HELD, JOHN WAYNE
Name: John Wayne Held
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 08 July 1936
Home City of Record: Indianapolis IN
Date of Loss: 17 April 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 120140N 1070130E (YU313213)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident: none 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: Cessna's A37 "Dragonfly" was a two-seat light strike aircraft.
Although the B version was equipped for aerial refueling, the earlier A
model was restricted to its fully-armed range of about 450 miles. The easily
maintained jet was flown by both the U.S. and South Vietnamese Air Force,
and remained on station in Vietnam until the fall of Saigon in 1975.
Capt. John W. Held was the pilot of an A37A operating on a combat mission in
Phuoc Long Province, South Vietnam on April 17, 1968. About 10 miles east of
the city of Bo Duc, Held's aircraft was hit by ground fire and he was forced
According to Held's father, Held's wingman reported good chutes and John
reached the ground safely. The second seater, if there was one, is unknown.
Held is the only man missing on April 17. It is possible that the second
seater was rescued, or that he was an ARVN and not maintained on U.S.
When search and rescue arrived 20 minutes later, they could see Held's empty
parachute and his his emergency radio beeper. However, heavy enemy ground
fire prevented rescue. A later search indicated no blood in the area where
the chute was seen.
Because there was no clear evidence that Held was captured or killed, he was
listed Missing in Action. Since that day, there has been no word of his
fate. The Vietnamese deny any knowledge of him.
Held was not among the prisoners of war that were released in 1973.
High-ranking U.S. officials admit their dismay that "hundreds" of Americans
known or suspected to be prisoners of war did not return.
Alarmingly, evidence continues to mount that Americans were left as
prisoners in Southeast Asia and continue to be held today. Unlike "MIAs"
from other wars, most of the nearly 2500 men and women who remain missing in
Southeast Asia can be accounted for. Held could be one of them. Isn't it
time we brought our men home?
John W. Held was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the
period he was maintained missing.
SUMMARY SELECTION RATIONALE
NAME: HELD, John W., Capt., USAF
OFFICIAL STATUS: DEAD, BODY NOT RECOVERED
CASE SUMMARY: SEE ATTACHED
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION: Capt. Held ejected and parachuted safely. A rescue
helicopter lowered a crew member to the downed parachute. He reported the
harness appeared as if Capt. Held had been able to release successfully. No
signs of injuries was found. No correlated reports of Capt. Held's possible
death have been received since the incident date.
REFNO: 1131 20 Apr 76
(U) CASE SUMMARY
1. On 17 April 1968 Capt. John W. Held was scrambled from the Bien Hoa Air
Base alert pad in an A37A aircraft at 1430 hours, (local time), to attack a
target in the vicinity of Song Be, South Vietnam. Capt. Held and his
wingman, Capt.. [blank] were joined in the target area by Capt. [blank],
the Forward Air Controller (FAC). Having expended bombs and napalm on a
road plow and an automatic weapons position, Capt. Held was approaching
another weapons position target when his aircraft was hit by enemy ground
fire. Directional control was lost and while using trim to fly the
aircraft, Capt. Held was advised by his wingman, Capt.. [blank] to eject,
as flames were coming from the engine compartment of his aircraft. Held was
observed by his wingman and the FAC to eject successfully. Beeper signals
were heard immediately. Both Capt. [blank] and Capt.. [blank] kept the
parachute in sight until it landed in a dense bamboo thicket in the
vicinity of grid coordinates (GC) YU 317 215.
2. Although an orbit of the area was maintained, neither the wingman nor
the FAC observed Capt. Held after the parachute entered the jungle. About
25 minutes after the crash, a U.S. Army helicopter arrived and lowered a
crewmember into the vicinity of the observed parachute. The helicopter
hovered over the parachute area for about 30 minutes until the crewmember
had searched about 100-200 meters in all directions. The parachute was
suspended about 12 feet up in the trees, so the crewman was unable to reach
the parachute to silence the emergency radio. The parachute did not appear
to have been cut, but rather it appeared that the pilot had "punched out."
Four fairly well-traveled trails lead leading from the spot under the
parachute were searched without success. No articles of clothing or blood
were found in the parachute area. After recovery of the crewman, the
helicopter remained in the area for about five hours longer at tree top
level, but failed to observe any signs of life. (Ref 2)
3. On the possibility that the pilot might be making his way back to the
aircraft wreckage, a paramedic from an HH4-3F was lowered into the burned
out area of the crash site. Due to the dense four to five feet high
undergrowth, the paramedic could observe very little of the area so was
extracted. (Ref 3)
4. On 18 April 1968 a rescue message communication indicated that one voice
contact was heard, but that authentication was unsuccessful. The voice was
believed to be that of a Vietnamese. (Ref 2)
5. A search of the parachute and crash sites was continued, despite heavy
enemy activity and ground fire, until 1100 hours, 19 April 1968, when the
emergency radio finally discontinued transmitting. (Ref 2)
6. ADO Comment - The hostile threat precluded visits to or investigation of
the site. The Province Representative discussed the case with the Province
Chief and details were given to the Two-Party Joint Military Commission. In
April 1974 the Delegation to the Four-Party Joint Military Team asked the
Communists (PRG) Delegation to cooperate and support a visit to the site by
a U.S. search team. No permission was ever received for such a search.
7. Capt. Held is currently carried in the status of Dead, Body Not
1. MSG (U), Det 6, 38 ARRS, 181545Z Apr 68.
2. RPT (U), 3rd TFW, AF Form 484, w/statements, 22 Apr 68.
* National Alliance of Families Home Page
From: "Dave Anderson" <email@example.com>
Subject: Capt. John Wayne Held
Date: Fri, 2 Sep 2005 16:24:34 -0400
I graduated from high school with Jack some 51 years ago. Recently, I found
an old listing by his daughter, Cindy, who was seeking military information
on her father. Unfortunately, the listing was so old her email and address
was of no value.
The Class of `54 from Coral Gables High remains an active group,
communicating with each other and meeting annually or in smaller groups more
I'm certain a number of us would like to tell his daughter or other family
about him as we knew him in the 50s.
If you have any contact with his family would you ask them to contact me by
any means with which they are comfortable.
P.O. Box 1747
Gainesville, GA 30503
770 983-6394 phone
770 983-6399 fax