MIA Facts Site

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

South Vietnam William C. Pierson, III
(1425)

On April 13, 1969, Warrant Officer Pierson and Captain Alvie J.
Ledford were crewmen on an AH-1G aircraft making an attack run on
an enemy gun position in Quang Nam Province. While at an
approximate altitude of 500 feet and in a 45 degree dive, an
accompanying aircraft pilot saw their aircraft hit by hostile
ground fire. He also described seeing the pilot's compartment
separate from the aircraft and disintegrate as it fell. Both
crewmen were initially reported missing in action.

Captain Ledford's remains were recovered on April 20, 1969.
Warrant Officer Pierson was declared dead/body not recovered, in
October 1978. U.S. POWs returned alive during Operation Homecoming
were unable to provide any information on the fate of Warrant
Officer Pierson.



South Vietnam Charles V. Newton
Charles F. Prevedel
Douglas E. Dahill
(1428)

See Vessey 135 Discrepancy Cases for case summary.



Cambodia Jerry M. Shriver
(1431)

On April 24, 1969, Sergeant First Class Shriver was a member of the
5th Special Forces Group Command and Control South with a 25 man
Vietnamese/U.S. reconnaissance control in a covert cross border
operation into Cambodia. While 23 kilometers southeast of Memot,
Kampong Cham Province, the platoon engaged hostile forces. He was
last seen running into woods near his platoon's helicopter landing
zone. Vietnamese voices were later heard stated that one American
was in the process of being captured. He was initially declared
missing in action. The area of his loss was later struck by a B-52
strike.

In June 1970 a recovery team landed at the site of the platoon
ambush and recovered the remains of two Vietnamese and another
American platoon member. Their remains were found lying on the
ground and had not been buried.

Sergeant Shriver was initially declared missing in action and after
the end of hostilities was declared dead/body not recovered.
Returning U.S. POWs were unable to provide any information on his
fate.



Laos William J. Brashear
Henry G. Mundt II
(1437)

On May 8, 1969, Major Brashear and Lieutenant Mundt departed Cam
Ranh Bay, South Vietnam, in one of a flight of four F4C aircraft on
a mission over Laos. Their aircraft was hit by hostile fire while
over the target area near Chavane Airfield, Saravane Province. One
parachute was seen to have deployed and a second floated. A search
and rescue helicopter reported voice contact with one survivor but
could not identify him. The survivor reported he was badly burned
and had an injured leg. One member of the SAR flight identified
the voice as that of Major Brashear.

Neither individual was identified alive in the northern Vietnamese
prison system and neither of their remains have been repatriated.
Both individuals were initially declared missing. Lieutenant Mundt
was declared dead/body not recovered, in February 1979. Major
Brashear was also declared dead/body not recovered.

In 1972 a People's Army of Vietnam defector reported observing a
U.S. POW at the site where Major Brashear's aircraft was lost. He
also reported he heard the POW was an F-105 pilot and a major.



Laos Virgil G. Stewart
(1444)

On May 17, 1969, First Lieutenant Stewart was the pilot of an F-4D
in the area of the Mu Gia Pass, Khammouane Province, Laos, when his
aircraft sustained battle damage. He ejected from his aircraft and
reported to rescuers that he was on the ground with a broken arm
and leg. Rescue forces had a visual sighting of him and short
beepers. A hostile gun position was located south of his position
and it was attacked by SAR forces. A pararescue specialist later
landed in the area and found him dead. Hostile groundfire
prevented recovery of his body. He was declared killed in action,
body not recovered, in May 1969.

In 1978, the Defense Intelligence Agency reevaluated a December
1972 report from the Defense Attache Office, Vientiane, prepared by
the Air Force member (Project 5800-09-05) of the Attache's
Exploitation Team. One of the items reported by the source of the
report was that an F-4H had crashed circa May 1969 and it was
assumed the pilot had been rescued. This report was reevaluated to
be a possible correlation to one of several losses in the area of
the crash, one of which was Lieutenant Steward's loss incident.



