WRIGHT, GARY GENE
Name: Gary Gene Wright
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Unit: Udorn AFB, Thailand
Date of Birth: 20 November 1930
Home City of Record: San Diego CA
Date of Birth: 17 January 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 205000N 1053000E (WJ589073)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: RF4C
Refno: 0570
Other Personnel In Incident:  Frederick Wozniak (missing)
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. Updated
by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1999.
REMARKS: A/C DISAP - NO TRACE OF CREW
SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served
a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2),
and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission
type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and
high altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes
around.
Maj. Gary G. Wright and his backseater, 1Lt. Frederick J. Wozniak, were
aboard an RF4C aircraft when it disappeared on an unarmed reconnaissance
mission over North Vietnam on January 17, 1967. The plane was lost in Than
Hoa Province.
That same day, Peking Radio announced that three American planes had been
downed over Hanoi on January 17. The announced location coincided with the
intended flight path of Wright's mission. While no names were given, there
is a reasonable possibility that Wright and Wozniak survived.
Wright and Wozniak were not among the prisoners of war that were released in
1973 by the Vietnamese. The Vietnamese deny any knowledge of them, though
circumstances surrounding their incident indicate the strong probability
that enemy forces knew their fates.
Alarmingly, evidence continues to mount that Americans were left as
prisoners in Southeast Asia and continue to be held today. Unlike "MIAs"
from other wars, most of the nearly 2500 men and women who remain missing in
Southeast Asia can be accounted for. If even one was left alive (and many
authorities estimate the numbers to be in the hundreds), we have failed as a
nation until and unless we do everything possible to secure his freedom and
bring him home.
Gary G. Wright was promoted to the rank of Colonel and Frederick J. Wozniak
was promoted to the rank of Major during the period they were maintained
Missing in Action.
------------------------------------------
From: Gary Wright <garyjen@bellsouth.net>
Date: Sunday, August 08, 1999 8:49 PM
Subject: America's Highest National Priority???
This letter is being sent to 35 people on my mailing list as further
proof that the US Government ignores evidence and information on
American POWs & MIAs until well enough after the fact that the trail
grows cold!
This December will be four years ago that our family received
information that in 1993, there were two photos discovered at the
Central Army Museum in Hanoi that showed the wreckage of an RF-4C and
dated 17.1.67. This information directly corresponds to my fathers case
#0570.
Since the time we received the photos, I have asked (begged) several
times that this evidence be followed up on. I was even asked to put my
request in writing and to specifically outline my questions, which I
did. One of the questions I had was that the "eye-witnesses" to a
suspected excavated crash site of my fathers be shown the photos and
asked if this is what the remember seeing.
None of my questions regarding these photos was ever answered.
I was in Washington DC for Fathers Day weekend this year and attended
some of the National Alliance Of Families meetings. One meeting had
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert L. Jones as a speaker. Mr.
Jones took questions after he spoke and I got in line to ask about these
photos. Mr. Jones assured me, on live CSPAN coverage, that he would do
everything in his power to put his hands on these photos when he went to
South East Asia the following week.
I received a letter from Mr.. Jones dated 22 Jul 1999 and I have
attached it here for you to see for yourself. One note of humor in this
letter, in the second paragraph, Mr.. Jones states "...photographs of
your father's aircraft wreckage [that you alleged] were on display".
Well GOSH! I had "alleged" they were there based on the information
provided to our family by his people!!!!! Regardless, after almost four
years of begging, guess what?? The Photos Are Not There!!!!! Read it
yourself, it is in the letter!
This incident has left a really bad taste in my mouth, not to mention
anger management control! I thought about using the recent Kennedy death
as an example here about the "Priority" thing, but will just plant the
seed instead of saying things that might be taken the wrong way. This is
not the first case of the Government taking it's time looking into
evidence until it is too late, but it sure shows a continuing Mindset
for that action. It took 26 years for this evidence to surface, from
1967 to 1993, I wonder how many years we will get to wait for the
Government to ignore something else!
*Note: The typos in the attached documents are a result of a problem
with the Document Scan feature of my scanner, I tried but was unable to
resolve this. I was going to manually correct it but it is legible
enough as it is.
