MORGAN, BURKE HENDERSON
MORGAN, BURKE HENDERSON Remains Identified 10/2005
Name: Burke Henderson Morgan Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: (unknown, per USAF) Date of Birth: 04 June 1936 Home City of Record: Manitou Springs CO Date of Loss: 22 August 1967 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 193830N 1033345E (UG490720) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A26A Refno: 0802 Other Personnel in Incident: John C.G. Kerr (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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 2006.
SYNOPSIS: The Douglas A26 was a twin-engine attack bomber with World War II service. In Vietnam, it served the French in the 1950's and also the U.S. in the early years of American involvement in Southeast Asia. In 1966, eight A26's were deployed to Nakhon Phanom to perform hunter-killer missions against truck convoys in southern Laos.
Maj. John C.G. Kerr was the pilot and Capt. Burke H. Morgan the navigator of an A26A aircraft assigned a mission over the Plain of Jars region of Laos on August 22, 1967. The Plain of Jars had long been controlled by the communist Pathet Lao and a continual effort had been made by the secret CIA-directed force of some 30,000 indigenous tribesmen to strengthen anti-communist strongholds there. The U.S. committed millions of dollars to the secret war in Laos. Details of this secret operation were not released until August 1971.
During the mission radar and radio contact was lost with Kerr and Morgan, and they were declared missing at the time of estimated fuel exhaustion. About four years later, unspecified evidence was received by the Department of the Air Force that both men died at the time of the incident. They were at that time declared Killed in Action.
Because Laos was "neutral" and because the U.S. continued to state they were not at war with Laos (although we were regularly bombing North Vietnamese traffic along the border and conducted assaults against communist strongholds thoughout the country at the behest of the anti-communist government of Laos), and the U.S. did not recognize the Pathet Lao as a government entity, the nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos were never recovered.
The Pathet Lao stated that they would release the "tens of tens" of American prisoners they held only from Laos. At war's end, no American held in Laos was released - or negotiated for.
Mounting evidence indicates that hundreds of Americans are still alive in captivity in Southeast Asia. They proudly served their country and deserve better than abandonment.
Burke H. Morgan was promoted to the rank of Major during the period he was maintained missing.
April 12, 2006
PERSONNEL ACCOUNTED FOR FROM THE VIETNAM WAR: According to the Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO), seven US personnel have been accounted for since our November Newsletter. The remains of Colonel Harold B. Lineberger, USAF, from Austin, TX, listed as MIA in Cambodia on January 29, 1971, were recovered from an isolated grave site March 11, 1997, and identified December 5, 2005. Remains of Major Jack L. Barker, Waycross, GA, Captain John F. Dugan, Roselle, NJ, Sergeant John J. Chubb, Gardena, CA and Sergeant William E. Dillender, Naples, FL, all US Army personnel listed as KIA/BNR in Laos March 30, 1971, were recovered December 12, 2002 and identified August 30, 2005. The remains of Technical Sergeant Patrick L. Shannon, USAF, from Owasso, OK, listed as KIA/BNR March 11, 1968, were recovered April 7, 2003 and identified October 31, 2005. And finally, the remains of Captain Burke H. Morgan, USAF, from Manitou Springs, CO, listed as KIA/BNR in Laos August 22, 1967, were recovered February 17, 2005 and identified October 31, 2005. To each of these families, the League extends support and hope that this final answer brings long-awaited peace of mind. To the Lao and Cambodian governments, the League extends gratitude and optimism that cooperation will continue to increase, despite current US funding challenges (see below).
NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 883-06 IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 08, 2006 Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132 Public/Industry(703) 428-0711
Airmen Missing in Action From the Vietnam
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
Air Force Maj. Burke H. Morgan, U.S. Air Force, of Manitou Springs, Colo., was buried Sept. 7 beside his wife, Mary, at the U.S. Air Force Academy.The service there coincided with his U.S. Air Force Academy graduating class' 45th reunion.
On Aug. 22, 1967, Morgan and a fellow officer took off from Nakhon Phanom air base, Thailand, in their A-26A Invader on an armed reconnaissance mission over Laos.The crew had radio contact on their mission shortly after midnight, but were neither seen nor heard from again.Electronic and visual searches of their last-reported location in Xiangkhoang Province, as well as over the planned flight path, did not locate the missing aircraft.
A joint U.S.-Lao People's Democratic Republic team traveled to the province in 1993 to interview three informants about various crash sites.The men recalled the 1967 crash, as well as the burial of the crew members.They also stated that one of the bodies was disinterred by unknown persons in 1986.
Four years later, another joint U.S.-Lao team resurveyed the original crash site, and requested that the Lao government conduct a unilateral investigation.The Lao government was able to confirm that some remains were exhumed in the mid-1980s, and promised to continue its investigation.
Then in 2002, Lao government officials reported that the remains had been turned over to a Lao official in 1987 or 1988, but that the official had since died.His driver, however, had possession of those remains and had been holding them in safekeeping awaiting directions from authorities.
Scientists of the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command were able to identify those remains using a variety of forensic methods, including analysis of skeletal and dental remains.
For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.
======================== Sat, 09 Sep '06
An American Hero Is Laid To Rest Sat, 09 Sep '06
Family And Country Waited 39 Years For Closure Major Burke Morgan was a graduate of the US Air Force Academy who married his high-school sweetheart, Mary Craig, the day after receiving his Lieutenant's bars. They had two children, Dana and Kyle.
According to the Academy Spirit, after earning the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1963, Major Morgan, a Navigator, was killed on August 22, 1967 when his A-26 crashed in the Plain of Jars region in Laos. Unknown at the time, he survived the crash, but he and his pilot were killed by enemy soldiers. Four years later, after receiving unspecified information, the Department of the Air Force declared them both Killed In Action. Since then, Mrs. Craig (who had remarried), Dana and Kyle have waited for further word of his fate.
Mrs. Craig died in February after fighting a long illness, and after learning last November that the Pentagon's POW-Missing Personnel office had learned what happened to her husband. They told her a former driver of an official in Laos had held the Major's remains since the war without knowing what to do with them.
Major Morgan's son, Kyle Craig (adopted by his step-father), was just a toddler when his father died. He only knows his father from stories told him by his mother, "Heroic stories," he recalled.
He told the Associated Press he believes his mother fought her illness until she learned of Major Morgan's fate. "It was great closure for her. She finally had all the answers she needed."
Major Morgan finally received the recognition accorded to America's fallen. The US Air Force Academy Class of 1961, Major Morgan's class, held their 45-year reunion to honor his memory.
This past Thursday morning, while his former classmates and family looked on, 60 "Patriot Guard Riders," local members of a nationwide group, dismounted after riding their motorcycles into the chapel drive. Taking positions around the overlook and steps of the chapel, they unfurled flags and mutely stood post.
Then, following a moving ceremony in the shadow of the Academy's cadet chapel, with USAF jets flying a missing-man formation overhead, Major Burke Morgan, a true American Hero, was finally laid to rest next to his wife Mary.
ANN salutes Major Morgan, and sincerely thanks all those who serve so selflessly to preserve our great country.