Laos James W. Grace
(1455)

On June 14, 1969, Captain Grace and First Lieutenant Wayne J. Karas
were the crew in an F-4D on a bomb damage assessment mission over
Savannakhet Province. Their aircraft was hit by hostile ground
fire while assessing damage to a bridge and was able to fly 85
kilometers east-northeast before both crewmen were forced to eject.

They parachuted safely from their aircraft and search personnel
were in contact with them. The two crewmen landed approximately
100 meters apart and were soon recovered by SAR forces.

However, during their recovery, the rotor blade on the helicopter
recovering Captain Grace hit a tree and this caused Captain Grace
to fall from the jungle penetrator on which he was seated. He fell
300-500 feet to the ground and efforts to locate him there were
unsuccessful. Friendly units searched the area during August 1969-
June 1970 but found no evidence of him. Lieutenant Karas was
recovered safely.

Returning U.S. POWs had no information on Captain Grace's precise
fate. In June 1976, Captain Grace was declared killed in action,
body not recovered.



South Vietnam Donald L. Sparks
(1456)

See Vessey 135 Discrepancy Cases for case summary.


Laos Patrick M. Fallon
(1463)

On July 4, 1969, Colonel Fallon was the pilot of an A-1H, lead in
a flight of two aircraft which departed Nakhon Phanom Air Base,
Thailand, late in the morning for an armed reconnaissance mission
over Xieng Khouang Province, Laos. His aircraft was hit in the
wing during his second pass over the target and Colonel Fallon
bailed out. Aircrew overhead saw Colonel Fallon's parachute being
dragged in and initially "guessed" Colonel Fallon was on the ground
and a prisoner approximately 20 miles southeast of Muong Suoi.
However, Colonel Fallon was able to report he had landed safely and
was in good condition but receiving fire from nearby hostile
forces. Aircraft in the area laid down air strikes within one
hundred feet of his position and received hostile ground fire.
They reported friendly forces were two and a half miles southwest
of his location and advised him to move in that direction but
Colonel Fallon was observed surrounded by hostile forces.

After being in communications with aircraft overhead for
approximately thirty minutes, Colonel Fallon radioed "Put it in
around me. They have zapped me. I've had it." However, radio
communications continued with Colonel Fallon for approximately 15
more minutes with no evidence he'd been wounded.

Colonel Fallon's wingman observed hostile infantry on the ridge top
around his position. U.S. aircraft delivered ordnance on Colonel
Fallon's position. Colonel Fallon was declared missing in action.

In August 1969 the area Colonel Fallon was last seen was searched
by ground forces but with negative results. On September 16, 1969,
an unconfirmed report was received that a U.S. pilot had been
killed by grenades while defending himself with a pistol. An
attempt was being made to locate villagers who might know of the
grave site.

Returning U.S. POWs had no information on Colonel Fallon's precise
fate. In August 1979 he was declared dead/body not recovered,
based on a presumptive finding of death.



Laos Peter X. Pike
Paul L. Bannon
(1465)

On July 12, 1969, Major Bannon and First Lieutenant Pike were the
crew in an F-4D which departed Ubon Air Base, Thailand, on a visual
reconnaissance mission over Laos. While over Khammouane Province,
Lieutenant Pike radioed that he was trying to find a hole in the
clouds because their target area was unworkable due to poor weather
conditions and he was going to move to another area. Their radio
transmission suddenly stopped in mid-sentence at the same time
their radar signal disappeared. The area in which the crew was
flying at the time was mountainous terrain with mountain tops to
4500 feet and peaks in the area to 5830 feet. A limited aerial
search of the area failed to locate any evidence of the missing
crew.

In December 1970, the Swedish Government provided U.S. officials
with a list of 207 names of American POWs and MIAs. Major Bannon's
name was annotated that he was never captured in North Vietnam.

Returning U.S. POWs had no information on the eventual fate of the
crew. Lieutenant Pike and Major Bannon were declared killed in
action, body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of
death, in May 1974 and January 1979 respectively.

