ASIRE, DONALD HENRY Remains Returned 21 June 1989 Name: Donald Henry Asire Rank/Branch: O5/US Air Force Unit: 354 Tactical Fighter Squadron Date of Birth: 08 July 1923 Home City of Record: Pomona CA Date of Loss: 08 December 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 211500N 1051800E (WF675535) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D Refno: 0544 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 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. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: The F105 Thunderchief (or "Thud") performed yoeman service on many diversified missions in Southeast Asia. F105s flew more combat missions over North Vietnam than any other USAF aircraft and consequently suffered the heaviest losses in action. They dropped bombs by day and occasionally by night from high or low altitude and some later versions (F105D in Wild Weasel guise) attacked SAM sites with their radar tracking air-to-ground missiles. This versatile aircraft was also credited with downing 25 Russian MiGs. LtCol. Donald H. Asire was the pilot of an F105D which departed Takhli Airfield, Thailand on an operational mission over North Vietnam on December 8, 1966. Asire's aircraft was number three in a flight of four. Over Hos Binh Province, about 30 miles northwest of Hanoi, the flight engaged enemy aircraft. Asire was last seen as he dove into a cloud layer with an enemy aircraft in pursuit. Thereafter, no radio contact was made with him. Donald Asire was continued in a missing status until 19 September 1973 when his status was changed to presumed killed in action. During the period he was maintained missing, he was promoted to the rank of Colonel. For years, the Vietnamese denied any knowledge of Donald Asire, but on 21 June, 1989, they discovered his remains and returned them to U.S. control. This return was not publicly announced at the time. A Vietnamese defector stated in Congressional testimony that Vietnam stockpiles hundreds of sets of American remains. Congress believed him. He also testified that he had personally seen live American prisoners, held long after the war was over and all Americans had supposedly been released. Congress ignores this testimony, although over 10,000 reports relating to Americans prisoner, missing or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia seem to substantiate what he was saying. The U.S. and Vietnamese "progress" at a snail's pace, while seemingly ignoring the tremendous weight of evidence that their priority should be those Americans still alive as captives. Meanwhile, thousands of lives are spent in the most tortured state imaginable - unable to grieve, unable to rejoice. They wait.