HRDLICKA, DAVID LOUIS
|Name: David Louis Hrdlicka
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 563rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Takhli AB, Thailand
Date of Birth: 30 December 1931
Home City of Record: Littleton CO
Date of Loss: 18 May 1965
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 202240N 1041250E (VH160480)
Status (In 1973): Prisoner of War
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)
Official pre-capture photo
Pravda, a Russian newspaper, published a photograph of Col. Hrdlicka.
Source: Compiled 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. NETWORK 2021.
SYNOPSIS: On May 18, 1965, Captain David L. Hrdlicka was the pilot of the
lead F105 aircraft in a four-aircraft flight over Houa Phan Province, Laos
when his aircraft was hit by ground fire. Capt. Hrdlicka radioed that he had
a fire light, and other members of the flight confirmed his aircraft was on
Capt. Hrdlicka successfully ejected and parachuted to the ground, landing in
a small valley beside a village in the Sam Neua area. His parachute was seen
opening and he was seen on the ground being led away by natives. Natives
were observed rolling up Hrdlicka's parachute. A helicopter pilot landed at
a nearby village and was told that the Pathet Lao picked him up.
On July 22, 1966, the Vietnamese newspaper, Quan Nhan Dan featured a story
on his capture. On July 26, 1966, a tape recorded broadcast was made by
Capt. Hrdlicka in which he read from a personal letter to Prince
Souphanouvang. In this broadcast, a letter which attributed to Hrdlicka was
read expressing his eagerness to see his wife and children. Radio Peking
also broadcast a statement quoting Lao sources that Hrdlicka was their
In August, 1966, the Russian news service, PRAVDA, ran a photograph of
Hrdlicka, still in his flight suit, head bowed, and an armed guard behind
him. Photos of Capt. Hrdlicka were received from several sources.
U.S. Intelligence reported that he was held in a cave near Sam Neua, Laos,
and reports were monitored for several years believed to pertain to him.
David Hrdlicka was photographed in captivity as late as 1968 or 1969.
The caves at Sam Neua have been said to be extensive and house a compound,
including facilities for prisoners, rivaling a small city. The number of
Americans held in these caves, hidden from surveillance, has been estimated
by some to be in the hundreds.
When 591 Americans were released in 1973, David Hrdlicka was not among them.
The Vietnamese claimed that the Pathet Lao had no facilities for holding
prisoners, although there is ample intelligence to indicate otherwise. And,
although the Lao publicly stated they held "tens of tens" of American
prisoners, the U.S. has never negotiated for these prisoners. Consequently,
not one of the nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos has ever been released.
According to the official Air Force account of the loss of David Hrdlicka,
"no information was ever received regarding his fate". He remains on the
rolls of the missing because "his remains have not been recovered and
Hrdlicka is among nearly 2500 Americans still missing, prisoner or
unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Perhaps Vietnam and her puppet state,
Laos, hoped that the photographs and tapes would be forgotten. David
Hrdlicka is not forgotten, and will not be forgotten until the communist
governments of Southeast Asia release all Prisoners of War and account for
Subj: New evidence that some POW's STILL SURVIVE!
Date: 5/17/2007 10:02:19 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
MAY 18, 1965 - MAY 18, 2007, 42 YEARS AS A POW IN LAOS. IS HE ALIVE?
It has been 42 years since my school mate; Col. David L. Hrdlicka was
captured, in good health, in Laos. For 42 years Carol Hrdlicka, David's
wife, and her three children have searched for the truthful status of
husband and father.
David was a high profile POW immediately after his capture. Pravda took a
capture picture which was printed around the world. David made a tape
recording in which he stated he wanted to come home to his wife and
children. A Russian reporter interviewed David on numerous occasions.
It is unlikely that the Laotian officials would have sent a high profile POW
out into the jungle. It is more likely that he was kept in some urban area
in Laos. As such, someone most know the truth about the status of Col. David
Hrdlicka. Carol has never been officially notified of his death, nor has she
been given any official documents that would indicate he is dead.
Consequently, Carol believes David is still alive. Whether he wants to come
home, is able to come home, or is actually dead; that has been her quest for
the truth during these forty-two years.
