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Remains I.D.'d 01/16/2002
Name: Earl Pearson Hopper, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Udorn AB TH
Date of Birth: 21 July 1943
Home City of Record: Glendale AZ
Date of Loss: 10 January 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 202559N 1044659E (VH774777)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D
Other Personnel In Incident: Keith N. Hall (released POW)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 October 1990 from information
provided by Col. Earl P. Hopper, Sr. (USA, ret.) and Patty Skelly of Task Force
Omega, Inc., as well as information from a December, 1984 article by Larry J.
O'Daniel. Other information from one more of the following: raw data from U.S.
Government agency sources, published sources, interviews. Updated by the
Another side to the story:  http://www.miafacts.org/hopper.htm
SYNOPSIS: Capt. Keith N. Hall and 1Lt. Earl P. Hopper, Jr. were pilots assigned
to the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Udorn Airbase, Thailand. On
January 10, 1968 the two flew their first mission together on an "aircap"
mission over Hanoi. Hall was the pilot, and Hopper flew as Bombardier/Navigator
on the flight. During the mission, the aircraft was damaged by a SAM missile
exploding 100 feet below and to the right of the aircraft, knocking out the
hydraulic system. Neither Hall nor Hopper was injured by the blast.
After some initial ejection problems, Capt. Hall, was able to bail out. [Note:
Normal ejection sequence calls for the backseater to bail out first, followed a
few seconds later by the pilot.] Other pilots in the flight marked Hall's
position, then continued with Hopper as he headed for Laos.
Hopper was about 15 miles north of Muong Min in Hoa Binh Province and nearly to
the border of Laos when he ejected. Hall had ejected about 20 miles to the east.
The accompanying pilots observed the canopy of the aircraft and Hopper's
ejection seat leave the aircraft as the aircraft was about to enter a 5,000 foot
overcast. The pilots also picked up two emergency radio signals, one very strong
and the other rather weak, indicating that both men reached the ground.
Hall was captured about 40 minutes after he bailed out. Hopper's radio signal
was tracked for three consecutive days in the rugged, mountainous area where
the aircraft went down. On the second or third day, a pilot monitoring the
beeper gave Hopper's recognition code and said, "Lt. Hopper, if that's you, give
me 15-second intervals (in his radio signal)." The pilot received six 15-second
intervals in a positive response. This information was released to the family in
a February 8, 1968 communique. On about the third day, a ground search team was
inserted into the area, and recovered Hopper's radio, but no trace of Hopper was
Hall was captured by the North Vietnamese and released in 1973. Hall was closely
interrogated regarding personal information about Hopper, but knew little. The
Vietnamese guard was noncommittal when Hall asked if Hopper was also a prisoner.
On July 14, 1982, "due to the length of time missing and with no information to
prove he is alive," Hopper's official status, Missing In Action, was changed to
Presumed Killed In Action. Only two months later, a three-man judiciary
committee from the U.S. Justice Department, Foreign Claims Settlement
Commission, found officially that Hopper should have been classified Prisoner of
War, not Missing In Action.
During the first few months of 1984, the Hopper family learned that CIA had
always listed Hopper as a POW. Further, CIA files revealed that the agency had
tracked Hopper as he headed for a "safe" area in Laos, that there were heavy
concentrations of NVA and Pathet Lao troops in the area searching for the downed
pilot, and that the CIA sent a free Lao team to extract him. When Hopper knew he
was in imminent danger of being captured, he locked the transmission key on his
radio in the "on" position, extended the antenna, and hid it, thus marking his
location of capture for the search team.
From 1981 to 1984, Major Mark A. Smith (a returned POW from Vietnam) and SFC
Melvin McIntyre, both attached to Special Forces Detachment, Korea (SFDK) were
pursuing DIA instructions to gather intelligence on American POWs who remained
in captivity in Southeast Asia. Smith and McIntyre, who did not believe
Americans were held, obtained specific information which convinced them that
Americans were still alive at that time, held captive. Among other evidence
presented to the U.S. was a list of some 26 Americans by name and captivity
location. Earl Hopper's name was on the list.
In 1984, Maj. Smith received word that on 11 May three U.S. POWs would be
brought to a given location on the Lao/Thai border. The only prerequisite was
that the POWs be received by an American. Smith's request to stand on the border
and wait for delivery was refused, and he and his team were commanded to remain
in Korea. If the three Americans were brought to the border, no one was there to
receive them. Smith and McIntyre believed Hopper to be one of the three men.
The information obtained by Smith and McIntyre was provided under oath to the
Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on January 28, 1986, and included in a lawsuit
the two initiated against the U.S. Government for its failure to protect the
rights of live American POWs in Southeast Asia.
Parents Earl and Betty Hopper have diligently sought information on their son
and others who disappeared in Southeast Asia. They believe there is actionable
evidence that some are still alive in captivity. Until that evidence is acted
upon, and proof is obtained to the contrary, they will not give up hope that
their son is alive.
1Lt. Earl Hopper graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1965 and was promoted
to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the period he was maintained missing.
This in from Task Force Omega:
18 February 1998
Bette Lee Hopper, mother of Lt. Col. Earl P. Hopper, Jr., Missing in
Action over North Vietnam since 10 January 1968, passed away at 4:25 AM,
17 February 1998, at age 74.  She suffered for many years with
Alzheimer's and died due to complications of that disease.
Bette Hopper is survived by her husband, Col. Earl P. Hopper, Sr., US
Army, Retired; sons Michael B. Hopper, Larry D. Hopper, Daniel W. Hopper
and D. David Hopper.  She also leaves 11 grandchildren and 1 great
For many years Bette was very active in the National League of Families
of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action.  During those years, she
worked tirelessly for not only the return of her oldest son, but also
for the return of all POW/MIAs from throughout Southeast Asia.  She was
always very adamant in her belief that Live Prisoners of War were
abandoned for political expediency at the conclusion of the Vietnam War,
and often voiced her opinion to US Government and military officials,
POW/MIA families and to the American public.  Further, she was certain
that her missing son, along with many other POW/MIAs, remained alive and
held captive by enemy forces in Southeast Asia.
Bette, though frank and outspoken, had many friends in the POW/MIA
community.  Her untiring efforts earned her great respect throughout the
country.  Prior to her illness, her advise and counsel were sought by
Bette will be remembered by family and friends alike for her unwavering
love of family, devotion to her children and grandchildren and her great
tenacity in her unending quest to find and return her first-born son to
the nation he fought so valiantly for.  She believed, as did many other
POW/MIA family members, that it was her strong responsibility to do
everything within her power to learn the truth about what happened to
her son.
We ask that her fight for the return of all Prisoners of War - both
alive and dead - be continued in her absence.
CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii - Jan. 23, 2002 marks the 10th anniversary of the
establishment of Joint Task Force-Full Accounting.  During this time, JTF-FA
has helped to locate and return the remains of more than 323 individuals who
were missing in action from the Vietnam War. During a ceremony at 11 a.m.,
Jan. 23, 2002 at the Sunset Lanai at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, the Joint
Meritorious Unit Award will be presented as well as a plaque honoring seven
members of the unit who died in a helicopter crash in 2001.  Lt. Gen. T. R.
Case, Deputy Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command, will be presiding
over the ceremony.
JTF-FA will present the command briefing to interested media at 9 a.m., Jan.
23 in building #20 at Camp Smith.  Following the briefing, Brig. Gen. Steven
J. Redmann will hold a short Q & A session.  Media wishing to attend the
10th anniversary ceremony should contact Joint Task Force-Full Accounting
public affairs office point of contact by noon, Jan. 22, 2002.
More information about Joint Task Force-Full Accounting can be found on the
web site at http://www.pacom.mil/jtffa.htm.  JTF-FA point of contact is:
Capt. Gina Jackson (808) 477-5301....
On 16 January 2002, the AFIRB met and approved the identification of CILHI
1998-039-I-01 as the individual remains from an incident involving:  Hopper,
Earl P., Jr., LtCol, USAF, 526-60-4263, REFNO 0981-0-01.


