IRSCH, WAYNE CHARLES
Name: Wayne Charles Irsch
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 25 April 1942
Home City of Record: Tulsa OK
Date of Loss: 09 January 1968
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 164500N 1060800E (XD234537)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Others In Incident: Norman M. Green (missing)
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.
NETWORK 2001 with information provided by Maj. Bob Hipps, USAF (Ret).
SYNOPSIS: Lt.Col. Norman M. Green and 1Lt Wayne C. Irsch were piloting an F4
Phantom in Vietnam. The Phantom was one of the most sought after assignments
for a pilot, as the aircraft represented the ultimate fighter plane - a
highly maneuverable jet carrying the newest of sophisticated equipment which
allowed bombing and navigation to be directed by computer.
On January 9, 1968, they were assigned a combat mission which took them over
Laos. It was Irsch's job to operate much of the high-tech equipment on the
aircraft. When they were near the city of Sepone in Savannakhet Province,
Laos, their aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed. Their loss location
is listed as 40 miles south-southeast of the Ban Karai Pass. Both men were
classified Missing In Action.
A September 13, 1968 statement by Soth Pethrasi was monitored from Puerto
Rico in which the names of several Americans were mentioned. The report
stated that "Smith, Christiano, Jeffords, and Mauterer" were part of
"several dozen captured Airmen" whom the Pathet Lao were "treating correctly
and who were still in Laos. Another name, Norman Morgan, captured January 9,
1968, was mentioned but is not on lists of missing. This is believed to
possibly correlate to Norman Green.
The Ban Karai Pass, on the border of Vietnam and Laos, is an area which
claimed many pilots during the war in Indochina. Many of the pilots were
able to safely reach the ground, but were not released at the end of the
war. Although the Pathet Lao stated publicly many times that they held
prisoners that would be released only from Laos, the U.S. did not include
Laos in the agreement ending American involvement in the war. Not a single
American military prisoner of war held in Laos has been released.
Tragically, nearly 1000 eyewitness reports of Americans held in captivity in
Southeast Asia have been received. They present a compelling case that
Americans are still being held today. Irsch and Green could be among them.
If so, what must they be thinking of us?
Wayne C. Irsch was promoted to the rank of Captain and Norman M. Green to
the rank of Colonel during the period they were maintained Missing in