BOLTZE, BRUCE EDWARD Name: Bruce Edward Boltze Rank/Branch: W2/US Marine Corps Unit: SU1, 1 Anglico Date of Birth: 31 January 1938 Home City of Record: Flint MI Date of Loss: 06 October 1972 Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water Loss Coordinates: 161357N 1080958E (AT971966) Status (in 1973): Body Not Recovered Category: 5 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: OV10A Refno: 1933 Other Personnel In Incident: Carl O. McCormick (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: All tactical strike aircraft operating in Southeast Asia had to be under the control of a Forward Air Control (FAC), who was intimately familiar with the locale, the populous, and the tactical situation. The FAC would find the target, order up U.S. fighter/bombers from an airborne command and control center or ground based station, mark the target accurately with white phosphorus (Willy Pete) rockets, and control the operation throughout the time the planes remained on station. After the fighters had departed, the FAC stayed over the target to make a bomb damage assessment (BDA). The FAC also had to ensure that there were no attacks on civilians, a complex problem in a war where there were no front lines and any hamlet could suddenly become part of the combat zone. A FAC needed a fighter pilot's mentality, but but was obliged to fly slow and low in such unarmed and vulnerable aircraft as the Cessna O1 Bird Dog, the Cessna O2 and the North American OV10 Bronco. The OV10 Bronco was among the aircraft most feared by the Viet Cong and NVA forces, because whenever the Bronco appeared overhead, an air strike seemed certain to follow. Although the glassed-in cabin could become uncomfortably warm, it provided splendid visibility. The two-man crew had armor protection and could use machine guns and bombs to attack, as well as rockets to mark targets for fighter bombers. This versatility enabled the plane to fly armed reconnaissance missions, in addition to serving as vehicle for forward air controllers. Air Force LTC Carl O. McCormick was the pilot and CWO Bruce E. Boltze the spotter in an OV10A Bronco helping to direct Naval gunfire near the city of Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam on October 6, 1972. During the operation, the aircraft was seen to explode (cause unknown) and to fall into the South China Sea where it disintegrated upon impact. A quantity of debris was recovered, along with partial human remains, but the remains could not be identified as either McCormick or Boltze. The Marine Corps states that neither man could have survived the catastrophic explosion and disintegration of the helicopter. Because their remains were not recovered, they are carried on the roll of the missing. For Boltze and McCormick, death seems a certainty. For hundreds of others, however, simple answers are not possible. Adding to the torment of nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia is the certain knowledge that some Americans who were known to be prisoners of war were not released at the end of the war. Others were suspected to be prisoners, and still others were in radio contact with would-be rescuers when last seen alive. Many were known to have survived their loss incidents, only to disappear without a trace. The problem of Americans still missing torments not only the families of those who are missing, but the men who fought by their sides, and those in the general public who realize the full implication of leaving men unaccounted for at the end of a war. Tragically, many authorities believe there are hundreds of Americans still alive in captivity in Southeast Asia today. What must they be thinking of us? What will our next generation say if called to fight if we are unable to bring these men home from Southeast Asia?