PUGH, DENNIS GERRARD Name: Dennis Gerrard Pugh Rank/Branch: 02/US Air Force Unit: 25th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Ubon Thailand Date of Birth: 10 February 1944 Home City of Record: Salina KS Date of Loss: 19 March 1970 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 173100N 1054400E (WE800400) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 1573 Other Personnel In Incident: (pilot rescued) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 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: SYNOPSIS: Dennis Gerard Pugh was born on February 10, 1944 in Hutchison, Kansas. He attended grade school at New Cambria and high school in Salina, where he graduated in 1962. He attended Boy's State in Wichita and went to the University of Kansas for one year before being appointed to the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs. Two of his classmates at the Academy who were also shot down and remain missing - Mike Bosiljevac and Samuel Larry James - were wearing POW bracelets bearing the name of Dennis Pugh at the time they were shot down. Dennis graduated from the Academy in 1967 and attended UCLA where he completed his master's degree in qualitative analysis-mathematical methods. From UCLA, Dennis went to Mather AFB in Sacramento where he took navigator's training. He attended Combat Crew Training and Survival schools before he went overseas. On September 15, 1969, Dennis was sent to Ubon, Thailand, to fly F4s, something he had always dreamed of doing. While flying as weapons/systems officer on a Forward Air Controller mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos March 19, 1970, Pugh's aircraft was shot down. He and his pilot ejected safely from the aircraft. Contact was made with both crew members on the ground, and Pugh reported that the pilot was injured, but that he was in good shape. Search efforts were terminated due to darkness and intense enemy activity in the area. When rescue efforts resumed at first light, Pugh reported being surrounded by enemy. Numerous rescue attempts were repulsed by enemy fire. Eventually, radio contact with Pugh was lost. After March 21, the pilot of the aircraft was rescued, but Pugh could not be located. There has been no further word of Dennis Pugh. His family has worked to obtain more information on Dennis since he went missing. As the evidence increasing that Americans ARE alive in Southeast Asia, Pugh's family wonders if he is still alive. The question remains, "Where is Dennis Pugh?" There is every reason to believe that the communist governments of Southeast Asia know the answer. -------------------------------------------------- [ssrep7.txt 02/09/93] SMITH 324 COMPELLING CASES Laos Dennis G. Pugh (1573) On March 19, 1970, Captain Richard A. Rash and First Lieutenant Pugh were the crew in an F-4D on a combat mission over Khammouane Province. They were hit by hostile ground fire and ejected from their aircraft in an area approximately 15 kilometers south of the Mu Gia Pass. Airborne search and rescue forces established contact with both of them on the ground but were unable to recover them due to darkness. The next day SAR forces reestablished contact with Lieutenant Pugh who reported that hostile forces were within ten meters of his position. He requested the SAR forces place ordnance on his position and he then held down the transmit key on his radio. Then, excited Asian voices were heard followed by 15 to 20 shots being fired, followed by silence. Ordnance was placed on his position as he requested and there was no further contact with him. Captain Rash was rescued on March 21st and reported hearing the sound of small arms fire from Lieutenant Rash's location after which he lost radio contact with him. Further efforts to locate Lieutenant Pugh were unsuccessful and he was declared missing in action. Returning U.S. POWs had no information on the eventual fate of Lieutenant Pugh. He was later declared killed in action, body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death. In 1984, U.S. intelligence received information from a source describing the shoot down of an aircraft in which one pilot was rescued and one was taken prisoner. This report was believed to possibly correlate to this loss incident although Captain Rash and the SAR pilots believed Lieutenant Pugh had died.