximately nine kilometers southwest of Phu Dien Chau, Nghe Tinh
(Formerly Nghe An) Province.

No parachutes were sighted and no distress beepers were heard. All
subsequent search and rescue efforts were futile. A Radio Hanoi
broadcast on October 1, 1968, stated than an A-6 aircraft had been
shot down over Nghe An Province. Lieutenant Spinelli's A-6A
aircraft was the only one shot down on September 10, 1968, over
Nghe An Province. Both airmen were declared missing in action.

During Operation Homecoming, a returnee, Lieutenant Tangeman,
stated that he knew the name Spinelli but he did not know him as a
POW. In the late 1970s, Tangeman was visited by Spinelli's next of
kin. During that visit, he finally recalled why he recognized the
name;both he and Lieutenant Spinelli had been at the same naval air
training facility before going to Vietnam. Lieutenant Spinelli's
family alleged the existence of a photo depicting Spinelli in
captivity. The Defense Intelligence Agency has no knowledge of
such a photo but did provide the family a photo of a POW, Major
Gideon, shown riding in an ox cart. This photo is on sale at the
military museum in Hanoi and may have been confused by family
members with being a photograph of Lieutenant Spinelli.

Returning U.S. POWs were unable to provide any information on
either crewman's eventual fate. After Operation Homecoming both
were declared killed in action, body not recovered, based on a
presumptive finding of death.

On July 31, 1989, Vietnam repatriated remains it identified as
those of Lieutenant VanRenselaar. On June 22, 1990 the Armed
Forces Identification Review Board approved the identification of
these remains as Lieutenant VanRenselaar.



South Vietnam Dickie F. Finley
(1308)

See Vessey 135 Discrepancy Cases for case summary.



South Vietnam Donald L. Harrison
Steven N. Bezold
(1314)

On October 29, 1968, Lieutenants Donald L. Harrison and Steven N.
Bezold were flying in an O-1G observation aircraft in a flight of
two aircraft. The aircraft was hit by antiaircraft fire and
crashed in an area approximately 34 kilometers northwest of Quang
Tri City and six kilometers northwest of Con Thien, Quang Tri
Province. No parachute was seen and no electronic beacon signals
were heard.

The next morning, search and rescue personnel located the crash
site but received intense anti-aircraft file from the surrounding
area. At one point, weak electronic beacon signals were heard,
but could not be pinpointed. Search and rescue forced noted that
the plane hit flat. The left wind was twisted back and up at an 90
degree angle. The right wing was ripped off of the fuselage near
the tail section. Horizonal and vertical stabilizers were intact
and the fuselage was intact. No bodies were observed in or near
the wreckage. Anti-aircraft fire, brush, and trees precluded a
closer look. However, the searchers noted that the wreckage had
been moved and saw vehicle tracks leading from the aircraft.

Both flyers were declared missing in action. Returning U.S. POWs
were unable to provide any information on their precise fate.
After Operation Homecoming they were declared killed in action,
body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death.



North Vietnam Bradley G. Cuthbert
Mark J. Ruhling
(1327)

See Vessey 135 Discrepancy Cases for case summary.



North Vietnam San D. Francisco
Joseph C. Morrison
(1329)

See Vessey 135 Discrepancy Cases for case summary.



Laos Russell D. Galbraith
(1339)

On December 11, 1968, Captains Galbraith and Harlan J. Drewry were
the crew of an RF-4C on a reconnaissance mission over Savannakhet
Province. Captain Galbraith later described feeling a thump and
losing control of the aircraft. Captain Drewry ejected safely and
was rescued but reported he did not see Captain Galbraith exit the
aircraft. The aircraft crashed into an area approximately 65
kilometers northwest of Tchepone.

Captain Drewry was declared missing in action. Returning U.S. POWs
had no information on his precise fate. In August 1978 he was
declared dead/body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of
death.



Laos Francis J. McGouldrick
Thomas W. Dugan
(1341)

John S. Albright, II
Joseph P. Fanning
Fred L. Clarke
Morgan J. Donahue
Samuel F. Walker, Jr.
(1340)

On December 13, 1968, a C-123K (Case 1340) collided in mid-air with
a B-57E (Case 1341). The aircraft wreckage crashed into an area
approximately 47 kilometers northwest of the town of Tchepone,
Savannakhet Province, three kilometers east of Route 411 and in the
area of Ban Kok Nak. The C-123 pilot, First Lieutenant Thomas H.
Turner, exited through the cockpit window after finding the co-
pilot's seat empty and fire coming into the cockpit from the
fuselage. He later reported that there had been an explosion in
the aft section of the aircraft and the C-123K had gone out of
control. After parachuting from the cockpit window, Lieutenant
Turner noted that there was another parachute below his and he
believed it might have belonged to a member of the two-man B-57E
crew. Lieutenant Turner was rescued on December 13th and all other
crewmen from the two aircrews were declared missing.