In late 1979, JCRC received information from an ethnic Lao resident
in Thailand involved in self described Lao resistance activities.
He reported that his element had captured a Pathet Lao guard from
a cave prison in Khammouane Province to which 18 U.S. POWs had been
transferred from Xieng Khouang Province in March 1979. The senior
prisoner was described as Colonel Paul who was said to have been
the pilot of a Porter aircraft shot down over the Plain of Jars in
Xieng Khouang Province in 1971. In a separate letter to another
individual, the source identified the senior POW as Paul W.
Mercland. CIA was reportedly unable to corroborate the report,
believed associated with the claimed presence of U.S. POWs in the
area of Nhommarath in 1981. In June 1981, this incident was
briefed by the DIA Director and his staff to the House Sub-
Committee on Asian and Pacific Affairs which time the DIA said that
the Nhommarath report had developed into "a complex and sensitive
matter."

In April 1986, the Joint Casualty Resolution Center received
information about aircraft wreckage on the ground in the area of
this loss incident. Other crash reports were deceived during
December 1988-August 1989 which might correlate to this loss
incident.


Laos Roger D. Helwig
(1488)

On September 11, 1969, Helwig and fellow F-4D crewman Roger H.
Stearns departed Da Nang, South Vietnam, on a visual reconnaissance
flight over Savannakhet Province, Laos. After pulling low off
their target, fuel was observed to be streaming from the top and
bottom of their aircraft's wings. A small flash occurred on the
left wing, and their aircraft rolled to the right and was almost
completely inverted when it crashed into the ground in a stream bed
several hundred feet beyond the target, exploding into a fireball
on impact. The time from pull out to crash was estimated to be
approximately five seconds, the canopy was seen still in place on
the aircraft when it crashed, and no parachutes deployed. The two
crewmen were declared missing.

Reports from others on the scene described part of a parachute in
a tree beside the wreckage, an apparently deflated life raft to the
west of the stream bed, and other badly torn parachute parts 75
meters north of the wreckage. There was no sign of any survivors.
There were intermittent beepers in the area for the next two hours,
but in no apparent order to the signals, and there was no voice
transmission.

Returning U.S. POWs had no information on the two missing airmen
and after the start of Operation Homecoming they were declared
killed in action, body not recovered, based on a presumptive
finding of death.

In October 1984, the Joint Casualty Resolution Center received
crash site information from a refugee in Thailand who provided the
tail number of an F-4 aircraft which correlated to the F-4D's tail
number involved in this incident. In March 1989 the site was
surveyed by a joint team in May 1990 a data plate from the aircraft
was recovered together with an identity card and human remains of
Roger H. Stearns. Roger Helwig remains unaccounted for.



Laos Gray D. Warren
Neil S. Bynum
(1505)

On October 25, 1969, First Lieutenant Bynum and Captain Warren were
the crew in an F-4D on a forward air control mission over
Khammouane Province. A bulldozer was sighted in the target area
and they made two passes over the bulldozer. While on their third
pass, a low angle pass on the dozer, they hit the bulldozer with a
pod of high explosive rockets and then their aircraft was observed
to impact on the ground and approximately 100 meters north of the
bulldozer, exploding into a large fireball. The wreckage of their
aircraft was spread over a 400 meter area. The area of impact was
in the area of Ban San and Route 912, approximately nine kilometers
from the Laos/North Vietnam border. There were no known survivors
and both airmen were declared missing in action. SAR forces
encountered hostile weapons fire during a two hour visual
reconnaissance of their crash site.

Returning U.S. POWs had no information on their precise fate. They
were declared dead/body not recovered, on separate dates in 1973
and 1976.




South Vietnam John G. Graf
(1523)

On November 15, 1969, Commander Graf, a U.S. Navy intelligence
officer, was accompanying U.S. Army Captain Robert White on a
flight south of Saigon. Their aircraft was hit by hostile small
arms fire and crashed along the coast in Vinh Binh Province. Both
crewmen parachuted to safety, were captured by local guerilla
forces, and held in a provincial level prison. Both crewmen were
initially reported as missing and then reclassified as POWs.

Commander Graf escaped from the prison circa February 1971 and was
never seen again by Captain White. Captain White survived in the
Vinh Binh prison. In 1972, a captured People's Army of Vietnam
document from Military Region 3 in the southern Vietnam delta
identified him as the only American POW in captivity in the delta
who had not been evacuated to the Region 3 Headquarters controlled
prison in the U-Minh mangrove swamp in Kien Giang Province.

