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Name: Danie Richard Davis
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 56th Special Operations Wing, Udorn AF TH (RAVENS)
Date of Birth: 10 August 1943
Home City of Record: Atlanta GA
Date of Loss: 18 August 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 193500N 1032600E (UG357659)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O1A
Refno: 1482
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 with the assistance of
ne 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 2007.
SYNOPSIS: The Steve Canyon program was a highly classified FAC (forward air
control) operation covering the military regions of Laos. U.S. military
operations in Laos were severely restricted during the Vietnam War era
because Laos had been declared neutral by the Geneva Accords.
The non-communist forces in Laos, however, had a critical need for military
support in order to defend territory used by Lao and North Vietnamese
communist forces. The U.S., in conjunction with non-communist forces in
Laos, devised a system whereby U.S. military personnel could be "in the
black" or "sheep-dipped" (clandestine; mustered out of the military to
perform military duties as a civilian) to operate in Laos under supervision
of the U.S. Ambassador to Laos.
RAVEN was the radio call sign which identified the flyers of the Steve
Canyon Program. Men recruited for the program were rated Air Force officers
with at least six months experience in Vietnam. They tended to be the very
best of pilots, but by definition, this meant that they were also mavericks,
and considered a bit wild by the mainstream military establishment.
The Ravens came under the formal command of CINCPAC and the 7/13th Air Force
56th Special Operations Wing at Nakhon Phanom, but their pay records were
maintained at Udorn with Detachment 1. Officially, they were on loan to the
U.S. Air Attache at Vientiane. Unofficially, they were sent to outposts like
Long Tieng, where their field commanders were the CIA, the Meo (Hmong)
Generals, and the U.S. Ambassador. Once on duty, they flew FAC missions
which controlled all U.S. air strikes over Laos.
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.
Consequently, aircraft used by the Ravens were continually peppered with
ground fire. A strong fabric tape was simply slapped over the bullet holes
until the aircraft could no longer fly.
Ravens were hopelessly overworked by the war. The need for secrecy kept
their numbers low (never more than 22 at one time), and the critical need of
the Meo sometimes demanded each pilot fly 10 and 12 hour days. Some Ravens
completed their tour of approximately 6 months with a total of over 500
combat missions.
The Ravens in at Long Tieng in Military Region II, had, for several years,
the most difficult area in Laos. The base, just on the southern edge of the
Plain of Jars, was also the headquarters for the CIA-funded Meo army
commanded by General Vang Pao. An interesting account of this group can be
read in Christopher Robbins' book, "The Ravens".
1Lt. Daniel R. Davis was a Raven in Laos. On August 18, 1969, while on
station in the Plain of Jars region of Xiangkhoang Province, his O1 was shot
down and Davis was declared Missing in Action. His last known location is
listed as about 15 miles northeast of the city of Ban Na Mai.
Daniel Davis is one of 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 -- or negotiated
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.
The Ravens were extremely dedicated to the freedom-loving people of Laos and
put their very lives on the line for them. They believed in America and the
job it was trying to do in Southeast Asia. They were also quite insistant
that each of their own were accounted for, dead or alive.
What would Daniel Davis say if he knew we had abandoned him?
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2007 22:06:36 -0500
Subject: comment
To: <info@pownetwork.org>

I was just trolling on Google and looked for Dan Davis -- my roommate at
Long Tiene.  A minor correction.  Davis was not shot down.  He was killed in
a mid-air with an F-105 (a common hazard) a bit south of Ban Ban Valley.
There were, as I recall, 11 Americans released from captivity in Laos.
There were never "hundreds in captivity" then, or since.  While I have had a
lot of run-ins on this subject with those doing the homework, hysteria never
Karl Polifka
Raven 45 1969