Returning U.S. POWs had no information on the fate of the two
aircrews. After Operation Homecoming they were eventually declared
killed, body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of
death.

From 1968 through 1971, the next of kin of Lieutenant Donahue tried
unsuccessfully to obtain information about him from Lao communist
officials. Reward notices were circulated in Thailand in the late
1970s which promised money and resettlement into the U.S. for
information about Lieutenant Donahue. During 1980, information
attributed to former Royal Lao Army Region II Commander, General
Vang Pao, asserted that U.S. POWs had been moved from North Vietnam
to Sam Neua, Laos, and then to the area of Kham Keut, Khammouane
Province. These and other reports in a similar vein, eventually
leading to assertions that Morgan Jefferson Donahue was still alive
and simultaneously a prisoner in either Khammouane Province or Houa
Phan Province, Laos and Binh Tri Thien Province, Vietnam, were
determined by DIA to be fabrications.

In 1980 the DIA Director, Lieutenant General Eugene Tighe,
initiated an effort which prevented the release of all POW/MIA
intelligence reports received at that agency after August 1979.
While due in part to a concern that the release of such reports
might hazzard any U.S. POWs still alive in Southeast, this policy
coincided with efforts by some next of kin to have POW/MIA reports
released so they could be entered into military service casualty
board case reviews underway, including that of Captain Donahue.
The Defense Department agreed to permit DIA to act as both initial
and appellate review authority over such reports, effectively
denying their release. Lieutenant Donahue was declared killed in
action, body not recovered, in February 1981.

However, these earliest accounts led by 1981 to either funding by
the U.S. Army's Intelligence and Security Command and National
League of Families senior officials for, or involvement by senior
Defense Department officials in, covert cross border forays by
elements of the so-called Lao resistance operating from Thailand
into Laos and may also have involved the so-called Vietnamese
resistance. Such reports of live Americans in Khammouane and
elsewhere were determined by DIA by 1987 to have been the result of
an active measures disinformation program by the state security
apparatus of Laos and Vietnam which achieved various objectives,
including manipulation of the POW/MIA issue. Such hostile
intelligence efforts had directly targeted the Lao neutralist
faction as a conduit for the disinformation. DIA determined it was
the neutralist groups and others in Thailand who had been, and
still continue to be, conduits for hostile intelligence managed
disinformation which eventually reaches private POW/MIA hunters and
next of kin.

In 1982, a source reported information about a wartime crash of a
C-130 in the area of this loss incident. Human remains were
reportedly recovered and buried during the war. In 1986 the
wreckage was located and the tail number determined to be that of
the C-123K (Case 1340). In March 1990, Lao officials reported that
civilians had recovered human remains from a B-57/C-123 crash site
located on a karst in the area of this loss incident.



Laos Michael Bouchard
(1345)

On December 19, 1968, Lieutenant Commander Bouchard and Lieutenant
Robert W. Colyar were the crew in an A-6A launched from the U.S.S.
Constellation for a night visual bombing run in Laos and under the
control of a forward air controller. Their aircraft received a
direct hit from anti-aircraft fire while flying at an altitude of
7000 feet. An explosion and flash of fire swept the cockpit area
and the aircraft crashed, several small explosions occurring on
board prior to its impact in an area approximately 600 meters west
of Route 92 and 55 kilometers southeast of Tchepone, Savannakhet
Province.

Flares dropped in the area disclosed one good parachute and beepers
were heard. However, Lieutenant Colyar's beeper signal overrode
the second probable beeper signal. The last information from
Commander Bouchard was that he was injured and had second degree
burns. Contact was established with Lieutenant Colyar who was all
right on the ground and was later rescued but did not know if
Commander Bouchard had ejected.

The suspected crash site was surveyed in May 1990 and personal
artifacts and aircraft parts were located. A witness described
having seen skeletal remains at the sight some years ago. In
September 1990 the aircraft parts were confirmed to have come from
an A-6. A July 1991 crash site survey failed to locate any
remains. However witnesses were located who described the crash,
the aircraft braking in half with half of it falling into a river.
One body was found at the time and reportedly buried. Although the
survey led to a conclusion that they had located the wreckage of an
A-6, it was not possible to determine if the crash site pertained
to this incident or that of another aircraft lost in this same
area.