*Note: The typos in the attached documents are a result of a problem
with the Document Scan feature of my scanner, I tried but was unable to
resolve this. I was going to manually correct it but it is legible
enough as it is.
Gary Wright
------------------------------
INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AFFAIRS
OFFICE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
2400 DEFENSE PENTAGON
WASHINGTON, DC 301-2400
22 July
In reply refer to:
1-99/08265
Mr. Gary Wright
14557 Phillips Highway
Jacksonville, FL 32256
Dear Mr. Wright:
I am writing to follow up on our conversation at the National Alliance
meeting concerning photographs of RF-4C aircraft wreckage relating to
the case of your father U.S. Air Force Major Gary C. Wright. In
reviewing our records we were able to ascertain that the photographs
indeed came from the Central Army Museum in Hanoi. They were located by
one of the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA) Archival Research
Teams that thoroughly combed the museum in the early I 990s.
Nevertheless, just a week after our meeting in June, my staff and I were
in Hanoi and went directly upon arrival unannounced to the Central Army
Museum to see if we could locate additional photographs of your father's
aircraft wreckage that you alleged were on display. We viewed every
photo album and board displayed by the museum, but none depicted a
RF-4C. I understand that the museum rotates the items exhibited from
time to time and maintains substantial files, whch is where most of the
photographs are kept. I directed the senior analyst assigned to the
JTF-FA Detachment to review the photograph files and to also examine
exhibits at another museum in Hanoi. Should he turn up any new
photographs, we will notify you.
The two photos we discussed that are on file in DPMO are in sequential
order in terms of the Archival Research Team's roll and frame numbers,
Roll 98/Frames 8-11, with the even numbered frames showing the front of
the photos and the odd numbers showing the backs. The back of each photo
also contains annotations presumably relating to the Vietnamese filing
system. These are HE 4691 329 and HE 468 327. Regrettably, there is no
way to tell whether or not these are sequential. We have been able to
interview several wartime photographers who have described to us how
they worked during wartime. They tell us that typically they were
dispatched to a crash site and required to take a few (3-4) photos. Most
would send the undeveloped film to Hanoi, but a few developed it and
then forwarded the photos. They often did not know how many photos came
out when developed, or which were preserved. In short, we cannot tell if
these are aH the photos that were taken at the scene of the crash or if
these are all that were saved.
The Joint Task Force has requested assistance from the Vietnamese Office
for Seeking Missing Persons on the pictures which were previously
discovered in the Hanoi museum. Unfortunately, the effort to identify
the individuals in the pictures has been unsuccessful.
However, we are confident that the crash site we located in Ha Tay
Province in 1995, is that of your father's RF-4C aircraft. Prov~ncial
documents, testimony from nine witnesses, and analysis of recovered
wreckage provide convincing evidence to correlate the site to your
father's loss incident. This site has been excavated and only minimal
remains were recovered. These remains are currently at the Central
Identification Laboratory in Hawaii for analysis. The Life Science
Equipment Laboratory in Texas is analyzing the life support artifacts
recovered at the site.
 I also thought you might be interested in the enclosed brochure from
the Vietnamese museum as well as the summary of information on your
father's loss and subsequent investigation. Be assured that all of the
dedicated professionals working on this important issue are doing their
utmost to provide your family with the resolution and peace you so
richly deserve.
Sincerely,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
(POW/Missing Personnel Affairs)
2 Enclosures:
1. Central Army Museum Brochure
2. Case Summary
cc: Air Force Casualty Office
Case Summary: On 17 Jan 1967, at approximately 13 hrs, Maj Gary G.
Wright, aircraft commander, and 1stLt Frederick Wozniak, pilot,
departed Udorn Airfield, Thailand, in an RF-4C on a daytime unarmed solo
photo reconnaissance mission. The intended target was a military radio
station (WJ 589 073), just inside Hoa Binh Province, North Vietnam.
After they left Udom, no kno~vn radio contact was made. Since there was
no contact after takeoff and after the a/c's fliel capacity was depleted
(3 hours), the aircraft and crew were declared missing. No visual
sightings or beeper signals were heard during the mission. An extensive
search was conducted along their intended flight path with negative
results. An electronic search also proved fruitless. NOTE: The only U.S.
aircraft lost over North Vietnam on l7January 1967 was Case 0570.
