GAULEY, JAMES PAUL Name: James Paul Gauley Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 288th Tactical Fighter Wing Date of Birth: 22 March 1939 Home City of Record: Ringwood OK Date of Loss: 10 January 1967 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 190858N 1034058E (UG608182) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D Refno: 0561 Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 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 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: In violation of, yet somewhat protected by, 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 stopping both initiatives. It was strategically important to do so, although 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. 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 ini- tiatives 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. It was over Northern Laos that Capt. Paul Gauley flew on January 10, 1967 as pilot of a F105D Thunderchief. When he was in the region of the Plaines des Jarres, his aircraft was shot down and he was presumed to be dead. He is among nearly 2500 Americans lost in Indochina, and one of nearly 600 lost in Laos. Twenty-two years after Paul Gauley was shot down, the U.S., through private agencies, completed plans for a medical clinic in Laos to encourage Lao assistance in excavating crash sites of U.S. aircraft downed in Laos. Critics say that the U.S. has not addressed the issue of live American prisoners held in Laos and in building clinics is further destroying the possibility that they will ever be released alive. Indeed, of the nearly 600 downed in Laos, many were known to have been alive on the ground, and the Pathet Lao stated publicly they held "tens of tens" of Americans - yet not a single American held in Laos was ever released...or negotiated for.