CLARK, JOHN CALVIN II
Remains returned 11/03/97
Name: John Calvin Clark II
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit:
Date of Birth: 30 January 1943
Home City of Record: Brownfield TX
Date of Loss: 05 February 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 193600N 1034800E (UG745675)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E
Refno: 1534
Other Personnel in Incident: Patrick K. Harrold (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1990 with the assistance
of 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 2003.
REMARKS:
SYNOPSIS: In violation of the neutrality of Laos accorded at Geneva in a
14-nation protocol conference July 23, 1962, the North Vietnamese and
supporting communist insurgent group, the Pathet Lao, lost no time in
building strategic strongholds of defense in Northern Laos and establishing
a steady flow of manpower and material to their revolutionary forces in
South Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh Trail on the eastern border of the Laotian
panhandle.
As a result, the Royal Lao sought help from the U.S. In turn, U.S.
involvement in Laos was justified by an expected quick victory in Vietnam.
Every initiative had to be cleared through the U.S. Ambassador at Vientiane,
so that the delicate balance of "look-the-other-way-neutrality" engaged in
by the nations involved (including China) could be preserved. Before many
years passed, however, it became clear that the U.S. would have no "quick
victory" in Vietnam, and the secret war in Laos grew more difficult to
contain.
Defense of non-communist activity in Laos generally fell into three
categories: 1) U.S. Army and CIA's bolstering of the Meo (Hmong) army led by
General Vang Pao;  2) Strategic U.S. Air Force bombing initiatives on the Ho
Chi Minh Trail (Operations Commando Hunt, Steel Tiger, etc.);  3) U.S. Air
Force bombing initiatives in northern Laos (Operation Barrell Roll, etc.)
both against communist strongholds there, and in support of the Royal Lao
and Gen. Vang Pao's army.
1Lt. Patrick K. Harrold and Capt. John C. Clark II were pilots assigned to
an F4E Phantom fighter jet dispatched on an operational mission over Laos on
February 5, 1969. Their mission would take them to the northeast edge of the
Plain of Jars in Xiangkhoang Province in Military Region II.
At a point about 10 miles northwest of the city of Nong Het, the Phantom was
shot down and both crew members declared Missing in Action. The Air Force
told the Harrold and Clark families that there was every reason to believe
the enemy knew the fate of both men; that perhaps they had been captured. It
was too soon to tell.
When the war finally ended for the U.S. in Southeast Asia, families of the
nearly 600 men lost in Laos were horrified to learn that no negotiations had
been struck that would free Americans held in Laos. The Pathet Lao had
stated publicly that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, but
they wished to be negotiated with. The U.S. was not willing to negotiate
with the communist faction, even at the cost of abandoning some of their
best men.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in
Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Many authorities
have reluctantly concluded that there are hundreds of them who remain alive
today, held captive by a long-ago enemy.
Whether Clark and Harrold are among those thought to be still alive is not
known. What is clear, however, is that we owe these men our very best
efforts to bring them home. What must they be thinking of the country they
proudly served?
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National Alliance of Families
11/03/97
Bits n Pieces
Remains Identified -- The following Air Force personnel were declared
identified.  They are Major Thomas R. Allen of Woodward, Ok.; Capt. Ronald
L. Packard of Canon City, Co.; Maj. John C. Clark of Brownfield, Tx.; and
Maj. Bobby G. Huggins of Montgomery, Al.
According to records, Major Allen and Captain Packard were lost over North
Vietnam on July 31, 1967.   Major John Clark was lost over Laos on Dec. 5,
1969.  His crewmate Patrick Harrold was accounted for and announced in the
last Bits 'N' Pieces.  At that time we asked what about John Clark.  Now we
know.
Major Bobby Huggins and his crew member were lost over Vietnam on June 4,
1970.  No mention was made of the crew member.  All remains were accounted
for based on mt-DNA testing.
To these families, we hold you in our hearts and offer our prayers during
this difficult time.  We hope you have the answers, you have waited so long
for.