Captain White's name did not appear on the Provisional
Revolutionary Government's list of Americans to be repatriated
during Operation Homecoming. Then, at the end of March 1973,
People's Army of Vietnam General Tran Van Tra advised U.S. officers
with the Joint Military Commission that Captain White had been
omitted from the list and was to be repatriated. He was released
to U.S. officials on April 1, 1973, the last American POW released
during Operation Homecoming. Upon repatriation, he stated he was
led to believe during the war that Commander Graf was still alive
but had been told prior to his release that Commander Graf had
died.

Wartime records recovered from the Vinh Binh area included the
interrogation reports of Captain White and Commander Graf. After
Operation Homecoming, Commander Graf was declared killed in action,
body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death.

U.S. investigators in Vietnam recently interviewed former staff of
the provincial prison who described Commander Graf's escape. His
body was recovered later and it was evident he had drowned. His
body was buried in a river bank which later eroded in flooding,
washing away the area where his body had been buried.



Laos Benjamin F. Danielson
(1535)

On December 5, 1969, Captain Danielson was flying an F4C from Cam
Ranh Bay, South Vietnam, on an interdiction mission over Laos. His
aircraft was hit by hostile groundfire while in a high angle bomb
delivery into an area of up through 75mm anti-aircraft fire in a
heavily defended area near the North Vietnamese border. He and his
co-pilot ejected and landed close together in Khammouane Province,
Laos. Captain Danielson and his co-pilot were separated by a
stream but were in contact with one another until December 6. On
that date the co-pilot heard the sound of excited voices from a
hostile search party scouring the area where Captain Danielson was
located. The co-pilot then heard weapons firing, a scream from the
area where Captain Danielson was hiding and then silence. There
was no further radio transmission from Captain Danielson. The co-
pilot was rescued the following day.

Captain Danielson was not reported alive in the northern Vietnamese
prison system. He was initially declared missing and was declared
dead/body not recovered in June 1976.



Laos Bruce C. Fryar
(1542)

On January 2, 1970, Captains Fryar and Nicholas G. Brooks were the
crew of an A-6A from the U.S.S. Ranger, one in a flight of two on
a late afternoon strike mission over the Mu Gia Pas in Khammouane
Province. A forward air controller saw an orange flash followed by
a fire on the right side of their aircraft. The forward air
controller and flight leader saw two deployed parachutes and
ejection seats. Two beepers were heard on guard frequency and
there was a weak voice transmission which was unintelligible.

A pararescue specialist was lowered to the site of one parachute
and found a lifeless body he identified later through a photograph
as that of Captain Fryar. While attempting to hook his body onto
a cable to remove it, the pararescue specialist reported Captain
Fryar's body was limp, his head had turned 360 degrees as if his
neck was broken, and his legs were bent up behind his head.
Hostile ground fire forced the SAR force to withdraw and the effort
was temporarily suspended. The SAR force returned on June 3, 1970
and Captain Fryar and his parachute were gone. There was an
electronic beeper that morning but no pattern to its transmission.
The SAR effort was continued until suspended January 7th.
On January 19, 1970, a People's Army of Vietnam unit in Laos
radioed it had captured one injured pilot but was unable to get the
second. The pilot was "very sick" but had been killed by ethnic
minorities. The second pilot was eventually captured but later
escaped.

Both crewmen were initially declared missing in action. Returning
U.S. POWs were unable to describe their precise fate and after
Operation Homecoming both were declared killed in action, body not
recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death.

In April 1982 Captain Brooks remains were repatriated and
identified.

In February 1986 the Joint Casualty Resolution Center received
information that remains had been recovered from this crash site
and repatriated in May 1985 but no remains correlated to Captain
Fryar were identified at the Central Identification Laboratory. In
May 1991, a joint U.S./Lao investigation of the crash site led to
the interview of witnesses who stated the bodies of two crewmen
were recovered after the incident and buried in an adjacent bomb
crater. The joint team did recover remnants of two survival tests,
one flight suit and other artifacts but no remains. This site
excavated was believed that of this loss incident.



