CLEVER, LOUIS JOHN
Remains Returned (see text update 2015)
Name: Louis John Clever
Rank/Branch: E6/US Air Force
Unit: 6994th Security Squadron
Date of Birth: 24 July 1936
Home City of Record: Westmoreland City PA
Family states New Kensington, PA - Westmoreland County
Date of Loss: 05 February 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 152600N 1064700E (approx)
Status (in 1973): Killed In Action
Other Personnel in Incident: Hugh L. Sherburn; Robert E. Olson; Harry T.
Niggle; Clarence L. McNeill; Homer M. Lynn Jr.; Walter F. Burke; James V.
Dorsey Jr.; Rodney H. Gott; Wilton N. Hatton (all reported KIA)
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 2015.
REMARKS: ** NOT ON MISSING LISTS **
SYNOPSIS: The Douglas C47 was designed as a transport, gunship, and
electronic or regular reconnaissance aircraft, depending on the
configuration. The aircraft served in World War II and served French forces
in Indochina in the 1950's, and returned to Vietnam at the outset of
American involvement there.
On February 5, 1969, an EC47 (electronic surveillance) departed Pleiku
Airbase, Republic of Vietnam on a tactical reconnaissance mission over Laos.
The aircraft crew included LtCol. Harry T. Niggle, Capt. Walter F. Burke,
Major Robert E. Olson, Major Homer M. Lynn Jr., MSgt. Wilton N. Hatton,
SSgt. Rodney H. Gott, TSgt. Louis J. Clever, SSgt. James V. Dorsey Jr.,
SSgt. Hugh L. Sherburn (radio operator on the aircraft), and Sgt. Clarence
L. McNeill. The last radio contact with the aircraft was at 8:10 a.m. at
which time it was located about 21 miles west-northwest of the city of
Chavane in Saravane Province, Laos.
When the aircraft failed to make a scheduled stop at Phu Bai Airport near
Hue shortly before noon, search efforts were initiated to locate the
aircraft. During the remainder of the day and for six succeeding days,
extensive communication and ramp checks were made, as well as a visual
search of the area from the last known position of the aircraft through its
intended flight path. Because no information was forthcoming which would
reveal the whereabouts of the missing aircraft and crew, the search was then
In the fall of 1969, the wreckage of an EC47 was located in a jungle-covered
mountainous area in the approximate last known location of Sherburn's
aircraft. The wreckage site was searched, and remains and a number of items
were recovered. These items were later correlated to Sherburn's aircraft.
The Department of the Air Force believes that the aircraft was faced with a
sudden airborne emergency since the right wing of the aircraft was found
some 500 meters from the main wreckage site. It was believed that the engine
caught fire causing the wing to separate from the fuselage while the
aircraft was still in the air. Further, the Air Force states that although
the crew members had parachutes, it is unlikely that the apparent suddenness
of the emergency would have permitted anyone to abandon the aircraft. The
absence of emergency radio signals further diminished the hope that any of
the crew members could have survived.
At this time, the Air Force declared the ten men onboard the aircraft to be
dead, and so notified the families. The remains found at the crash site were
interred in a single grave at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St.
Louis. Military officials told eight of the families that the remains of
only two individuals had been identified, but would not reveal those
identities to them. (It is assumed that the families of the two individuals
identified were informed.)
In February 1970, the Sherburn family was informed that the remains found at
the crash site were skeletal and commingled, and that Air Force
identification specialists were unable to determine that they had a
composite of ten individuals -- and were unable to establish the identity of
any of the remains.
About the same time the crew of the EC47 was being interred in St. Louis,
another mass burial was conducted, containing 18 USMC and Navy personnel. On
January 28, 1973, PFC Ronald Ridgeway, one of those 18 "dead and buried"
servicemen, was released alive from a POW camp in Hanoi. The U.S. had not
known that he was a prisoner of war.
