NORDAHL, LEE EDWARD Name: Lee Edward Nordahl Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy Unit: Date of Birth: 18 June 1939 Home City of Record: Choteau MT Date of Loss: 20 December 1965 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 205806N 1070400E (XJ931196) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: RA5C Refno: 0215 Other Personnel In Incident: Guy D. Johnson (remains returned 1977) 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. REMARKS: DEAD/AR 6 918 7587 74 SYNOPSIS: LCdr. Guy D. Johnson was the pilot of a Vigilante (RA5C version) assigned a reconnaissance mission near Hon Gay city in Quang Ninh Province, North Vietnam on December 20, 1965. His co-pilot on the mission was Lt.JG Lee E. Nordahl. The Vigilante carried reconnaissance equipment and was to gather intelligence over North Vietnam, which would subsequently be fed into shipboard computers for later mission planning. During the mission, the aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed. Intelligence was received later which indicated that the two crewmen were dead, but was not totally confirmed, and they were listed Missing in Action. In 1977, the Vietnamese "discovered" the remains of Guy D. Johnson and returned them to American control. The obvious question is, if Johnson was recovered, why not Nordahl? For 12 years, the Vietnamese have denied knowledge of the fate of Guy Johnson and Lee Nordahl, even though the U.S. believes the Vietnamese could account for them. Disturbing testimony was given to Congress in 1980 that the Vietnamese "stockpiled" the remains of Americans to return at politically advantageous times. Was Johnson waiting in a casket, for just such a moment? Even more disturbing are the over 10,000 reports received by the U.S. relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many authorities who have examined this information (largely classified), have reluctantly come to the conclusion that many Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia. Could Nordahl be among them? Perhaps the most compelling questions when remains are returned are, "Is it really who they say it is?", and "How -- and when -- did he die?" As long as reports continue to be received which indicate Americans are still alive in Indochina, we can only regard the return of remains as a politically expedient way to show "progress" on accounting for American POW/MIAs. As long as reports continue to be received, we must wonder how many are alive, and why they aren't home. Guy D. Johnson was promoted to the rank of Captain and Lee E. Nordahl to the rank of Lieutenant Commander during the period they were maintained missing.