USG Information: The entnes in the White/Pink pages were derived from
the initial debrief of returnee Michael S. Kerr who reported that he
heard Wright's name mentioned by Air Force 1st Lieutenant Ronald Mastin.
A review of both returnees' debriefs indicates that Wright's and
Wozniak's names came up not as POWs, but rather as having been shot
down.
FBIS monitored Radio Hanoi broadcasts on 17 January 1967 that reported
the shootdown of four planes: 3 downed in Hanoi (including one drone)
and 1 in Ha Tay Province. There is no mention of crew status. Case 0570
was the only loss in NVN on i7Janl967.
Special reporting, between 06-0623Z (13-1323 North Vietnam local time)
on 17 Jan 67, tells of the shootdown of an aircraft 1 ONM SW of Hanoi by
an AAA unit co-located with a SAM site. No crew status or aircraft type
was given. (NOTE: The 0570 site has been found and excavated; the site
is 1 3NM SW of Hanoi city's edge.)
Joint Investigations: - 12/91, It <I>15: while investigating Case
0732, a witness provided a limited hearsay account of a crash incident
near Cot Coi Hamlet (XJ 4676), Tan Thanli Village, Huu Lung District,
Lang Son Province. JTF analysts believed at that time that the crash
site at Cot Coi Hamlet might be that of Case OS 70. A witness ~ung Ngoc
Tu) stated that in 1977 bones from this site were turned over to
Ministry of National Defense. ((Site was later determined to relate to
Case 0732.))
-02/93: JTF ART Team attempted to locate people in two photographs that
were found in the Hanoi Central Army Military Museum (JTF-FA Msg 1902Z
Feb 93). These photos correlate to this case based on annotations on
reverse side (17.1.67, the date of the 0570 loss). The aircraft depicted
is in fact an RF-4C.
-11/94, It 32: The Joint team reinvestigated a crash site near Cot Coi
Hamlet (XJ 4676) to continue to pursue it for information. After
interviewing several witnesses and surveying the site, the team obtained
no new information and believes the site is associated with Refno 0732
afterall. NOTE: In July 1988 the SRV repatriated the above remains (see
It 15) later identified as those of 1 Lt Pearson, Robert H., case
0732-02.
-01/95, It 33: The purpose of this investigation was to canvas residents
of Thanh Binh Village (vic WJ 6511), Ha Tay Province. According to a Ha
Tay Province record, an FlOS aircraft was downed in this viHage on 17
Jan 67, but the Case 0570 RF-4C was the only aircraft downed on this
date.
Team interviewed four witnesses Cbuong My District who provided
information which generally correlates with U.S. records for Case
0570--afternoon early-mid 1967.
Tran Van Ho said the said the aircraft was downed at about 1500 during
June-July 1967; no parachutes. He speculated two crewmembers died
because he saw "one arm protruding from one side of the wreckage and
another arm from the other side in a different portion of the burning
wreckage." He believed the fire destroyed the remains. He never heard of
anyone finding remains.
Nguyen Van Thang stated that he pulled a portion of a crewmembers lower
torso (cm x 30cm) from the burning wreckage. He said there was a belt
with a pistol around the flesh. He claimed to have buried the torso in a
80cm deep foxhole 6-7 meters from the wreckage. He said there were two
pistols found.
Vu Dinh Lay believed that there were two crewmembers because; villagers
found two pistols and two possible knives (melted metal) after the
wreckage stopped burning. He had no knowledge of remains at the
site.
Nguyen Binh ~beu said fire had destroyed the wreckage by the time he
went to the site the day after the crash. He had no knowledge of remains
burial, of personal equipment or effects. He identified Can Van Le as a
potential source.
Witnesses led the team to a crashsite at WJ63 319 11746 and a possible
grave site at WJ 63293 11787. Team found canopy glass
-12 Jun 95 JJF Ltr: JTF-FA analysts unable to identify armed individuals
in photos of RF-4C wreckage.
-10/95, It 38: Joint Team excavated a crashsite (48Q WJ 63319 11746) and
gravesite associated with this case in Thuy Xuan Tien Village, Chuong My
District, Ha Tay Province. Team recovered two human bone fragments less
than 12 centimeters long (remains repatriated 21 Nov 95) (to CILHI).
