The incident and the subsequent information gathered from various sources since the incident date, should graphically detail the deliberate abandonment of at least four (5) U.S. Servicemen in Laos.
This incident would not be described by me as "deliberate" without proper documentation.
I hope this summary will help you and other interested parties come to the same conclusion, and perhaps provide the path to possible remedies.
The event that started this situation was the apparent shoot-down of an EC-47Q aircraft on the 5th of February 1973.
The EC-47Q essentially is a C-47 aircraft which has been altered by the emplacement of a substantial amount of sensitive electronic equipment, so that it can be used for military reconnaissance work.
Among it's functions is the ability to eavesdrop on enemy military communications.
Much of the electronic equipment involved is regarded as SECRET , and crew-member operators had to possess Top Secret Clearance, with special access to compartmentalized information.
(There are Department of Defense "DoD" directives dictating that arrangements be made for the destruction of the aircraft and equipment, rather than risk compromise of same)
The particular EC-47Q with which I am concerned, was based at Ubon Royal Thai Air force Base (RTAFB), Thailand.
It has a crew of eight men - four commissioned officers, primarily responsible for flying and navigating the aircraft.
And four enlisted personnel, responsible for the operation of the electronic equipment aboard.
On February 5, 1973, while on a tactical sanitized mission, the EC-47Q and at least some of the crew were shot down over Laos.
Shortly after the shoot-down, another U.S. eavesdropper intercepted enemy communications and ascertained that at least four (5) members of the EC-47Q crew, were alive and had been captured. This was within 50 minutes of the shoot down.
This was the only shoot down suffered by the US of 5 Feb 1973, which was after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords.
Within a few hours after the first intercepted message, another was intercepted stating the the four fliers were being "moved north."
This information was known to U.S. Intelligence officials almost immediately following the crash.
However, this information was evidently not revealed to the aircraft's Wing Commander, due to its high secrecy level.
Within 58 hours, a helicopter lowered a search team to the crash site, and the wreckage was inspected.
The SAR team were on the ground over forty minutes to complete their survey.
The cargo compartment of the aircraft, as inspected, had melted, though the aircraft remained primarily intact.
This is not common in an uncontrolled landing situation, indicating the possibility that at least one of the flight crew may have stayed aboard to attempt a landing.
Under the nose of the wreck, partial remains of one crewmember were discovered, which were later found to be those of the co-pilot.
Peering into the wreck towards the front, the search team is reported to have seen, but did not reach, two or three additional bodies, still strapped into the seats which are normally occupied by the officers flying the aircraft.
In the rear, where the other crewmembers had been stationed, there was no sign of anyone, and neither they, nor their remains were seen in the area.
This confirmed the information that the men had escaped the crash and been captured.
Eventually, the search party departed, taking with them, the co-pilot's retrievable remains.
The co-pilot was declared dead, and the other crew members were continued in their Missing Status.
20+ years later, a JTF-FA Team excavated the crash site.
They discovered 23 bone fragments, a 1/2 a tooth and a pristine dog tag that sat resting on the ground not far from the crash site. This pristine dog tag had sat undisturbed for more than 20 years under a triple canopy jungle.
The bone frgaments and 1/2 tooth were cent to CIL-HI where the bone fragments could not be determined as those belonging to human beings, much less indentifiable as belonging to a specific crewmember.
Based upon this information, Department of Defense claimed that all the crewmembers from the Baron 52 incident were dead and a group burial was held at Arlington National Cemetary in March of 1996.
Not one of the 600 Americans lost in Laos, has ever been repatriated.
Not one of the 600 Americans lost in Laos, has ever been
Not one of the 600 Americans lost in Laos, has ever been
When Dr. Henry Kissinger negotiated President Nixon's Peace Agreements in Paris in 1973, ending American involvement in the Vietnam War, the Americans lost in Laos were forgotten.
Dr. Kissinger did not negotiate for them, even though several were known to be held as Prisoners-of-War, and some 125 of them were known to have survived their loss incidents.
Furthermore, the Pathet Lao stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners.
Thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. government indicating that Americans are still alive, being held in captivity in Southeast Asia.
How much longer can these men wait for their country to bring "peace with honor" by bringing these men home?
Peter Matthes is missing in the Ban Bac area of Laos.
George W. Clarke Jr. is missing in the Saravane Province, Laos.
Gene E. Davis is missing in the vicinity of the Laos border.
Benjamin F. Danielson is missing in the area of Ban Phanop, Laos.
Joseph Christiano is missing in the Ban Bac area of Saravane Province, Laos.
Jefferson M. Donahue is missing in Laos.
Clarence N. Driver is missing in Laos.
Raymond L. Echevarria is missing in Laos.
And the list goes on and on.
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