North Vietnam Holly G. Bell
Gregory L. Anderson
William D. Pruett
Leonard C. Leeser
William C. Shinn
William C. Sutton
(1552)

On January 28, 1970, an HH-53B with six crewmen on board was in a
holding pattern while engaged in a search and rescue mission over
Ha Tinh Province. There was a MIG alert on the radio after which
a MIG-21 aircraft fired an air to air missile which hit the HH-53B.

There was a fireball explosion which turned the aircraft into
hundreds of pieces. There was one two second beeper after the
explosion but there were no parachutes seen by other SAR aircrews
covering the SAR effort. The crew of the helicopter was declared
killed in action, body not recovered, in April 1970. Returning
U.S. POWs had no information on their precise fate.

In December 1988, Vietnam returned William Sutton's identity card
and remains from Huong Khe District, Nghe Tinh Province it
identified as those of William Sutton. The remains were determined
to be of Holly G. Bell.


South Vietnam Gary B. Scull
(1572)

See Vessey 135 Discrepancy Cases for case summary.



Laos Dennis G. Pugh
(1573)

On March 19, 1970, Captain Richard A. Rash and First Lieutenant
Pugh were the crew in an F-4D on a combat mission over Khammouane
Province. They were hit by hostile ground fire and ejected from
their aircraft in an area approximately 15 kilometers south of the
Mu Gia Pass. Airborne search and rescue forces established contact
with both of them on the ground but were unable to recover them due
to darkness. The next day SAR forces reestablished contact with
Lieutenant Pugh who reported that hostile forces were within ten
meters of his position. He requested the SAR forces place ordnance
on his position and he then held down the transmit key on his
radio. Then, excited Asian voices were heard followed by 15 to 20
shots being fired, followed by silence. Ordnance was placed on his
position as he requested and there was no further contact with him.

Captain Rash was rescued on March 21st and reported hearing the
sound of small arms fire from Lieutenant Rash's location after
which he lost radio contact with him. Further efforts to locate
Lieutenant Pugh were unsuccessful and he was declared missing in
action.

Returning U.S. POWs had no information on the eventual fate of
Lieutenant Pugh. He was later declared killed in action, body not
recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death.

In 1984, U.S. intelligence received information from a source
describing the shoot down of an aircraft in which one pilot was
rescued and one was taken prisoner. This report was believed to
possibly correlate to this loss incident although Captain Rash and
the SAR pilots believed Lieutenant Pugh had died.



Laos Richard L. Ayers
Robert E. Rausch
(1596)

On April 16, 1970, an RF-4C with a two man crew of Major Ayers and
Captain Rausch departed Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon to conduct
reconnaissance along the Demilitarized Zone separating North and
South Vietnam as well as the adjacent area of Savannakhet Province,
Laos. They refueled in flight and advised their controller that
they were heading north to another target area. The new target
area was known to be a high threat area with 37mm and other anti-
aircraft weapons. They were last reported over Savannakhet
Province but did not return from their mission and were declared
missing in action. There were no chutes or beepers located.

Subsequent to their disappearance, Radio Hanoi's domestic service
reported its forces had shot down an RF-4C in the Vinh Linh Special
Zone, the North Vietnamese side of the DMZ, on the afternoon of
April 16, 1970. This report was correlated to the loss of Major
Ayers' aircraft.

On April 17, 1970, a People's Army of Vietnam unit radioed a report
concerning four recent U.S. aircraft shoot downs. Three of the
aircraft were F-4 and the completely burned remains of one crewman
were found in one F-4 crash site wreckage. The pilot of the fourth
aircraft, an RF-4C, was also killed. The portion of this radio
message dealing with the RF-4C was believed associated with Major
Ayers' shoot down even though People's Army forces only reported
(one) pilot killed.



South Vietnam Eugene L. Wheeler
(1598)

See Vessey 135 Discrepancy Cases for case summary.



Laos Charles S. Rowley
(1600)

On April 22, 1970, Lieutenant Colonel Rowley was the navigator on
an AC-130 on an armed reconnaissance mission over Saravane
Province, Laos. It was hit by 37mm antiaircraft fire and crashed.
One crewman was rescued alive and ten others, including LTC Rowley,
were reported missing in action. No chutes or beepers were
reported for the ten mission. Lieutenant Colonel Rowley's
photograph was identified by returnees.