Although the relatives found little hope in Ridgeway's return, some thought
it entirely possible that others might have escaped with Ridgeway. How many
others, some family members wondered, had been captured without the U.S.
If such a thing could happen to the Marine and Navy group, what about the
EC47 lost in Laos? Unfortunately, when the war ended, no American held in
Laos was released. The U.S. has not negotiated the freedom of a single man
the Pathet Lao asserted they held prisoner in Laos.
The U.S. Government has never changed its position on the Marines, Navy and
Air Force personnel interred in mass graves in St. Louis, and has continued
to state unequivocally that they were killed in action because the families
could not produce proof otherwise. Although the government lacked positive
evidence that most of these men were dead, its assumption that they were
dead overruled any assumption that they might be alive. The Marine Corps has
admitted that some of those "buried" men could have been captured, but that
it is doubtful. Even though considerable doubt surrounds the identification
of the men buried in St. Louis, and, indeed, some of them might have
survived, official status change has been denied.
Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports of Americans prisoner, missing or
unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government.
It would not be erroneous to speculate that if the U.S. received a
first-hand, live sighting report on the men "buried" in St. Louis, that
report would be debunked because they are all "dead."
Although many experts who have reviewed the largely-classified information
relating to Americans still missing in Southeast Asia have concluded that
hundreds of them are still alive in captivity, the USG cannot seem to make
up its mind. Meanwhile, how many wait for their country to come for them?
Who will look for these men?
|29 Jan 2015:
I am proud to announce the identified remains of my Father (TSgt Louis Clever) will be put to rest on May 22, 2015 at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery (south of St. Louis, MO) with full military honors. This is the Friday before Memorial Day Weekend. The graveside service is scheduled to start at 2:30 PM.
In a fitting manner my Father will be reunited with my Mother (YNCS Deborah Clever) in a shared grave site. My Mother never remarried and longed for the day she would be with Dad again. The heart of a woman is a complex thing.
The formal request has already been submitted to Patriot Guard Rider of MS State Captain Don McKibben for assistance in working with PGR Groups in the surrounding area. My intention is to ride with my PGR Brothers and Sisters on the path to put Dad to rest. It has been an emotional ride getting Dad this far and I expect the rest of the journey will be equally emotional. Please share the information regarding this particular ride soon so advanced plans can be made.
For everybody who has taken the time to say a pray for this effort: Isn’t God a good God? The obstacles which had to be overcome dictate there is absolutely no way we should be having this funeral, but here it is.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
I believe this is what got these men home.
Chapter 125 Members
Message from Commander Syd Staton
Here is the schedule of TSGT Louis Clever I will be attending event at Arnold VFW= Presenting memorial Plaque to son Paul- also will be attending funeral. Any questions contact me.
Syd or Sandra Staton
On Monday, May 18, 2015 9:09 AM, Don Aird <email@example.com> wrote:
Subject: Schedule of Events - Funeral TSgt Louis Clever - Please Circulate
The Return of TSgt Louis Clever - Itinerary
*** DIGNIFIED TRANSFER of TSgt Clever - Muster: 2.00 PM Wednesday May 20, 2015, - Delta Air Cargo, Cargo City, Cell Phone Lot 2 - Lambert St. Louis International Airport (East end of airport complex). Casket Arrival Delta Flight 2084 – 2:58 Local time Note: Strong chance of rain.
*** HONOR RIDE (Southaven, MS to St. Louis, MO) - Muster: 7:00 AM to 8:30 AM May 21, 2015, Mandatory Safety Briefing. Departure 9:00 AM fromSOUTHERN THUNDER HARLEY-DAVIDSON; 4870 Venture Dr.; Southaven, MS 38671; 662.349.1099; (at Exit 287, Church Road, West side of I-55). SOUTHERN THUNDER HARLEY – DAVIDSON, 4870 Venture Drive, Southeaven, MS 38671. T: 662-349-1099. Weather: Partially Cloudy: rain not expected.
