LONG, STEPHEN G.
Name: Stephen G. Long Rank/Branch: O2/United States Air Force, pilot Unit: 23rd TASS Date of Birth: 16 February 1944 Home City of Record: Chiloquin OR Date of Loss: 28 February 1969 Country of Loss: Laos/North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 172800 North 1054100 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: 02A
Other Personnel in Incident: Doug Morrell, escaped/evaded/rescued, crew cameraman.
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Update Feb, 2000 with information provided by Major Long.
REMARKS: 730328 RELEASED BY PL
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors). UPDATE - 02/97 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO with material provided by Stephen G. Long.
STEPHEN G. LONG Captain - United States Air Force Shot Down: February 28, 1969 Released: March 28, 1973
I was born in Hastings, Nebraska on February 16, 1944.
My first assignment after completing pilot training at Williams AFB in Arizona was the 0-2 FAC aircraft flying out of Thailand. After 3 months of flying with the 23rd TASS in Thailand, I was shot down in Laos and I went on 4 years of inactive type service in Hanoi. I was the pilot of an O2 when I was shot down in the vicinity of Mugai Pass, Laos.
After my aircraft was hit, I was unconscious and thrown free. I had a broken left femur. After months in the jubgle and intense interrogation in Hanoi, the North Vietnamese surgically inserted a fixation devise which catistrophically failed in 1987. I was subjected to a kangaroo trial in the jungle and sentenced to "live forever in cave." While I was in captivity, I was beaten with fists, feet and rifle butts. I was held in eight different camps in North Vietnam. I was never declared or listed as a Prisoner of War. I returned home on the last day of the releases.
After being confined for this period of time, the urge to fly has grown even stronger. Although I wanted to return to flying as soon as possible, I felt that attending Squadron Officers' School (SOS) would help me make the adjustment back into active duty military life.
I graduated from SOS on 30 November 1973 and after a wonderful first Christmas home with my family, I got my first flight in the T-38 recurrency program on 11 January 1974. Upon completion of that program I will be stationed at Homestead AFB, Fla., flying the F-4E.
It has taken some time to understand what has happened since my release. There is no way I could ever have known how much energy and effort was being exerted for the interests of the POW's, nor the limits of the genuine sympathy, attention, and love given to ourselves. I was quite overwhelmed and I feel that I owe a great deal to all those who helped to obtain our release by bringing attention to our plight, and making our release a most wonderful and memorable experience.
I will never be able to express my deep appreciation to all these wonderful people and relate to them my gratitude - but I will try. To all of you - Thank you!
Stephen Long retired from the United States Air Force as a Major. After his return from Vietnam, he was awarded a Bronze Star as well as the Legion of Merit and Distinguished Service Medal. His flying assignments included the F-4E in Soesterberg, Netherlands, the F-105G at George AFB, CA and the F-16A at Hill AFB, UT. He also returned to school, having previously graduating with a BA in Psychology from Willamette University and now earning a Masters in Counseling from Ball State. Of his time in Hanoi, and his Homecoming, he says " Freedom begins with a choice. That is a choice to live free of shackles of any nature, real or imagined. Life is precious and it is each person's responsibility to attain self-fulfillment.
Steve and his wife Katherine have a son and a daughter. He currently is a commercial pilot, operating charters and tours from Las Vegas, Nevada. His current pursuits include mountaineering, climbing, hiking and river trips.
--------------------------------- Ex-Vietnam POW Says Life Now Great
By DEBORAH HASTINGS AP National Writer
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- He woke while falling through the sky. He jerked the rip cord of his chute, but it was too late for a safe landing. His leg snapped. People were shooting at him......
----------------------------- From - Sat Feb 12 12:38:34 2000
I am adding a excerpt of a reply for of a request for information I received for prisoners captured/held in Laos. I looked at your excellent website and thought it may help others looking for info.
