JANOUSEK, RONALD JAMES
Name: Ronald James Janousek
Rank/Branch: O2/US Marine Corps
Unit: HML 367; MAG 36
Date of Birth: 21 July 1945
Home City of Record: Posen IL
Date of Loss: 09 August 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 163819N 1064643E (XD960180)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
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 in 2020.
Other Personnel in Incident: Bruce E. Kane (missing)
SYNOPSIS: When U.S. military personnel were in Vietnam, they were frequently
asked to participate in classified missions. Some of these missions were
secret because wide-spread knowledge of them might possibly give the enemy
information we did not wish them to have. Others were classified to conceal
the fact that the U.S. was conducting warfare in denied areas.
The most notorious denied area was, of course, Laos. Prevented by Geneva
Accords from having a large military presence in Laos, the U.S. first
established a CIA cover for anti-communist covert actions. One activity,
begun in 1958, used Meo tribesmen for a small pilot guerrilla program, which
grew to over 40,000 guerrillas within 10 years. The CIA's covert airline,
known as "Air America" supported the Meo as well as numerous other
CIA-backed clandestine guerrilla armies.
When ground operations were indicated or intelligence needed, the U.S. used
the CIA-directed armies, sent U.S. troops in covert MACV-SOG teams, or
airlifted in indigenous troops, often using the air capabilities of the U.S.
Army and Marine Corps. Pilots were asked to alter flight records to reflect
a mission in allowed territory. If they were lost, families were misinformed
about the location of loss. As a result, several case files of men missing
are a tangle of inconsistencies - some records reflecting the "doctored"
loss information, while other records are accurate.
1Lt. Ronald J. Janousek and Cpl. Bruce E. Kane were U.S. Marines attached to
units of the 36th and 11th Marine Aircraft Groups, respectively. On August
9, 1969, the two were killed in the crash of a UH1E helicopter. Theirs is
one of the cases in which reliable factual public information ends with this
Defense Department records indicate that Janousek and Kane were lost at Khe
Sanh, in Quang Tri Province. The U.S. Marines state that Janousek's
helicopter was hit by heavy enemy fire and crashed and burned. The U.S.
Marines state that Kane's helicopter disappeared on a night reconnaissance
mission. Joint Casualty Resolution Center records (considered by some
analysts to be the most accurate of all records), indicate that the loss
occurred in central South Vietnam.
Information obtained from family and other sources indicate that Kane and
Janousek's aircraft crashed and burned in the Se Kong River near the border
of Laos and South Vietnam north of the A Shau Valley, and that they had been
on a secret mission in Laos. The U.S. State Department lists both men as
killed in a hostile action, and further lists Kane as drowned and Janousek
as a crew member of the aircraft. No public records indicate the fates of
the rest of the crew, including the pilot and any passengers aboard.
Given the inconsistencies of the information available, it is impossible to
determine exactly what happened to Kane and Janousek. All sources indicate
that they were killed in the crash. As thousands of reports mount that
Americans are still alive in captivity, families of men like Kane and
Janousek are asking for the complete truth about what happened to their men.
Unfortunately, many cases are still classified, and will be for decades.
The official U.S. position regarding Americans still missing is that there
is no "actionable evidence" to suggest that any are alive. If there are no
soldiers' lives to protect by secrecy, why can the truth not be told? If any
are alive, why are they not home?