LONO, LUTHER ALBERT
Remains returned 02/11/2000 id announced 07/16/01.
Name: Luther Albert Lono
Rank/Branch: O4/US Marine Corps
Unit: VMA 242, MAG 11
Date of Birth: 12 June 1931
Home City of Record: Tacoma WA (family in HI)
Date of Loss: 29 September 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 161500N 1065700E (XD678036)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A
Refno: 1495
Other Personnel In Incident: Patrick R. Curran (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 2001.
REMARKS:
SYNOPSIS: On 29 September, 1969, Maj. Luther A. Lono, pilot; and 1Lt.
Patrick R. Curran, bombardier navigator were dispatched aboard an A6A to
conduct an armed reconnaissance mission in support of Seventh U.S. Air Force
operations over Laos. The mission was under the control of an Air Force
Airborne Tactical Air Control aircraft, and was to be conducted in a heavily
defended enemy area.
The mission proceeded without incident until 8:50 p.m., at which time the
Airborne Tactical Air Control aircraft lost contact with the Lono/Curran
aircraft. Their last radio contact had been about 25 miles west of Khe Sanh.
Attempts to contact the aircraft were unsuccessful, and at 10:30 p.m., the
commanding officer of the 11th Aircraft Group 11 declared them "overdue".
At this declaration, electronic search efforts began for the crew members,
and a signal was received by the Tactical Air Control aircraft at 0248 hours
on September 30 which was believed to be a signal from an emergency
transmitter. Subsequent attempts to contact the crew were unsuccessful. A
visual search began at dawn on September 30, but no sign of the crew or
aircraft was found.
According to Curran's mother, Curran and Lono's aircraft quietly landed in
heavily-guarded enemy territory that night, and was taken intact. Curran and
Lono were either captured at that time, or executed. They were alive. Mrs.
Curran believes her son is still alive, and has worked tirelessly to free
him and others she believes also to be alive. Both Curran and Lono were
declared Missing in Action.
Nearly 600 Americans were lost in Laos, but because the U.S. did not
recognize the communist government there, we did not negotiate for the "tens
of tens" of American prisoners the Pathet Lao stated that they held. As a
result, not one American prisoner held in Laos ever returned.
Since the end of the war, nearly 10,000 reports of Americans missing in
Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government, convincing many
authorities that hundreds are still languishing in communist prisons.
Luther Lono and Patrick Curran understood that undertaking the missions they
flew might mean they could be killed, wounded or captured. It probably never
crossed their minds that the country they proudly served would abandon them.
=========================================
UPDATE LINE: July 31, 2001
Thank you for calling the National League of Families Update Line.  This
message is being recorded Monday, July 31st.  According to the Department of
Defense, there are now 1,957 Americans missing and unaccounted for from the
Vietnam War.
On July 16th, the League learned that two Americans whose remains were
jointly recovered in Laos and repatriated on February 11, 2000 are now
accounted for. One, Major Luther A. Lono, USMC, was from WA, and the NOK of
the other requested that the name of the other not be publicly announced.