The possibility that David is still alive is very real. Read the following
information about the soon to be released book on the POW issue. Buy the
book. Come to your own conclusion on whether or not SOME STILL SURVIVE!
Become informed, get involved. We now have POW's in Iraq! There will always
be wars and there will always be service personnel that will be captured.
They could be your own family members. We must learn from our mistakes. Make
sure the mistakes that occurred in 1973 never happen again.
New book documents live POWs in Southeast Asia
E-mail blast to alert thousands of coming publication
By C.J. Raven
U.S. Veteran Dispatch
April 12, 2007
A scathing indictment of U.S. government officials who first denied and then
covered up facts about 600 American POWs and MIAs from the Vietnam War is
set to hit book stores on Memorial Day weekend, and a former New York
congressman is heralding its appearance.
John LeBoutillier hopes his e-mail announcing "An Enormous Crime - The
Definitive Account of American POWs Abandoned in Southeast Asia " will reach
hundreds of thousands of people and awaken them to facts that point clearly
to the existence of American POWs still being held in Vietnam, Laos and
"Maybe this book will have some jarring effect in some way," the former U.S.
congressman from New York said." This is not just a book about history; it's
also a current affairs book. The people responsible for the cover-up are
still in government today.
Former President George H.W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, former
Secretary of State Colin Powell, Senator John McCain and Senator and former
presidential candidate John Kerry "helped cover it up in the Senate Select
Committee several years ago," LeBoutillier said.
Former N.C. Congressman Bill Hendon and Elizabeth Stewart wrote "An Enormous
Crime ." Hendon and LeBoutillier became friends while they were members of
the U.S. House of Representatives, and it was there that they learned about
America's missing and imprisoned military members.
On a day in February 1981, LeBoutillier overheard two fellow congressmen
talking about a Pentagon briefing they had attended. The men learned that
the military believed prisoners of war were alive in Laos. LeBoutillier's
curiosity was pricked, and he told the men he and Hendon would like to get
the briefing. No problem, they told him, since they were members of
"We got the briefing for a couple of hours," LeBoutillier said. "If you, or
anybody else, had had the same briefing we had, not only would you be
convinced that a lot of POWs are still being held over there, but that it is
our duty to do whatever we can to get them back."
The Hendon-Stewart book is a project 11 years in the making. The pair dug
through Washington archives, used the Freedom of Information requests and
interviewed countless sources in their search for information. They provide
meticulous documentation of every fact contained within the book's almost
500 pages of text and 74 pages of notes and citations. The authors are
building a Web site to give readers access to each of 66,000 pages of
information they uncovered.
"There is a thirst for this book," LeBoutillier said. "I think people will
be ordering it and buying it, for sure. This book is a lot of work to read.
It is so comprehensive. It's not the opinion of Hendon or Stewart.
Everything stated in there comes from U.S. documents. Every document will be
made public when the book comes out. Everyone can read it for themselves."
"Enormous Crime" can be ordered at Amazon.com before it becomes available on
Although some readers may shrink at the idea of reading history and current
events, Hendon and Stewart have created a highly readable and compelling
story that will be difficult to put down. It reads like a political spy
novel and will continually prompt readers to say, "Oh no, they didn't," all
the time knowing, "Oh yes, they did."
"Enormous Crime" is already gathering favorable reviews. Publishers Weekly
declares: "Controversial former North Carolina Congressman Hendon and
attorney Stewart make the case that the U.S. knowingly left hundreds of POWs
in Vietnam and Laos in 1973, and that every presidential administration
since then has covered it up." Kirkus Reviews says it's a "convincing and
compelling argument" for the fact that American POWs are still being held
against their will.
Hendon took the name of his book from a 1993 television interview with Henry
Kissinger, whom LeBoutillier says is the "first and most guilty American
official." Kissinger at that time said it appeared that new evidence had
surfaced proving that the North Vietnamese government kept more prisoners
than it originally admitted. Kissinger, after acknowledging that the report
(the Russian 1205 document) appeared to be true, said "I think an enormous
crime has been committed."
