Remains returned, identified 12/03/98
Name: Joseph Orville Brown
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: Detachment 3, 505th TAC Control Group
Date of Birth: 29 September 1934
Home City of Record: Norwalk CT
Date of Loss: 19 April 1966
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 173257N 1954157E (WE743404)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O1F
Refno:  0305
Other Personnel in Incident: Richard J. Robbins (missing from nearby A1E)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 July 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: In Southeast Asia, all tactical strike aircraft had to be under
the control of a 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, 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, and the Cessna O2.
On April 19, 1966, an O1F Bird Dog and a A1E Spad were lost near Na Pho in
Khammouane Province, Laos. Their precise missions are not clear from public
records, and in fact, the Air Force cannot determine the unit assignment of
the O1F pilot, Capt. Joseph O. Brown. Both Brown and the A1 pilot, Capt.
Richard J. Robbins were lost in hostile situations, and both are listed as
Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered.
The Air Force reports that Brown's aircraft was on a FAC mission when his
aircraft was struck by hostile fire. Brown then radioed that part of the
right horizontal stabilizer had been blown off, and that he was going to a
higher altitude. The aircraft was observed to roll twice while in a steep
dive and crash. No parachute was seen, but white smoke was seen to rise from
the crash site. Unspecified evidence was received by the Department of the
Air Force on April 24, 1966 to confirm that Capt. Brown died at the time of
the incident.
Brown and Robbins are among nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos. Even though
the Pathet Lao stated publicly that they held "tens of tens" of American
prisoners, not one American held in Laos was ever released. Tragically,
since U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ended, nearly 10,000 reports have
been received by the U.S. Government relating to Americans missing in
Southeast Asia. Many authorities have reluctantly concluded that hundreds
are still alive in captivity today. There is every indication that the Lao
can account for Robbins and Brown -- dead or alive. It's time we brought our
men home.
    No. 189-M
The remains of two American airmen previously unaccounted-for from the war
in Southeast Asia have been identified and are being returned to the United
States for burial.  They are identified as Air Force Col. Gregory I. Barras,
Jackson, Miss., and Air Force Capt. Joseph O. Brown, Norwalk, Conn.
Barras was flying his A-1H Skyraider on a night armed reconnaissance mission
on Dec. 18, 1968, over Khammouan Province, Laos.  The target of his flight
of aircraft was a truck convoy.  Barras radioed that he was beginning the
attack on the target, but in the darkness, eyewitness pilots saw only a
large flash near the target area followed by a series of explosions that
formed a line 200-300 meters long.  The other pilots were unable to
establish radio contact with Barras, and heard no emergency beepe r signals.
In the light of flares dropped from other aircraft, searchers could see only
wreckage of an aircraft, but no signs of a survivor.
In 1991, a joint team of specialists from the U.S. Joint Casualty Resolution
Center and from Laos interviewed a local informant in a small village near
the crash site.  He recalled burying an American pilot nearby amid the
widely scattered wreckage of an aircraft.  The team excavated the site and
found pilot-related items, personal effects and human remains.
Brown was the pilot of a O-1F Bird Dog aircraft flying a forward air control
mission over Khammouan Province, Laos, on April 19, 1966.  He radioed that
his aircraft's horizontal stabilizer had been shot away by enemy fire, and
was climbing to a higher altitude.  But as the crew of the other aircraft
watched, Brown's aircraft went into a dive, rolled twice and crashed.  They
saw no parachute and heard no emergency beeper signals.
Joint teams of U.S. and Laos specialists visited the area of the crash on
two occasions in 1994 and 1995.  Led by the Joint Task Force-Full
Accounting, the teams recovered pilot-related items, an aircraft data plate
from Brown's aircraft, as well as human remains.
Anthropological analysis of the remains and other evidence by the U.S. Army
Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii established the identification of
both Barras and Brown.
With the identification of these two Air Force officers, the remains of 507
Americans have been accounted for since 1973, and 2,076 are still
unaccounted-for from the war in Southeast Asia.  The U.S. government
welcomes and appreciates the cooperation of the government of the Lao
People's Democratic Republic which led to the accounting of these
Servicemen.  We hope that such cooperation will bring increased results in
the future.  Achieving the fullest possible accounting for these Americans
is of t he highest national priority.