Steve and family
Lost Union of Laotian Unfortunates
Stephen Long was shot down near Mugia Pass, Laos, on February 28, 1969. After spending a few days in the caves of Laos, Steve was transported to Hanoi. After enduring an extended period of interrogation and subsequent medical treatment for a broken femur, he was inducted into the prison facilities at Camp Vegas, more commonly known as Hanoi Hilton back in the US. After six months of solitaire, Steve was moved within the compound to a room occupied by Major Walter Stischer, USAF, shot down and captured in Laos, April 13, 1968. Thus, the first union of American POWs captured in Laos and held in Hanoi.
Later that same year, two other POWs captured in Laos, Navy Lt. Henry (Jim) Bedinger (shot down and captured November 22, 1969) and civilian Ernest Brace (captured May 21, 1965), became cellmates in the other parts of Camp Vegas. Bedinger was the first prisoner arriving in Hanoi to carry the news that the US had landed a man on the moon. Brace's gripping story of nearly eight brutal years in captivity, in the jungle and in Hanoi, is excellently portrayed in his book, A Code to Keep.
As a result of the Son Tay raid on November 21, 1970, the North Vietnamese captors decided to consolidate American POWs in Camp Unity. At this time, the four Laotian prisoners were separated from other POWs and formed what was to become known as the LULUs (Lost Union of Laotian Unfortunates). The LULUs were later moved from prison to prison, sometimes each in solitaire and sometimes sharing cells but never, ever with other American prisoners known to have been captured in other than in Laos. At this time, it became apparent that the North Vietnamese had identited the LULUs for different treatment because of their origin of capture. The LULUs were to be denied any exchange of packages or letters from the US and in fact their existence was hidden from other prisoners, separated by walls and makeshift barriers, and their names were not present on any list of known POWs until after the war. They were to be held incognito.
As a result of the Son Tay raid, American POWs held in WN were consolidated in Hoa Lo (Camp Unity) in Hanoi. 'The LULL)s were housed in solitaire in the Bldg 0, together with the four 0-6 prisoners (each in solitaire). These cells were high priority for the NVN because they afforded them the opportunity to keep prisoners in solitaire. So, when the prisoners had what was termed a "Song Fest" on 7 Feb 70, the cells were required to punish the leaders of the fest. The LULUS were segregated from the prisoners to empty the cells and were moved to Camp Briar Patch outside of Hanoi, again in solitaire.
USAF Major Norbert Gotner (shot down and captured February 3, 1971) joined the group at the Briar Patch in June 1971. When the group moved to the Plantation in July 1971, they were joined by USAF Captain Jack Butcher (shot down and captured March 24, 1971 [after an extensive E&E])and USAF Captain JR Leonard (shot down and captured May 31, 1968) in the Gun Shed area of Camp Plantation. Leonard had earlier been held with prisoners captured in SVN but would now join the LULUs behind the "Tar Paper Wall" separating SVN and Laos in Camp Plantation.
The LULUs were paraded through a number of prisons during their tenure in North Vietnam, finally being joined in the Snake Pit behind the Camp Vegas by USAF Charles Reese (shot down and captured December 24, 1972), and two young missionaries, Lloyd Oppel and Sam Mattix, captured in Laos captured a few months earlier. Eventually, the LULUs were released through an elaborate ceremony on March 28, 1973 where an Asian participant identified as a Laotian handed the LULUs over to the North Vietnamese, who in turn released the LULUs to the US officials.
While there were other American servicemen captured in Laos and Cambodia during the SEA conflict, these seven servicemen and three civilians in the LULU group were the ones the NVN identified as such and identified for "separate" treatment. Post-war inquiries questioning if all POWs had been released raised an issue that perhaps there were other POWs who had been kept separate from the main body of POWs whom had been captured in North or South Vietnam, or even Cambodia and Laos. While no "parallel" prison system was ever determined to have existed, the LULU experience was as close to "separate" treatment as could be identified.