BEZOLD, STEVEN NEIL
Name: Steven Neil Bezold
Rank/Branch: O2/US Army
Unit: HHB, 2nd Btn, 94th Artillery, 108th Artillery Group
Date of Birth: 12 June 1944 (Hermann MO)
Home City of Record: McKittrick MO
Date of Loss: 29 October 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 165627N 1065614E (YD063739)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: Donald L. Harrison (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 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.
SYNOPSIS: On the afternoon of October 29, 1968, 1LT Donald L. Harrison,
pilot, and 1LT Steven N. Bezold, observer, were flying in a Cessna O1G Bird
Dog observation plane (tail #57-6027), with another O1G on an artillery
adjustment mission over the DMZ.
As the two planes entered the mission area, they were briefed by departing
aircraft who had been receiving anti-aircraft flak from the northern edge of
the mission area. Lt. Harrison worked the southern end of the Demilitarized
Zone (DMZ) while the other aircraft went north to try to find the source of
the anti-aircraft fire.
The northern aircraft, while observing for a pair of fighter aircraft on a
gun position, had a malfunction and could not mark the target, so the
observer pilots agreed to trade area locations. During the change, as the
aircraft passed each other, 1LT Harrison's plane was hit in the left rear
cockpit area, between the pilot and the observer. The aircraft continued
straight for a few seconds, and then started a slow descending right turn.
The turn became tighter as the descent rate increased until impact. There
were no radio transmissions from Harrison's plane after it was hit.
Due to approaching darkness, and the difficulty in locating the crash site,
only an electronic search could be made that night. The next day, the downed
plane's wing and fuselage were located and vehicle tracks around the
wreckage were seen. It appeared that the wreckage had been moved to a more
visible location in order to draw rescue aircraft into a trap. As aircraft
went near the wing, intense anti-aircraft fire was received. No contact was
ever made with the crew. The area was never searched because of intense
hostility in the area.
When 591 Americans were released from Vietnamese prisons at the end of the
war, Bezold and Harrison were not among them. They are among nearly 2400 who
are still missing in Southeast Asia.
Tragically, over 10,000 reports relating to Americans prisoner, missing, or
unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government,
convincing many experts that hundreds of Americans are still alive, waiting
for their country to come for them. Steven Bezold and Donald Harrison could
be among them. It's time we brought our men home.
Donald Harrison was promoted to the rank of Major and Steven Bezold to the
rank of Captain during the period they were maintained missing.