CHAVEZ, GARY ANTHONY Name: Gary Anthony Chavez Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Udorn AB TH Date of Birth: 23 September 1943 Home City of Record: New York NY Date of Loss: 30 July 1970 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 151300N 1064900E (XB987810) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: RF4C Refno: 1652 Other Personnel in Incident: Donald A. Brown (missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 April 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: 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 and reconnaissance. 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. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around. Capt. Gary A. Chavez and Capt. Donald A. Brown were pilots assigned to the 14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron at Udorn Airbase, Thailand. On July 30, 1970, Chavez and Brown were assigned an operational mission over Laos. Chavez served as pilot in their RF4C while Brown was the navigator. Chavez and Brown did not return to friendly control when expected. Their last known location was just east of the ridge which marks the Plateau des Bolovens in Attopeu Province, Laos. Both men were declared Missing in Action. The war continued about three more years, and the families of the men missing in action and prisoner of war waited for the war to end. The Pathet Lao stated publicly that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners. Only a handful were known by name or photographed in captivity. No letters came home from the men in Laos. In early 1973, Henry Kissinger, President Nixon's chief negotiator with the Vietnamese, informed the families that agreements would soon be signed. When queried about the men lost in Laos, Cambodia and China, Kissinger replied, "What do you think took so long?" In the spring of 1973, 591 Americans were released from communist prisoner of war camps. No Americans held in Laos were released. The U.S. had failed to negotiate with Laos, Cambodia and China. Nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos had been abandoned--even those who were known to be alive. Donald A. Brown was promoted to the rank of Major during the period he was maintained missing. He was continued in MIA status until October 1973, at which time he was declared dead based on no specific information to the contrary.