KOONS, DALE FRANCIS Remains Returned 06 April 1988 - ID Announced 03 January 1990 Name: Dale Francis Koons Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force Unit: 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Ubon Airfield, Thailand Date of Birth: 13 December 1946 Home City of Record: Eaton OH Date of Loss: 26 December 1971 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 184459N 1055159E (WG875925) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 1 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 1789 Other Personnel in Incident: Lawrence G. Stolz (remains returned) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 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 1998. REMARKS: DEAD-FBIS PHOTO OF ID SYNOPSIS: Capt. Larry G. Stolz was a pilot and 1Lt. Dale F. Koons his rear seater aboard an F4D Phantom fighter/bomber assigned to the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Ubon Airfield, Thailand. Stolz was serving his second tour in Vietnam. On his first tour, he had flown as "back-seater" on the F4 as Koons was on his second. Stolz had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and other honors for combat missions flown during his first tour of Vietnam. On December 26, 1971, Stolz and Koons were sent on a bombing mission over North Vietnam as number three in a flight of four aircraft. During the mission, Stolz' aircraft was hit, and he took the plant up into the low cloud cover either as escape procedure or in order to eject. Stolz and Koons were not seen again. FBI later uncovered a photo made by the North Vietnamese which showed Larry's and Dale's identification, pistol, flight plans and dollar bills from their pockets. The Vietnamese added a note on the back of the photo which stated that both were "destroyed" with their aircraft when it crashed into Ham Rong Bridge in the Ham Rong area of Thanh Hoa Province. The photo had originally been printed in a Dutch newspaper, and again shown on CBS on January 6, 1972. Larry's mother, Lorene Stolz says, "Of course, we would like to have Larry back alive. We think often of the awful treatment he may be receiving... So many years...so many tears...and it's not over." Families of men whose fates are uncertain find it impossible to ignore the mounting evidence that Americans are still held captive in Southeast Asia. Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to missing Americans have been received by the U.S. government. Many authorities believe the numbers of those still alive to be in the hundreds. Whether Stolz and Koons were "destroyed" when their aircraft went down is unknown. The U.S. Government is certain that the Vietnamese know the fate of the two men, but as yet have been unable to learn for certain that they are dead - or alive. In early January, 1990, it was announced that remains returned by the Vietnamese to U.S. control had been positively identified as those of Larry Stolz and Dale Koonz. After eighteen years, Stolz and Koonz are home. Their loved ones no longer have to endure the frightening thought that they are alive somewhere needing them. They now know they are dead, but they may never know how -- or when -- they died. Dale F. Koons was promoted to the rank of Captain and Larry G. Stolz to the rank of Major during the period they were missing. ---------------------- [ssrep7.txt 02/09/93] SMITH 324 COMPELLING CASES North Vietnam Lawrence G. Stolz Dale F. Koons (1789) On December 26, 1971, Captain Stolz and First Lieutenant Koons departed Ubon Air Base, Thailand, the number three F-4D in a flight of four on a strike mission against the Thanh Hoa storage complex in the area of Thanh Hoa City, Thanh Hoa Province. The flight became separated in the target area and Captain Stolz aircraft was last seen pulling up into the overcast approximately 1-2 miles from their target. They did not rejoin the flight. An aerial search for the aircraft and its crew failed to locate them and the crew was declared missing. On December 27, 1971, the Vietnam News Agency reported that an F-4 had been shot down over Thanh Hoa on December 27th. The article implied that both crewmen had become casualties and both their names and pictures of their burned identity cards. In November 1972, photographs of their identity cards appeared in the North Vietnamese published English language "Vietnam" magazine. During the Operation Homecoming debriefing of repatriated POWs, two returnees described having seen their burned identity cards in a North Vietnamese magazine and read that Captain Stolz was dead. Several returnees also reported hearing the name "Koons" and saw the name "Koons, Dale" scratched into the wall at their POW camp. DIA investigation determined the source of this was an American civilian, Bobby Joe Keese, for reasons which were unclear. After Operation Homecoming they were declared killed in action, body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death. In March 1973, a former member of the People's Army of Vietnam described two graves he'd seen in February 1972 in Thanh Hoa Province. The pilots were reportedly shot down and died in December 1971. The graves were in the general area of this loss incident. The remains of Dale F. Koons were repatriated by Vietnam in April 1988.