*** HONOR RIDE ARRIVAL – ETA 4:30 PM to 5:00 PM, May 21, 2015 - ARNOLD VFW POST 2593; 2301 Church Rd.; Arnold, MO 63010, 636.296.2611 & 636.287.9748.Arnold VFW Post 2593, 2301 Church Road: Arnold, MO 63010. 636-296-2611 or 636-287-9748. The VFW Post will provide a meal to those participating in the Honor Ride upon arrival. Adult beverages not included but the bar will be well stocked.
*** POW/MIA HONOR RECEPTION – Begins at 7:00 PM May 21, 2015 - ARNOLD VFW POST 2593; 2301 Church Rd.; Arnold, MO 63010, 636.296.2611 & 636.287.9748.Arnold VFW Post 2593: Includes POW/MIA Remembrance Table Ceremony. Paul and Nita Clever accounting of successful remains recovery mission – Laos 2012.
*** FOX KTVI CHANNEL 2 PARKING LOT INTERVIEW – 7:10 AM May 22, 2015 – KTVI parking lot located at 2250 Ball Drive, St Louis, MO. Paul and Nita Clever interview supported by Bikers which will be participating in the Funeral Escort. This is a chance to make a statement there are many who still care about the POW/MIA Accounting process. Departure from the Holiday Inn - South County at 6:10 AM (note: this is a revised earlier time to allow for traffic). Weather: Sunny and clear.
*** FAMILY VISITATION – Muster: 11:00 AM May 22, 2015 – Kutis Funeral Home, 5255 Lemay Ferry Road, 63129. Visitation begins at 11:30 AM.
*** HAND TO HAND TRANSFER OF CASKET – Muster: 1:30 PM May 22, 2015 – Kutis Funeral Home. Purpose: Fallen Warriors should be carried and not wheeled. Formation of two Escort Lines from the Funeral Home door (as far as needed to include everybody) to the hearse. Lines facing each other pass the casket hand-to-hand supporting TSgt Clever’s final mission. Be Safe.
*** FUNERAL ESCORT DEPARTURE TO JEFFERSON BARRACKS CEMETERY – Kutis Funeral Home, 2:00 PM SHARP.
*** FUNERAL TSGT LOUIS CLEVER BEGINS – 2:30 PM May 22, 2015 - Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery – Full Military Honors. Scheduled Air Force Flyover/Missing Man Formation. Limited opportunity for Guests to share a brief though during the service (Pavilion Number 6).SOUTHERN THUNDER HARLEY-DAVIDSON; 4870 Venture Dr.; Southaven, MS 38671; 662.349.1099; (at Exit 287, Church Road, West side of I-55).
My name is Paul Clever and my Father is mentioned in a Bio on your site.
It is with great pleasure I can fill in the gaps regarding my father’s loss and poor accounting which lead to decades of senseless emotional distress by the families involved.
On February 22, 2015 Dad was laid to rest at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery (near St. Louis, MO) next to my mother. Note: Mom never remarried. After decades of research I was able to determine the Air Force had knowingly left members of the crew behind in 1969. When there was no apparent motivation to set things right by the Air Force and JPAC I took ownership of properly accounting for this ten-man crew.
During December 2012 my Thai-born wife and I sent to Southern Laos, searched the jungle, located the crash site, recovered human remains, and brought them home. DNA testing indicated there was good DNA which lead to the identification of three of the crew: Sgt McNeill, Major Olson, and my father – TSgt Clever. Subsequent DNA testing of the remains interred in 1969 lead to four more identifications. In the end three of the crew (Lynn, Burke, and Hatton) had been knowingly left behind.
JPAC has supposedly put the crash site on an excavation schedule because we proved there were bones still there and because there are Americans unaccounted for associated with this site. The priority of the excavation was set so low it is doubtful it will happen in our lifetimes. Pity…..these are three American Families which have paid the price for freedom and carried the burden of their loss for decades.
Here are some links related to my father’s “Final Mission”: