May 18 2005
It has been 39 years since I last saw you. I recall the day that I heard you
were missing. I was in college then and I sat on my bunk in the dorm and
wondered if you had some how escaped into the jungle and evaded the
Over the years I have worked with your sister to try and get your full
accounting since you had not come home. It has been a roller coaster ride
but now we know what happened and were you are buried. All we can do is
wait until the Lao, Vietnmames and the United States teams to go to your
buriel site in the jungle and find you. This may still take more time, perhaps
years because there are other cases ahead of you and the Vietnamese and
Lao allow only a few excavations per year.
While over Laos, your plane was fired upon and it broke in two. You tried to
save yourself by jumping out of the broken plane but the altitude was not
great enough and your parachute did not deploy. Your body was near the
plane wreckage which was on fire. Your parachute was partially hung up in a
tree near you. The chute beeper gave of signals which were picked up by a
Navy jet that was divered from another mission. Although there was no
voice associated with the beeper, a search and rescue operation continued
until it became too dangerous to continue.
Over the next few weeks, a friend of your pilot flew over looking for the
wreckage of your plane. He saw something 39 years ago that was probably
your plane in an area outside the last know co-ordinates. It turned out to be
where the Vietnamese witnesses said the crash site was. The origional
co-ordinates were wrong.
Before you left for SEA, my father gave you a silver dollar and asked that
you return it to him when you came home. Someone did this to him when he
was in combat during WWII and it was a gesture of hope.
That silver dollar was reported to have been found by one of the witnesses.
It was attached to a set of keys. Although my father will never physically
get the silver dollar back, the mental picture of it gave all of us hope which
was its intent. Shortly after that, more Vietnamese witnesses came forward
. One of these men buried you and your pilot in a shallow grave near
Gombey 19. He and others located the correct crash site. Your burial site is
not far from there. It will be excavated and you will be found and finally
retured to your home.
My thoughts have been with you for 39 years and will continue until I see