During Operation Homecoming, a returnee, CW2 Miller, reported
having learned through POW notes that Michael Boucher was a Navy
Lieutenant at Hoa Lo Prison as late as March 1, 1973. This was the
only such report with this name and there was no U.S. POW or MIA by
that name. However, a U.S. Air Force analysis in 1978 asserted
this correlated to Michael Bouchard being alive in Hoa Lo Prison on
that date. A DIA review of the Air Force report concluded the Air
Force incorrectly correlated the name Michael Boucher to Michael
Bouchard when it correctly correlated to Lieutenant Jack M. Butcher
who was at Hoa Prison from December 1972 until released in March
1973.



Laos Charles D. King
(1348)
Charles R. Brownlee
(1347)

On December 24, 1968, Major Brownlee was the pilot of an F-105D,
one in a flight of four on a strike mission near the Mu Gia Pass
between Khammouane Province and North Vietnam. His aircraft was
hit by hostile fire during a strike on a truck and Major Brownlee
reported "fire and smoke in cockpit...bad..." followed by a garbled
transmission. The SAR force described seeing "junk in the air"
when Major Brownlee's aircraft apparently suffered an explosion at
about the time he ejected from his aircraft. His parachute landed
in trees within 200 meters of his aircraft's crash site in double
canopy dense jungle and aircraft on the scene began receiving
hostile ground fire. There was no radio contact with or beeper
from Major Brownlee after his ejection.

On the morning of December 25th, rotor wash from a SAR helicopter
attempting to recover Major Brownlee from the trees caused his
parachute to dislodge and fall 70 feet to the ground. Paramedic
Airman First Class King was lowered from a SAR helicopter and he
reported back he'd found the pilot inert in the parachute. Airman
King cut the pilot loose from his parachute harness and hooked his
body to a cable which was intended to drag him through brush and
under a fallen tree for a distance of over 20 feet to reach an open
area from which to lift Major Brownlee's body from the crash site.
With the body of Major Brownlee ready to be hoisted from the
ground, Airman King reported receiving enemy fire, then radioed he
had been hit by hostile fire and directed the SAR helicopter to
pull up with enemy forces within 30 feet of him. While being
hoisted up, the penetrator cable and hoist broke loose and Airman
King and Major Brownlee fell ten feet to the ground below as the
SAR aircraft was receiving hostile automatic weapons fire from the
ground below. There was a two second emergency beeper ten minutes
later but its precise location could not be fixed. Further efforts
to locate both individuals were not successful.

On December 24th a Vietnam People's Army unit radioed it had shot
down an aircraft and the pilot had bailed out. Ground forces later
reported seeing the pilot bailing out of a reconnaissance aircraft.

In another report, a People's Army unit described a rescue attempt
on December 25th in which a helicopter with someone on a ladder was
also shot down and there was a report that an attempt would be made
to capture the pilot with no indication if he'd been captured.
These reports, associated with Khammouane Province, were placed in
the MIAs files.

Both individuals were declared missing. Returning U.S. POWs were
not aware of their precise fate. Several years after Operation
Homecoming both were declared dead/body not recovered, based on a
presumptive finding of death.



Laos Robert F. Coady
(1363)

Mid-morning on January 18, 1967, Captain Coady was the pilot of an
A-1H, the number two aircraft in a flight of four on a combat
support mission approximately five miles south-southeast of
Tchepone, Savannakhet Province. His aircraft made a shallow dive
on a target, was hit by hostile fire during the dive, and crashed
with wings level into a wooded hillside within ten meters of the
source of the ground fire, exploding on impact. He was not
observed to parachute from the aircraft and no beeper was heard.
A SAR effort located no evidence of him.

In 1971, Captain Coady's sister viewed a film depicting U.S. POWs
in North Vietnam during Christmas 1969. She also believed she'd
seen his picture in a photo album the U.S. Navy had provided her.
DIA has determined that all those in the 1969 film have been
positively identified and Captain Coady is not in either the film
or photos prepared of individuals depicted in the movie.

Upon his early release from prison in 1969, one U.S. POW reported
having heard of a POW named either Bill Cody or Cote but never saw
an individual with that name and could provide no other information
about the individual. In 1978 the U.S. Air Force correlated this
to Robert T. Coady but there is no basis for such a correlation and
no other returnee from North Vietnam ever provided such a name. In
July 1974 he was declared dead/body not recovered, based on a
presumptive finding of death.