LeBoutillier also has been active in trying to uncover the location of
missing American servicemen. He attempts to induce government or military
officials in Laos, Vietnam and Russia, by paying, hiring or convincing, to
release prisoner information or turn over the prisoners themselves.
"It hasn't happened yet, but that doesn't mean it's not the way to do it,"
he said." We've got to have some live men recovered because that's the only
way the American people will really believe a terrible crime has occurred.
They have to see some living victims recovered. Then the government would
have to admit there was a cover-up."
The Pentagon continues to receive reports, as recently as this year, of live
American POWs, and the U.S. government continues to keep those reports from
the public, LeBoutillier says.
He scoffs at reports from government officials such as McCain, Kerry and
others who claim the Vietnamese prisoner-of-war camps are empty, and that is
proof that all POWs have been returned.
LeBoutillier believes American servicemen are being held primarily in the
mountainous region of North Vietnam, near the Laos border, in small camps of
10, 12 or 15 men, and guarded by their heavily armed captors.
"So we owe it to those brave American heroes to make one more concerted
effort to get them home," he writes in his e-mail message.
His e-mail recommends these actions to help uncover the truth:
" "Some people will call for War Crimes Trials for former and current U.S.
government officials who abandoned our men and covered up their fate;
" "Others will call for the impeachment and removal from the U.S. Senate of
John McCain and John Kerry;
" "Some will agree with Hendon/Stewart's suggestion to urge a
presidential-level delegation of all former presidents and high-level
officials to go to Hanoi and Vientiane and "stay there and negotiate until
they get the POWs released."
" "Some will join the current effort to create a new U.S. House Committee on
POW/MIA Affairs. (Having served in the 1980s on the earlier version of that
committee -- and seeing two more since then -- I can assure you nothing any
good will ever come from a congressional committee; the CIA/DIA infiltrates
the staff and 'rig' the investigations. So we'd be better off channeling our
" "Some will want to return to the in-the-streets activism of the 1980s and
1990s -- staging demonstrations aimed at making the media and the government
pay attention to the Live POW issue.
" "Others will get on their computers and spread the word through the
blogosphere in an effort to -- finally -- get the truth about our living
POWs out there with thousands of supporting documents to back us up.
" "Some might write supportive letters-to-the-editors to their newspapers
and magazines and urge them to cover the live POW issue -- truthfully and
" "Others will come up with other ideas and ways to get the Live POW issue
back into our national consciousness.
" "Whatever you do, DO SOMETHING!
" "The POWs need our help, so it is up to us to do whatever we can do to
help get this issue back on the front pages and back in the news. Please
help our brothers!"
The live-POW issue needs to go back on the front pages of American
newspapers, lead the evening news and return to the consciousness of every
American citizen, LeBoutillier believes.
"It's not fair to abandon them," he said, "and it's not the American way."
Is Vietnam-era POW/MIA warrior alive? Clues tantalize
San Francisco Luxury News
Is Vietnam-era POW/MIA warrior alive? Clues tantalize Graphic/Photo Slug:SH12I143POWMIACASE MARK BRUNSWICK Minneapolis Star Tribune 09-19-12 MINNEAPOLIS His remains have never been found, but David Hrdlicka, an Air Force pilot who ...
August 15, 2015 Bits N Pieces Page 1 of 11
The National Alliance of Families Mourns the Passing of –
Damian Hrdlicka son of POW Col. David
Hrdlicka. Damian lost his life in a tragic accident. To his mom Carol and the entire Hrdlicka family we
offer our deepest sympathy. A memorial service was held the weekend of August 1
Viętnow Rockford Charter Chapter Condolences
Our sympathy to Rockford Chapter ViętNow member and POW/MIA Wife Carol
Hrdlicka and her family on the death of
her son Damian on July 10, 2015 while wing suiting, a form of sky-diving. An experienced skydiver who competed internationally,
Damian died while doing what he loved. Damian’s father, Col. David Hrdlicka, was captured in 1965 by the Pathet Lao after his
F-105 was shot down over Laos. Although there were photos and many live sightings of David in captivity, he was never returned,
in spite of many years of effort by Carol. A celebration of life was held for Damian on August 1st at the Wichita State University
Campus. Rest in peace, Brother.