|In 1966 when Andre became MIA, we did not know that he was lost in Laos.
the war in Laos was a clandestine operation called "Steel Tiger", it was reported
that he was shot down in Vietnam. Later on, we did find out the truth but little or no
other than the origional report was available. Over the last decade, information
became declassified and a greater understanding of the circumstances of his loss
occured. The 37 years of inquiry became a roller coaster ride of emotion. Often it
seemed like no more data would come forward, that the investigation was at a dead
end. The saying:"It's always darkest before the dawn." became a common
occurance. Just when we thought nothing else would be discovered, something
would. Earlier information came from the memories of members of the SAR and the
Air Commandos. Much of the recent information came about through efforts of the
JOINT TASK FORCE FULL ACCOUNTING (JTFFA ) investigation and
The following is a summary of two key witness reports:
The following is a summary of reports given to primary next of kin by Air Force Casualty:
Mr. Tuyen was a transportation security soldier. On May 18th 1966 while working on Rt 20 (also known as
Rt 912) he heard the 10th AAA BTN fire 37mm anti aircraft artillery. The target was a low flying recon
aircraft which crashed about 100 meters from his location.
Ordered by his Battalion, Mr. Tuyen left for the crash site with his platoon and members of the AAA
Batallion. They split into groups and arrived at the site at different but close time frames.When arriving at the
crash site ( about one hr.after shoot down}, Mr.Tuyen noted that the airplane was broken into two parts and
the body of one man was laying outside yards away from the aircraft.There was a partially deployed red
parachute hanging from a nearby tree.Mr Tuyen described the man out side the plane as caucasian with light
colored hair. He wore a green one-piece flight suit with a long zipper and boots. Also removed from the
body was a helmet, a six- shot revolver and an ID card.
Inside the airplane was another body that was burned beyond recognition.
Mr.Tuyen stated that the airplane was an L-19 type air craft ( slow moving with fixed landing gear.)
The front half of the aircraft was burned but the tail section which lay several meters away was not.
It became the responsibility of Mr. Tuyen to bury the bodies of these two aviators and he did so about 10
meters from the plane. The grave was dug in soft ground about 1 meter deep and 60 cm wide and both
bodies were placed in it. There was no marker left on the grave and no earth was piled in a mound to make it
|Mr. Loi was a cook for the 5th Engineer BTN and was preparing rice on May 18th 1966 when he
heard anti aircraft fire.The sound of an airplane crash made him curious and he walked to the site
about one kilometer away. The crash site was between Ban Noang Ma and Ban Paak.
Several soldiers were already present when Mr.B arrived.
Mr Loi saw the body of a caucasian male about 20 feet away from the wreckage of a small
reconnaissance airplane that was completely burned. He looked inside the aircraft and saw the
badly burned body of another who was strapped in.
He did not participate in or witness the burial and visited the site only once.