In July 1992 Captain Coady's crash site was investigated by a joint
U.S./Vietnamese team and the team interviewed witnesses concerning
the circumstances of the crash. One source described having
recovered Coady's dog tag and other personal artifacts in 1990
while scavenging for metal at the crash site. During July 1992
personal artifacts and surface wreckage recovered permitted a
tentative correlation of the site to Captain Coady's aircraft crash
site. The recovered material also suggested Captain Coady did not
exit his aircraft before it crashed.



Laos Russell K. Utley
Daniel E. Singleton
(1366)

On January 26, 1969, Major Utley and First Lieutenant Singleton
were the crew in an F-4E, the lead aircraft in a flight of four on
a strike mission over Savannakhet Province. At 0017 hours,there
was an explosion on the ground during a strike on ground targets
and it was evident that Major Utley's aircraft had crashed. There
were no parachutes or beepers, and efforts to contact the crew by
radio were unsuccessful. Both airmen were declared missing.

Shortly after the crash, a People's Army of Vietnam unit reported
that an aircraft had been shot down on January 26th and a pilot
captured. Later, a People's Army unit became more specific when it
reported that it one of its elements had hit an F-4 on the night of
the 25th. They found the pilot's collar (sic), the pilot was dead,
and the aircraft had burned completely. Major Utley's loss
incident was the only incident on January 26th and both People's
Army of Vietnam reports appeared to describe the same incident.
Returning U.S> POWs did not report the missing airmen in captivity.

After Operation Homecoming, they were declared dead/body not
recovered.



Laos Larry J. Stevens
(1383)

On February 14, 1969, Lieutenant JG Stevens was the pilot of an A-
4C on a night strike mission over Laos. His aircraft was hit by
hostile anti-aircraft fire at an altitude of 10,000 feet. His
wingman's aircraft was also damaged but he managed to fly his
aircraft out over the coast, eject, and was rescued.

U.S. aircrews reported two explosions at the time Lieutenant
Steven's aircraft was hit and a forwarded air controller observed
his aircraft impact with no parachute observed and no beeper.

Returning U.S. POWs were unable to provide any information on the
eventual fate of Lieutenant Stevens who was declared killed in
action, body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of
death.

In 1991, information was provided to next of kin through private
POW/MIA activist channels asserting that Lieutenant Stevens was
alive and in Cambodia. A photograph allegedly showing Lieutenant
Stevens with two other American MIAs, Lundy and Robertson, was
produced together with opinions of a pathologist and next of kin
that the three in the photograph were indeed the missing American
servicemen. The photograph was later determined by DIA to be a
hoax.



North Vietnam John M. Brucher
(1388)

See Vessey Discrepancy Cases for case summary.



Laos Cristos C. Bogiages, Jr.
(1397)

On March 2, 1969, Major Bogiages was the pilot of an F-105D, one in
a flight of two on a strike mission over Laos. Enroute to the
target area he was diverted to work with a forward air controller
on another target. After dropping his bombs on storage buildings
and wooden crates outside them in Xieng Khouang Province, Major
Bogiages made strafing passes on the same target. Major Bogiages
made a normal recovery from his second strafing pass but then
entered into a steep right hand turn and crashed on a small ridge
approximately one kilometers south of the target. The burning
wreckage was widely spread over a 500 meter area and the aircraft's
drag chute was located 600 feet from the wreckage. Those on the
scene did not believe the pilot had survived the crash. Major
Bogiages was not seen to eject prior to the crash and there was no
beeper. The forward air controller was hit by hostile ground fire
while flying over the area.

On October 27, 1969, a ground search party entered the site and
recovered a piece of material and left boot but no remains or
survival gear. The material showed evidence of being subjected to
high temperature based on fused portions of nylon which was also
cut in several places. The boot was cut in the back, all laces
were gone and the boot tongue was cut full length by a sharp
object. It was believed the items were removed from a badly
injured aviator. The material was initially believed to be a
portion of the pilot's G-suit but was later found to be a portion
of a deployment bag.

Major Bogiages name was passed to North Vietnamese officials late
1970 and U.S. officials were told through a private activist group,
COLIAFAM, that Major Bogiages had never been detained in Vietnam.
He was initially listed as missing in action. After Operation
Homecoming he was declared dead/body not recovered, based on a
presumptive finding of death.

