HOWARD D STEPHENSON
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HONORED ON PANEL 2W, LINE 123 OF THE WALL

HOWARD DAVID STEPHENSON

WALL NAME

HOWARD D STEPHENSON

PANEL / LINE

2W/123

DATE OF BIRTH

10/06/1937

CASUALTY PROVINCE

LZ

DATE OF CASUALTY

03/29/1972

HOME OF RECORD

BOLTON

COUNTY OF RECORD

Worcester County

STATE

MA

BRANCH OF SERVICE

AIR FORCE

RANK

LTC

ASSOCIATED ITEMS LEFT AT THE WALL

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR HOWARD DAVID STEPHENSON
POSTED ON 6.14.2016
POSTED BY: Annette laRue

I have your bracelet

I found your bracelet that we wore as kids to support all Mia's I wore it as a child and found it in my grandpas jewelry box last year. I remember watching as a child all the soldiers coming off the plane and I waited for you to show up from the plane. But you never did. I forgot about that time and went on with my life for many many years until 2015 while at my grandfather's house who also served I found your bracelet in his jewelry box. My grandmother had been holding it all these years. I just googled your name and found out your fate. My heart is broken for you and your family. I was in Laos earlier this year imagine the connection. I'll look for your name when I go see the wall. Thank you for your sacrifice and your service.
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POSTED ON 5.6.2016
POSTED BY: wkillian@smjuhsd.org

Final Mission of MAJ Howard D. Stephenson

Final Mission of MAJ Howard D. Stephenson
On the night of March 29, 1972, an AC-130A Hercules "Spectre" gunship (#55-0044, nicknamed "Prometheus") departed Ubon Airfield, Thailand on a night reconnaissance mission over supply routes used by North Vietnamese forces in Laos. The crew of the aircraft consisted of pilots MAJ Irving B. Ramsower II and 1LT Charles J. Wanzel III, the navigator, MAJ Henry P. Brauner, and crew members MAJ Howard D. Stephenson, CAPT Curtis D. Miller, CAPT Barclay B. Young, CAPT Richard Castillo, CAPT Richard C. Halpin, SSGT Merlyn L. Paulson, SSGT Edwin J. Pearce, SSGT Edward D. Smith Jr., SSGT James K. Caniford; and Airmen First Class (A1C) William A. Todd and Robert E. Simmons. As the aircraft was in the jungle foothills 56 miles east of Savannakhet in southern Laos, it was shot down by at least one, possibly two Russian surface to air missiles (SAM). According to the F-4 Phantom II pilots escorting the ship, the AC-130 was in a valley a few miles west of Tchepone, Laos. The gunship was working over targets in the area. Visibility was about four miles with scattered clouds at 6,000 feet. The aircraft was illuminated by the full moon to the west, a gunners' moon. Triple-A (anti-aircraft fire) was moderate, nothing unusual, until the fighter pilots saw a SAM launch from their port side. It rose up in an arc headed for the AC-130. As the gunship rolled right to avoid the first SAM, two more were fired at it from different locations. There was no way out as they were bracketed. The escort pilots agreed, he took a hit on the right wing inboard engine and an explosion and fire resulted. As the gunship started to drop down, another explosion occurred and something large and flaming was seen to separate from the aircraft. "There was no mayday call," said the Phantom pilot. "We heard a couple beepers very distinctly, but all we could see down there in the darkness were fires on the ground." This word that a number of beepers were heard caused speculation that the North Vietnamese were trying to lure rescue crews into an ambush. U.S. government sources stated in February 1986 that a fighter escort plane reported that the aircraft crashed in a fireball, no parachutes were seen, nor was radio contact made with the AC-130 or any of its crew. In 1972, however, the Pearce family was told that an F-4 support plane traveling with the AC-130 heard "so many beepers they couldn't count them" and that the emergency beeper type carried by the crew could only be activated manually. The Pearce family took this as strong proof that a number of the crew survived. The support aircraft plane left the area to refuel. When it returned, there were no signs of life. The U.S. and Laos excavated this aircraft's crash site in February 1986. The teams recovered a limited number of human bone fragments, personal effects and large pieces of plane wreckage. It was later announced by the U.S. Government that the remains of Castillo, Halpin, Ramsower, Simmons, Todd, Paulson, Pearce, Wanzel and Smith had been positively identified from these bone fragments. They were interred in Arlington National Cemetery on June 18, 2010. [Taken from pownetwork.org and us-mil-thai.tripod.com]
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POSTED ON 2.10.2015
POSTED BY: Tricia Casey

Remembering your service to our country at a most difficult time

Dear Major Stephenson and all those who loved and remember him,

I came across the MIA bracelet I wore for many years, beginning in 1973 and until I had to take it off for work (as a surgical nurse). I have kept it all these years and finally found this site, and have a chance to get "the rest of the story". I did go to the Vietam War Memorial in DC, but couldn't find his name. Now I'm glad to know he's at rest in Arlington.

Thank you, and all those who watched over us so well in those dark days.
2/10/15

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POSTED ON 3.29.2013
POSTED BY: Curt Carter

Remembering an American Hero

Dear LTC Howard David Stephenson, sir



As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for the ultimate sacrifice that you made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.



May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. And please know that men and women like you have stepped forward to defend our country yet again, showing the same love for country and their fellow Americans that you did- you would be proud.



With respect, and the best salute that a civilian can muster for you.



Curt Carter (son of Sgt Ardon William Carter, 101st Airborne, February 4, 1966, South Vietnam)

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POSTED ON 10.3.2011

Never Forgotten

Never Forgotten
Rest in peace with the warriors.
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