During the mid-1980s private U.S. and Lao POW hunters produced a
photograph of a Caucasian reported to be LTC Rowley alive in Laos.
In May 1991 U.S. intelligence received information of the recovery
of identification media containing the name and social security
account number of LTC Charlie B. Davis, the aircraft's navigator.




Cambodia Dale W. Richardson
Rodney D. Price, Jr.
Bunyan D. Price
Robert M. Young
(1610)

On May 2, 1970, eight U.S. Army personnel were flying in a UH-1H in
northern Tay Ninh Province, South Vietnam. They crossed into
Cambodia and were shot down by hostile ground fire, crashing
southwest of Memot City. One Army Private evaded capture and was
rescued. Four were captured. Two of those captured, Warrant
Officer Maslowski and Specialist Crowson, were released in February
1973 during Operation Homecoming. Warrant Officer Varnado was
wounded in the right side and left leg. He was taken to a hospital
after captured and was never seen by U.S. POWs as alive after that
time. A wartime report was received describing an American POW who
died at Hospital K-21 on 26 August 1970, wounded in the left thigh
during a helicopter crash in June 1970. The unit which shot down
the helicopter was Z26 Company, 75th Artillery Group.

In January 1973, the Provisional Revolutionary Government
acknowledged the death in captivity of Captain Young and Warrant
Officer Michael B. Varnado. Varnado's returns were repatriated on
April 27, 1989. The death of Captain Young was witnessed by nine
U.S. POWs who were repatriated during Operation Homecoming. In
February 1975, a Viet Cong defector who had served as a guard at
prison camp TB.22 described Captain Young's death and located his
burial site.

In April 1970, a Viet Cong defector reported having seen an
American in Kampong Cham Province in April 1970. This report was
believed associated with Specialist Price. In 1981 three South
Vietnamese Army escapees from prison B-7 in Kratie Province
reported an American POW there in 1971 who had reportedly been
there for one year. During their only one hour interview they
identified one of two photographs of Price as similar to the
individual imprisoned at their camp. This identification led to a
reclassification of Price from missing in action to POW.

Specialist Griffin and Captain Richardson were last seen alive
after their crash and prior to the capture of Captain Young and the
three others. Although those surviving into captivity were kept
together and joined other U.S. POWs then in custody inside
Cambodia, returning U.S. POWs never saw Richardson, Price or
Griffin alive in captivity. A classified document last believed in
the possession of Captain Richardson was shown to Captain Young.
Captain Richardson was last seen alive and firing his pistol at
enemy forces and was then hit by hostile fire while running.

After the end of hostilities, all unaccounted for crewmen were
eventually declared dead/body not recovered.


South Vietnam Larry G. Kier
Refugio T. Terran
(1613)

On May 6, 1970, Private First Class Kier and Private First Class
Terran were at a fire support base in Quang Tri Province. Their
position came under an enemy attack and a nearby ammunition dump 20
meters from their bunker was hit by a rocket propelled grenade.
Napalm from the ammunition dump leaked into their position which
caught fire and burned. After the attack Terran could not be
located, and Kier, at a separate location, could not be located
either. Both individuals were declared killed in action, body not
recovered in the late 1970s.

In August 1991, a Vietnam resident turned over the partially melted
identity card belonging to Kier together with two bone fragments.
The bones were reportedly recovered during 1987 and were turned
over to a U.S. representative in Hanoi. The fragments are
currently undergoing analysis.



South Vietnam Alan R. Trent
Eric Huberth
(1619)

On May 13, 1970, First Lieutenant Huberth and Captain Trent were
the crew in an F-4D, one in a flight of two F-4 which took off from
Phu Cat Air Base against a target approximately 105 miles northwest
inside Cambodia. There was .30 and .50 calibre ground fire against
their aircraft while in the target area. Their aircraft was
observed to crash into a ridge line during a dive. A forward air
controller saw no one eject, no parachutes and heard no beepers.
Another F-4 on the scene and with a clear view of the crash
reported the aircraft exploded on impact with a full load of
munitions on board and the resultant wreckage was spread over a 500
meter area. There was a search and rescue effort on May 14th and
15th, to include a ground team on the 14th, but there was no
evidence that anyone had survived the incident.

