DAVIS, DANIEL RICHARD ON DOD REMAINS RETURNED LIST 12/96, DATE UNKNOWN
DAVIS, DANIEL RICHARD REMAINS IDENTIFIED 21 AUG 1995
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 for.
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 From: "KARL POLIFKA" Subject: comment To: <firstname.lastname@example.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 helped.
Karl Polifka Raven 45 1969