April 02, 2009

Airman Missing In Action From The Vietnam War Is Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. airman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Lt. Col. Earl P. Hopper Jr., U.S. Air Force, of Phoenix, Ariz. He is to be buried on April 3 at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona in Phoenix.

On Jan. 10, 1968, Hopper and Capt. Keith Hall were flying an F-4D Phantom near Hanoi, North Vietnam, as part of a four-ship MiG combat air patrol. Before they reached the target, an enemy surface-to-air missile exploded slightly below their aircraft. Hall radioed that he and Hopper were ejecting. He told Hopper to eject, but when he heard no response, he repeated "Earl get out!" Hopper replied, "I've pulled on it and it [the ejection seat] did not go," followed by "you go!" Hall then pulled on his primary ejection handle but it failed to initiate, forcing him to use the alternate. Hall was captured and held as a prisoner of war until 1973, but Hopper was unable to get out of the aircraft.

Between 1993-1998, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) conducted three joint investigations and five excavations at the crash site in Son La Province, west of Hanoi. The team interviewed four informants who had knowledge of the site. The excavations recovered numerous skeletal fragments and crew-related items which were ultimately used in the forensic identification process.

Among other forensic tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists used extensive dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.


Thanks for sending this to me. However, please understand that neither Earl, Sr. not I accepted the 5 teeth/part's of teeth and 23 extremely small unidentifiable bone fragements as the total mortal remains of Earl, Jr. For a complete, indepth look at his case and why we took the stand we did, please read the attached 4 documents in this order as it is how they were prepared:

- Response to DPMO Memo for Record (3 page)
- Rebuttal Document (22 pages)
- Appeal Letter (9 pages)
- Accepting under protest (1 page)
I will be happy to answer any questions you all have at any time.
Patty Hopper
Proud wife of Col Earl P. Hopper, Sr
Equally proud stepmother of Lt Col Earl P. Hopper, Jr


Accepting Remains Under Protest.doc
 Appeal letter.doc
 EPH Jr - BR rebuttal.doc
 response to DPMO Memo for Record - denial of debriefings, tapes,.doc
 LTC_Earl_ P_Hopper_Jr_USAF.pdf


40 years later, military burial for airman

More than 40 years after he was shot down on the North Vietnamese-Laotian border, Air Force Lt. Col. Earl P. Hopper Jr. is getting a military funeral and burial at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona......