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is honored on Panel 28E, Line 15 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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  • Brave Pilot

    Posted on 2/28/18 - by Dean Carter (Son of a now deceased USAF Vietnam Veteran, Sgt. Lonnie S. Carter, 1968-72)
    On 16 October 1967, then Capt. Richard D. Appelhans, pilot, and Capt. George W. Clarke, navigator; comprised the crew of an RF4C that was assigned to a night reconnaissance mission. Their target area was over rugged jungle covered mountains approximately 85 miles due west of DaNang Airbase, South Vietnam; 24 miles west of the Lao/South Vietnamese border, 13 miles east-southeast of Ban Ralao and 24 miles east-southeast of Ban Pray, Salavan Province, Laos.

    This area of eastern Laos was considered a major artery in the infamous "Ho Chi Minh Trail." When North Vietnam began to increase their military strength in South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some years before. The border road was used for transporting weapons, supplies and troops. Hundreds of American pilots were shot down along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the passes through the border mountains between Laos and Vietnam. Many were alive on the ground and in radio contact with search and rescue and other planes; some were known to have been captured.

    When radio and radar contact with the reconnaissance aircraft at 0345 hours, an aerial search and rescue (SAR) operation was immediately initiated over the rugged jungle-covered mountains where the aircraft disappeared. During the search, no parachutes were seen, no wreckage found and emergency beepers heard. At the time the formal search operation was terminated, both Dick Appelhans and George Clarke were listed as Missing in Action.

    During the war several reports were received by US intelligence documenting the fact that George Clarke was captured by the NVA who were in control of this region of Laos, and that he was probably moved into the North Vietnamese prison system. Because of the quantity and quality of these reports, his status was upgraded from Missing in Action to Prisoner of War. Further, when American POWs were released in early 1973, several of the returnees reported that they had seen George Clarke as a prisoner of the communists, and all stated that the last time they saw him, he was alive and in reasonable health. Unfortunately, none of the returned POWs were able to provide information about the fate of Capt. Appelhans.

    Dick Appelhans and George Clarke are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many of these men were known alive on the ground. The Lao admitted holding "tens of tens" of American prisoners of War, but these men were never negotiated for either by direct negotiate between our countries or the Paris Peace Accords since Laos was not a party to that agreement.
  • Thinking.......

    Posted on 10/29/17
    Thinking of you on your Birthday..... you will never be forgotten.
  • I'm proud of our Vietnam Veterans

    Posted on 10/29/17 - by Dennis Wriston
    Major Richard Duane Appelhans, Served with the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, 7th Air Force.
  • Remembered

    Posted on 9/19/16 - by Lucy Conte Micik
  • For the Fallen

    Posted on 10/14/15 - by KW
    They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them. ...from "For the Fallen", by Laurence Binyon. ...God bless you, Richard.
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The Wall of Faces

Brought to you by the organization that built The Wall, the Vietnam Veterans Virtual Memorial Wall is dedicated to honoring, remembering and sharing the legacies of all those who died in the Vietnam War. Here you can go beyond the names on The Wall to see the faces, share the stories and read the remembrances posted by friends, neighbors, classmates and family members.