COTTEN, LARRY WILLIAM Name: Larry William Cotten Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force Unit: 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron Date of Birth: 19 March 1945 Home City of Record: Nashville TN Date of Loss: 09 March 1970 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 152029N 1071429E (YB406972) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E Refno: 1570 Other Personnel in Incident: Lothar G.T. Terla (missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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. 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. Lothar Terla was an F4 pilot assigned to the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn Airbase, Thailand. On March 9, 1970, he was assigned an operational mission which took him over Attopeu Province, Laos. His bombardier/navigator on the flight was 1Lt. Larry W. Cotten. When the aircraft was about 10 miles southeast of Chavane, it was hit by enemy fire and crashed. An electronic search was made of the area to locate the crash site and any survivors, but none were found. The crashed aircraft was later found, and it was determined that Cotten and Terla could not have survived the incident. This determination was made on unspecified information which was received by the Department of the Air Force. The Air Force believes that Cotten and Turla did not survive. They are listed among the missing because their remains were never found. They are among nearly 600 Americans who were lost in Laos. Since the U.S. did not recognize the communist government faction which captured and held Americans in Laos, no negotiations were conducted to secure their freedom. Consequently, not a single American held by the Lao was ever released. 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?