BYNUM, NEIL STANLEY Name: Neil Stanley Bynum Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 29 August 1943 Home City of Record: Vian OK Date of Loss: 26 October 1969 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 171300N 1060800E (XE212041) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 1505 Other Personnel In Incident: Gray D. Warren (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. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: When North Vietnam began to increase their military strength in South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some years before. The border road, termed the "Ho Chi Minh Trail" was used for transporting weapons, supplies and troops. The communists poured through the Mu Gia, Bartholemy and Ban Karai Passes in the mountains along the border of Laos and Vietnam and went over into Laos and down the trail. As time went by, the NVA established substantial missile and AAA sites as well as logistic facilities near the passes as well as in a sector north of the DMZ. The passes were of special concern, as U.S. fighter planes were frequently routed through them when they were headed into Vietnam from Thailand. Efforts were continually being made to clear these areas. Hundreds of American pilots were shot down trying to stop this communist traffic to South Vietnam. Fortunately, search and rescue teams in Vietnam were extremely successful and the recovery rate was high. Still there were nearly 600 who were not rescued. Many were alive on the ground and in radio contact with search and rescue and other planes; some were known to have been captured. Hanoi's communist allies in Laos, the Pathet Lao, publicly spoke of American prisoners they held, but when peace agreements were negotiated, Laos was not included, and not a single American was released that had been held in Laos. On April 23, 1LT Neil S. Bynum and Capt. Gray D. Warren were flying an F4D Phantom on a mission near the Ban Karai pass when the plane was shot down. Both men were declared missing in action. It was felt that ample evidence existed that the enemy could account for both men. In 1973, when American prisoners were released, the families of those men lost in Laos were shocked to find that not one man had been released from Laos, although they had been told negotiations had included them. Many knew their man had survived, some had evidence of captivity. There has been no negotiated release of prisoners from Laos since the war ended. The nearly 600 Americans are still there, and tragically, reports continue to be received that some are still alive as captives. Neil Bynum and Gray Warren could be among them. It's long past time we brought our men home. Gray D. Warren graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1965. Neil S. Bynum was promoted to the rank of Captain during the period he was maintained missing.