TC’s Tribute to
Remains returned – 11/06/1996 Remains identified 08/15/2000 VVMF Wall of Faces
|Rank/Branch: O5/US Air Force||Country of Loss: Laos|
|Unit:||Loss Coordinates: 163200N 1061600E (XD351297)|
|Date of Birth: 03 November 1928||Status(in 1973): Missing In Action Category :2|
|Home City of Record: Cedar Rapids IA||Acft/Vehicle/Ground: B57B Refno: 1392|
|Loss Date: 22 February 1969||Other Personnel In Incident: Charles Macko (missing)|
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II
Project 01 April 1991 from one
or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated
by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998.
In mid-February, 1969, U.S. Defense policy for response on U.S.
operations in Laos was, “The preferable response to questions about air
operations in Laos is ‘no comment’.” We “weren’t” in Laos.
The B57 Canberra was one of the aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force to bomb
the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Canberra first came to the Vietnam theater at the
time of the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964. It proved too vulnerable and
difficult to repair for working targets over North Vietnam, but proved
effective in the armed reconnaissance Trail operations of Operation Steel
Tiger. The Canberra was sometimes used in conjunction with other, more
sophisticated aircraft, such as the C130, and was especially effective on night missions.
LtCol. Donald E. Paxton and Maj. Charles Macko were in Laos. Paxton was the
pilot and Macko the co-pilot of a B57 bomber sent on a mission over
Savannakhet Province, Laos, on February 22, 1969. During the mission, the
aircraft was shot down and both men were declared Missing In Action.
Macko and Paxton are two of nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos
during the Vietnam War. Although Pathet Lao leaders stressed that they held
“tens of tens” of American prisoners, they stated that those captured in
Laos would be released in Laos, hoping to gain a seat at the negotiating
table in Paris where the U.S. and Vietnam were negotiating an end to the war.
The U.S. did not include Laos in the Paris Peace Accords, and no Americans
held in Laos were released. In America’s haste to leave Southeast Asia, it
abandoned its finest men. Since the end of the war, the U.S. has received
thousands of reports convincing many that hundreds of Americans are still held captive today.
In seeming disreguard for the Americans either held or having been murdered
by the Pathet Lao, by 1989, the U.S. and the Lao devised a working plan to
provide Laos with humanitarian and economic aid leading toward ultimate full
diplomatic and trade relations while Laos allows the excavation of military
crash sites at sporadic intervals. In America’s haste to return to Southeast Asia, we are again abandoning our men.
Charles Macko and Donald E. Paxton were both promoted to the rank of Colonel during the period they were maintained missing
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