HESS, FREDERICK WILLIAM
Name: Frederick William Hess
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Da Nang
Date of Birth: 20 November 1943
Home City of Record: Kansas City MO
Date of Loss: 29 March 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 170900N 1060500E
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: (pilot rescued)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 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: Frederick William Hess was a crack Bridge and Chess player as a
young man at the Air Force Academy. Following his 1966 graduation, he went
to train on the F4 Phantom and was shipped to Vietnam.
On March 29, 1969, Fred and his pilot were sent on a defoliation mission in
Laos near the Ban Karai Pass. There was a North Vietnamese training school
for anti-aircraft gunners near the Pass, and their plane was hit. Hess was
ordered to eject and did so. The pilot ejected and was subsequently rescued.
The plane crashed into a hillside. The area of the Pass was heavy with enemy
forces, and search was tricky.Hess was not found.
Frederick Hess is one of nearly 600 Americans who were lost in Laos.Only a
handful were acknowledged as prisoners by name by either government,
although the Pathet Lao publicly stated they held "tens of tens" of American
prisoners. They said the Americans were captured in Laos, and they would be
released from Laos when treaties were signed.
In negotiating the Peace Agreement for which he accepted the Nobel Prize,
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger did not deal with the Lao, the Cambodians
or the Chinese for the prisoners they held, but only with the North
Vietnamese. No American held by the Lao was released in 1973 at the end of
American involvement in Southeast Asia, and none have been released since.
Since the war's end, over 10,000 thousand reports concerning Americans
missing, prisoner or otherwise unaccounted for have been received by the
U.S. Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information believe there are hundreds of American still alive and captive
in Southeast Asia today. One of them could be Freddie Hess.
Fred's daughter was one year old when her dad was shot down. She was cheated
of knowing her father. Our nation has cheated itself by abandoning some of
our best men. It's time we brought them home.
Frederick Hess was promoted to the rank of Major during the period he was
maintained missing. He was presumptively declared killed in action on May
22, 1979, based on no new information to prove he was alive.
Wife Hopes Husband Is Alive After 31 Years
By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service
ARLINGTON, Va., March 17, 2000 -- Bahar Hess was 24 with a young daughter
when her husband's aircraft was shot down over Laos on March 29, 1969. "Hope
that he was going to be found" was her initial reaction to the devastating