Name: James Alan Fowler
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Unit: Udorn Airfield, Thailand
Date of Birth: 07 January 1938  (Minneapolis MN)
Home City of Record: Bismark ND
Date of Loss: 06 June 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 215000N 1045300E (VK879141)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D
Refno: 1870

Other Personnel In Incident: John W. Seuell (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 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.


SYNOPSIS: Lt.Colonel James A. Fowler and his weapons systems officer, Captain
John W. Seuell, departed Udorn Airfield at 10 a.m. on June 6, 1972 on a combat
air patrol mission northwest of Hanoi. Their F4D was the lead aircraft in a
flight of four F4Ds on the mission.

The mission progressed as planned and the flight arrived in the target area
without incident. Upon completion of the mission, the flight proceeded back to
Thailand. Approaching surface-to-air missile launching sites near Yen Bai
Airfield, North Vietnam, the launch of a missile was detected about 11:29 a.m.
Although evasive maneuvers were initiated, the missile was seen to explode about
five feet below the tail section of Fowler's plane. The aircraft burst into
flames, but did not disintigrate. No canopies or parachutes were seen. Thirty
minutes later, flights in the area reported hearing two emergency signals, but
no voice contact could be established. Because the incident occurred deep in
enemy territory, no organized search could be made.

The shootdown site was in an are in North Vietnam that the U.S. had access to in
May, 1973, but failed to inspect.

When 591 Americans were released from Vietnam in 1973, Fowler and Seuell were
not among them. Neither were hundreds more whom military heads believed had been
captured. Unlike MIAs in other wars, most of the nearly 2500 missing in Vietnam
can be accounted for with relative ease. Since the war's end, thousands of
reports have been received by the U.S. Government regarding Americans still in
captivity in Southeast Asia. There is a large volume of evidence which indicates
that hundreds are still being held. Perhaps two of them could be Fowler and

Henry Kissinger predicted, in the 50's, that future "limited political
engagements" would result, unfortunately, in nonrecoverable prisoners of war. We
have seen this prediction fulfilled in Korea and Vietnam, where thousands of men
and women remain missing, and where ample evidence exists that many of them
(from BOTH wars) are still alive today. The U.S. Government seems unable (or
unwilling) to negotiate their freedom. For Americans, the "unfortunate"
abandonment of military personnel is not acceptable, and the policy that allows
it must be changed before another generation is left behind in some faraway war.

James A. Fowler was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the period
he was maintained missing. Seuell's rank was maintained as Captain.




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On June 6, 1972, an F-4D Phantom II (tail number 66-6232, call sign "Gopher 01") with two crew members was the lead plane in a flight of four on a combat air patrol mission over North Vietnam. As the flight egressed from the mission area due to depleted fuel, it approached the defensive ring around the Yen Bai Airfield, North Vietnam, and encountered both enemy fighters and surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). "Gopher 01" was damaged by an enemy SAM which caused the aircraft to burst into flames and crash in the vicinity of (GC) 48Q VK 879 141. No ejections or parachutes were observed. Due to the extremely strong enemy presence in the area of the crash site, search and rescue operations were impossible.

Lieutenant Colonel James Alan Fowler, who entered the U.S. Air Force from North Dakota, served with the 523rd Tactical Fighter Squadron and was the aircraft commander of this Phantom at the time of its loss. He remains unaccounted for. Today, Lieutenant Colonel Fowler is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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