Aircraft wreckage consistent with, but not exclusive to, an F-4 type
aircraft was found. Possible 3Smm film was also recovered at the
excavation site. Aircrew-related life support equipment was recovered
indicating that at least one crewmember was in the aircraft when it
crashed. NOTE: Later wreckage analysis showed that part numbers identify
the site as an F-4. Case 0570 is the only incident within 30 kilometers
which could match these circumstances.) Aircrew items found were sent to
the Life Science Laboratory at Kelly AFB, TX in March 1996.
Team interviewed five witnesses. Mieu, Ho, Lay and Thang provided
information consistent with that offered in It 33. Nguyen Xuan, a new
witness, stated that he saw "small pieces of burnt flesh and bone
throughout the site." He had no knowledge of any burial.
-04/96, It 40: Interviewed witness, Can Van Le, identified during It 33.
He said that at approximately 1500 hrs, in Jan/Feb 67, a U.S. airplane
crashed near Thuy Xuan Tien Village, Chuong My District, Ha Tay
Province. Mr. Le's commander, Captain Nguyen Dinh Duc (now deceased)
sent Mr. Le to investigate this crashsite. Mr. Le stated that he rode
his bike to the village and told the militia commander to gather
wreckage into a pile and bury the remains of a pilot. He said that there
were only small peices of flesh. He saw no personal effects. He stated
also that he later received a revolver from a village militia cadre ~FI)
who said it was discovered in arice field. The revolver was 6 inches
long and contained six bullets. The revolver was black and had a hole at
the end of the pistol handle for a lanyard. Once he turned weapon over
to higher headquarters, he knew nothing more of what happened to it. He
verbally notified his commander, who in turn called Ha Tay ProVince
Headquarters and verbally briefed them on the crash site.
11/96 JTF-FA Ltr: On three occasions, JTF-FA asked the VNPSMP to
investigate the aircraft pictures discovered in the Hanoi museum. No
information has been received.
Unilateral information:
- 12/ 92: SRV provided a document titled "Ha Tay Province Record of
Downed U.S. Aircraft from 1965 to 1967." Line entry 17 correlates to
Case 0570 based on date and location of loss. The entry states that the
plane was shot down by a missile and two died in the aircraft. "17;
01/17/67; CHUONG MY; Missile; Fl OS; THANH BINH (Village), TIEN AN
~am~t); Hanoi." NOTE: Thanh Birth Village is contiguous with Thuy Xuan
Tien Village. The Case 0570 crashsite has been confirmed within a few
hundred meters of the Thanh Birth Village boundary, as the boundary is
now defined.
- 1993: Photographs of a downed aircraft, from the Central Army Museum
probably correlates to REFNO 0570 based on annotations on back of
photo's (...Arn. Plane downed 17.1.67 at Hanoi), type of aircraft
(unique camera window on RF-4C), date of loss (17 Jan 1967), and
general location. There were no other U.S. losses in North Vietnam on 17
Jan 1967. NOTE: JTFFA efforts to identify individuals in these photos
were unsuccessful.
-06/95: Vietnamese MOI documents turned over include two which
correlate to case 0570 based on date, location, and number of crew
members. Although clearly related to this case, the a/c type is in
error.
The first, the "Ha Tay Public Security Office Report," details numbers
of aircraft shot down and American pilots' graves. Entry #17 reports the
downing of an F-i OS in Tien An Hamlet in THUY XUAN TIEN Township),
Chuong My District, Ha Tay Province.
Entry 2 on the "American Air Pirate's Graves list," included in the
above report, states that on 07 January two pilots flying an F- 105 were
buried at Jien An, Chuong My.
Entry 17 on the Report by the Ha Tay Public Security Office in January
1973 also recdrds numbers of aircraft shot down in Ha Tay and pilots'
graves: An F-i OS crashed at Tien An, Chuong My, on January 17, 1967.
Two pilots were listed as having died in the crash.
Further Pursuit: 3/12199
CILHI: Remains under analysis.
JTF-FA: Awaiting Life Science Laboratory analysis of wreckage.