FINN, WILLIAM ROBERT Name: William Robert Finn Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 16 August 1947 Home City of Record: Metairie LA Date of Loss: 24 December 1971 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 144200N 1064700E (YB477233) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: OV10A Refno: 1788 Other Personnel in Incident: Timothy M. Tucker (missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of Task Force Omega from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews: 01 January 1990. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: The OV10 Bronco was among the aircraft most feared by the Viet Cong and NVA forces, because whenever the Bronco appeared overhead, an air strike seemed certain to follow. Although the glassed-in cabin could become uncomfortably warm, it provided splendid visibility. The two-man crew had armor protection and could use machine guns and bombs to attack, as well as rockets to mark targets for fighter bombers. This versatility enabled the plane to fly armed reconnaissance missions, in addition to serving as vehicle for forward air controllers. 1Lt. Timothy M. Tucker was the pilot and 1Lt. William R. Finn the co-pilot of an OV10 Bronco assigned a mission over Laos on Christmas Eve, 1971. Their mission took them over Attopeu Province, the extreme southeast province of Laos. At a point about 12 miles south of the city of Attopeu, the Bronco was lost, and Tucker and Finn became Missing in Action. Upon subsequent evaluation of their cases, it was thought doubtful that the enemy knew either of their fates. In 1973, the prisoners of war held in Vietnam were released. Laos was not part of the Paris agreement which ended American involvement in Indochina. No prisoners held by the Lao were ever released. Nearly 600 Americans were left behind, forgotten. In 1975, refugees fled Southeast Asia and brought with them stories of Americans still held prisoner. The reports continued to flow in as the years passed. By 1990, nearly 10,000 reports had been received. Some sources have passed multiple polygraph tests, but the U.S. Government still insists that proof is not available, yet maintains most of the reports in classified status. One such report describes William R. Finn's capture, and names him by name. This report has never been confirmed, as far as public scrutiny can determine. Meanwhile, the Lao voice dismay about the large numbers of their people that were killed and the fact that much of their once beautiful homeland now is cratered like the moon from bombs dropped by American planes. They seem to want acknowledgement that, in bombing enemy sanctuaries in Laos, we also did great harm to the Lao people. We are haunted by the secret war we conducted in Laos through the lives of the Americans we left behind. Some of them may still be alive. What must they be thinking of us?