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 10.3.2011
POSTED BY: Robert Sage

We Remember

Howard is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
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POSTED ON 5.27.2010

Laos, March 29, 1972: Missing in Action (National Geographic Magazine, November 1986)

Laos, March 29, 1972: Missing in Action (National Geographic Magazine, November 1986)
The November 1986 edition of National Geographic magazine reported on the previous February’s ten-day recovery effort of a four-engined U.S. Air Force AC-130 (call sign Spectre 13) that took place 80 miles east of the city of Savannakhet, Laos. This U.S./Lao joint crash-site search fielded a six-man team from the U.S. Army’s Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii accompanied by a medic and two explosives-disposal experts. Fifteen Lao assisted in the search; Laos also supplied cooks, radio operators, and guards, some 200 people in all. Ten days of searching yielded some 5,000 bone fragments, many no larger than a rice kernel due to the plane’s high speed impact and secondary explosions. Despite that, at the time of the article’s writing, the 60 teeth and other fragments helped provide six identifications of the Spectre 13’s 14 crew members.



In the above image, United States Army team members seek what can be found of the 14-man crew of a U.S. Air Force AC-130, brought down by a surface-to-air missile in Laos on March 29, 1972. While one member of the team holds back an aluminum fuselage section, another attaches a cable so that the pile of wreckage can be pulled apart with block and tackle.
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POSTED ON 2.3.2006
POSTED BY: Vanessa Carter

Spectre AC130 crew

POSTED ON 12.15.2005
POSTED BY: CLAY MARSTON

IN REMEMBRANCE OF THIS FINE YOUNG UNITED STATES AIR FORCE OFFICER WHOSE NAME SHALL LIVE FOREVER MORE



UNITED STATES AIR FORCE

LIEUTENANT COLONEL

HOWARD DAVID STEPHENSON


served as a

CREWMEMBER

of an

AC130A HERCULES " SPECTRE "

with the

16th SPECIAL OPERATIONS SQUADRON

based at

Ubon Royal Thai Airbase, Thailand


On the night of 29 March 1972, an AC130A Hercules "Spectre" gunship departed Ubon Royal Thai Airbase, Thailand on a night reconnaissance mission over supply routes used by North Vietnamese forces in Laos.

The crew of the aircraft consisted of pilots

Major Irving Burns Ramsower II

and

1st Lieutenant Charles Joseph Wanzel III


and crew members


Major Henry Paul Brauner

Maor Howard David Stephenson

Captain Curtis Daniel Miller

Captain Barclay Barclay Young

Captain Richard Castillo

Captain Richard Conroy Halpin

Staff Sergeant Merlyn Leroy Paulson

Staff Sergeant Edwin Jack Pearce

Staff Sergeant Edward Dewilton Smith Jr.

Staff Sergeant James Kenneth Caniford

and

Airman First Class William Anthony Todd

and

Airman First Class Robert Eugene Simmons.

As the aircraft was in the jungle foothills 56 miles east of Savannakhet in southern Laos, it was shot down by a Russian Surface to Air Missile (SAM).

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 AC130 or any of its crew.

However, family members were later told that a support plane traveling with the AC130 heard radio signals indicating that there were survivors.

The support aircraft plane left the area to refuel.

When it returned, there were no signs of life.

Because of enemy concentration, rescue teams could not get into the area.

A clandestine Pathet Lao news agency release stated:

" The U.S. imperialists on the night of March 30 sent aircraft to attack the liberated zone in Savannakhet Province, Southern Laos. An L.P.L.A. antiaircraft unit shot down on the sopt a U.S. AC-130 in addition to another American AC-130 which had been shattered over the same province early morning on March 29. Many U.S. crewmen aboard these planes were killed."

The Air Force reviewed this release and stated that no AC-130 had been shot down on March 30; however, one had been lost at that location on March 31, but the crew had all been rescued.

The report, although distorted, was believed to relate to the Young aircraft.

Several years later, the inscribed wedding band of Curtis Miller was recovered by a reporter and returned to Miller's family.

The existence of the ring suggests to Miller's mother that the plane did not burn, and gives her hope that he survived.

A May 1985 article appearing in a Thai newspaper stated that the bodies of Simmons and Wanzel were among 5 bodies brought to the base camp of Lao Liberation forces.

The same article reported a group of 21 Americans still alive, held prisoner at a camp in Khammouane Province, Laos.

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.

In a previous excavation at Pakse, Laos in 1985, remains recovered were positively identified as the 13 crew members, although independent examiners later proved that only 2 of those identifications were scientifically possible.

The U.S. Government has acknowledged the errors made in identification on two of the men, but these two individuals are still considered " accounted for ".

Because of the identification problems of the first excavation, the families of the Savannakhet AC130 have carefully considered the information given them about their loved ones.

The families of Robert Simmons and Edwin Pearce have actively resisted the U.S. Government's identification, which is in both cases based on a single tooth.

These families do not know if their men are alive or dead, but will insist that the books are kept open until proof dictates that there is no longer any hope for their survival.

Nearly 600 Americans were lost in Laos during the Vietnam war, and many were known to have survived their loss incident.

However, the U.S. did not negotiate with Laos for these men, and consequently, not one American held in Laos has ever been released.

Irving Burns Ramsower II was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the period he was maintained as being Missing In Action.

Charles Joseph Wanzel III was promoted to the rank of Captain during the period he was maintained as being Missing In Action.

Henry Paul Brauner was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the period he was maintained as being Missing In Action.

Howard David Stephenson was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the period he was maintained as being Missing In Action.

Curtis Daniel Miller was promoted to the rank of Major during the period he was maintained as being Missing In Action.

Barclay B. Young was promoted to the rank of Major during the period he was maintained as being Missing In Action.

Richard Castillo was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the period he was maintained as being Missing In Action.

Merlyn Leroy Paulson was promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant during the period he was maintained as being Missing In Action.

Edwin Jack Pearce was promoted to the rank of Chief Master Sergeant during the period he was maintained as being Missing In Action.

Edward Dewilton Smith Jr. was promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant during the period he was maintained as being Missing In Action.

James Kenneth Caniford was promoted to the rank of Senior Master Sergeant during the period he was maintained as being Missing In Action.

William Anthony Todd was promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant during the period he was maintained as being Missing In Action.

Robert Eugene Simmons was promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant during the period he was maintained as being Missing In Action.





YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN

NOR SHALL YOU EVER BE



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POSTED ON 2.23.2003
POSTED BY: Candace Lokey

Not Forgotten

I have not forgotten you. I chair the Adoption Committee for The National League of Families of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action in Southeast Asia. We will always remember the 1,889 Americans still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia and the thousands of others that lost their lives. We will not stop our efforts until all of you are home where you belong.

We need to reach the next generation so that they will carry on when our generation is no longer able. To do so, we are attempting to locate photographs of all the missing. If you are reading this remembrance and have a photo and/or memory of this missing American that you would like to share for our project, please contact me at:

Candace Lokey
PO Box 206
Freeport, PA 16229
mlokey@aol.com

If you are not familiar with our organization, please visit our web site at :

www.pow-miafamilies.org
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