In November 1982 a hearsay report was received about a F-105 crash
near Phone Savan in which the pilot was killed and buried nearby.
In April 1986 another report was received about a June 1969 crash
of an F-105. The Pathet Lao ordered local villagers to bury the
badly burned body of an American who fell out of the aircraft
before it crashed. In August 1988, a report was received about a
May 1969 crash of an F-105, one of two bombing a target. The
aircraft crashed while pulling off the target. One badly burned
body was seen in the wreckage. In January 1989, additional hearsay
information about a wartime crash in which two crewmen reportedly
died. These reports might have pertained to one of several
incidents and were placed in the files of each loss. In April 1991
a U.S. citizen faxed a list of MIA to JCRC which had been
originated by a resident of Thailand. Major Bogiages name was on
the list but the meaning of the list was unclear.



South Vietnam John T. McDonnell
(1402)

See Vessey 135 Discrepancy Cases for case summary.



Laos Carter P. Luna
(1405)

On March 10, 1969, Lieutenant Colonel Luna and Captain Aldis P.
Rutyna were in one of a flight of two F-4D aircraft on a combat
mission over Laos. Their aircraft was hit by hostile ground fire
while over the Route 9112/9116 road junction. The JCRC currently
carries them as lost over Savannakhet Province and the Defense
Intelligence Agency carries them as lost over Khammouane Province.

Both crewmen ejected and landed safely. Both were in voice contact
with search and rescue aircraft and reporting enemy ground fire
close to their position. Communications was lost with Lieutenant
Colonel Luna one hour later. The two crewmen landed on top of
enemy forces and for the next two hours, Captain Rutyna served as
a forward air controller calling in airstrikes on surrounding
hostile forces. Captain Rutyna was rescued at that point, three
hours after his shoot down.

Lieutenant Colonel Luna was not seen alive in the northern
Vietnamese prison system. He was initially declared missing and in
August 1975 was declared dead/body not recovered.


Laos David Dinan
(1408)

On March 17, 1969, First Lieutenant Dinan was the pilot of an F-
105, one of two aircraft in a flight on a strike mission over Xieng
Khouang Province in northern Laos. On his second staffing run over
the target, Lieutenant Dinan radioed he believed he was hit and his
cockpit was filling with smoke. He was able to eject from his
aircraft and the crewman of another aircraft on the scene reported
Lieutenant Dinan had waved to him from his parachute. A forward
air controller observed his parachute enter the jungle and heard a
beeper but was unable to establish either voice contact or a visual
sighting of him once he had landed.

Approximately one hour later his parachute was located in tall
trees. A pararescue specialist was lowered and reported Lieutenant
Dinan was killed;the parachute had shredded when it went into the
tall trees on a hillside slope and the pilot's body had been
dismembered. Lieutenant Dinan's body could not be recovered due to
darkness and the hazardous location of his landing area. In March
1969 Lieutenant Dinan was declared dead/body not recovered.

In May 1983, the Joint Casualty Resolution Center received a report
about the 1969 crash of a U.S. aircraft in the area where
Lieutenant Dinan was lost. The pilot was reportedly captured after
landing. This report was placed in Lieutenant Dinan's file due to
the coincidence of time and location in the report.



Laos Frederick W. Hess
(1418)

On March 29, 1969, First Lieutenant Hess and Captain William J.
Popendorf were the crew in an F-4D on an herbicidal spray mission
in the Ban Laboy area of Khammouane Province. At an altitude of
200 feet and at a possible air speed of 500 knots there was an
explosion in the left rear of the aircraft. Their aircraft went
into a shallow climb and at 500-600 feet it began to roll to the
left and then crashed in the area of Route 915. There were no
chute or beepers. However, Captain Popendorf then radioed that he
was alive on the ground with a broken arm and right leg. He was
subsequently rescued.

Captain Popendorf reported that he heard Lieutenant Hess eject
prior to his own ejection from the aircraft. Captain Popendorf's
parachute was not fully deployed when he landed but had been
snagged in a tree. Lieutenant Hess was declared missing in action.

In 1972 the Defense Attache Office in Vientiane, Laos, forwarded
the results of the Exploitation Team (Project 5310-03-E)
interrogation of a People's Army of Vietnam soldier describing the
April or May 1970 shoot down of an F-4H aircraft over the Binh Tram
31 area of operation. There was a parachute and seat and in the
aircraft's wreckage. This report was placed in Lieutenant Hess'
file due to the similarity in loss location.

Returning U.S. POWs had no information on Lieutenant Hess' precise
fate. In May 1979 he was declared killed in action, body not
recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death.

In February 1984, the Joint Casualty Resolution Center in Thailand
reported information from a private U.S. citizen in Thailand. The
source asserted that the Lao "resistance" had recovered artifacts
from Seno District, Savannakhet Province, including a skull and
ring and associated this material with Lieutenant Hess.
 

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