Both airmen were initially reported missing in action. Returning
U.S. POWs had no information on their precise fate. In November
1973 both were declared dead/body not recovered, based on a
presumptive finding of death.


South Vietnam James M. Rozo
Robert P. Phillips
Joe P. Pederson
(1639)

See Vessey 135 Discrepancy Cases for case summary.



Laos Donald B. Bloodworth
James W. Reed
(1650)

On the evening of July 24, 1970, Captain Reed and First Lieutenant
Bloodworth departed Udorn Air Base, Thailand, in an F-4D, one in a
flight of three aircraft on a night escort mission over Laos. They
refueled in flight and preceded to the Plain of Jars area of Xieng
Khouang Province to provide escort to an AC-119 gunship. The
gunship located a truck on Route 7 and fired on in. After
expending its ammunition, Captain Reed's aircraft also attacked the
truck. They were unsuccessful on their first pass and were
approved for a second pass over the target but there were no
further communications with the crew. Shortly thereafter, there
was a large explosion on the ground near the target. There were no
chutes or beepers and a ground search was not possible to extremely
heavy hostile activity in the crash site area.

On July 25, 1970, a hostile unit in Laos radioed that its forces
had shot down one F-4 on July 25th with anti-aircraft fire and the
pilots had been captured. This report was initially believed
correlated to this loss incident but was later determined to
probably correlate with another incident in South Laos, which
occurred on July 25th, and not this incident, which occurred in
North Laos on July 24th.

Both crewmen were declared missing in action. Returning U.S. POWs
had no information on the precise fate of the two missing crewmen.
After Operation Homecoming they were declared dead/body not
recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death.

In July 1973, the Defense Attache Office Exploitation Team (Project
5310-03-E) forwarded information from a prisoner who described the
crash of one of three jets bombing on the eastern rim of the Plain
of Jars circa April 1968. One aircraft reportedly dove on a ground
target but didn't recover from its dive and crashed. The next day
the source heard from a Pathet Lao medical technician that two
crewmen were killed in the crash.

DIA believed this report might be associated with this loss
incident. In 1973 the Exploitation Team forwarded information from
a former Pathet Lao describing an aircraft crash said to have
occurred in 1969 near Nong Tang cave. While it was initially
suspected it might pertain to this loss incident, DIA reevaluated
it after Operation Homecoming and concluded it might pertain to the
loss incident of a returnee, Charles Reiss.

In 1986 the Joint Casualty Resolution Center received a report
about a crash site in the vicinity of this loss incident. In
January 1990, a joint JCRC/Lao team visited the area of this loss
incident and was told a Lao national had remains to turn over. The
source could not be located at that time. In July 1971 a joint
team investigated the site and in December 1991 another joint team
visited the site, locating F-4 wreckage and a portion of parachute
harness.


South Vietnam Bernard H. Plassmeyer
(1660)

See Vessey 135 Discrepancy Cases for case summary.



Laos Fred A. Gassman
David A. Davidson
(1663)

On October 5, 1970, a joint U.S./Vietnamese reconnaissance team
designated Team Fer-de-Lance from the 5th Special Forces Group
Command and Control North group engaged hostile forces in the Phu
Dung operational area in Saravan Province. The Assistant Team
Leader, Sergeant Gassman, radioed to an aircraft overhead that the
Team Leader had been hit by hostile fire and fallen off a cliff,
the team was receiving hostile ground fire from three sides, and
they were low on ammunition. The Assistant Team Leader then
radioed "I've been hit - and in the worst way." Several groans
were heard over the circuit and then the radio went silent.

Two other team members later described how Staff Sergeant Davidson
was hit by a long burst of enemy fire after which Sergeant Gassman
was talking on the radio when he too was shot. Sergeant Gassman
groaned and fell to the ground with a large hole in his back. One
Vietnamese team member with Sergeant Gassman when he was shot
believed he had died.

After the incident the Sergeants Gassman and Davidson were declared
missing in action. Returning U.S. POWs had no information on their
precise fate. After Operation Homecoming they were declared
dead/body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death.
 

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