JOHNSTON, STEVEN BRYCE
Name: Steven Bryce Johnston
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Ubon AF TH
Date of Birth: 26 January 1946
Home City of Record: Muskogee OK
Date of Loss: 04 January 1973
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 163604N 1055602E (XD004363)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews: 15 March 1990. Updated
by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2020.
SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served
a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2),
and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission
type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and
high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art
electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing
capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest"
Capt. Steven B. Johnston was the weapons systems officer on an F4D fighter
jet which was performing an operational mission in Laos on January 4, 1973.
The aircraft was struck by hostile fire, forcing Johnston and the pilot to
eject. Voice contact was established with the pilot immediately upon
landing. Capt. Johnston had landed under a large tree limb and appeared to
have a broken neck. Examination of the body revealed no signs of life. His
body could not be recovered due to darkness and hostile fire in the area.
The pilot, fortunately, was rescued.
Capt. Johnston is listed with honor among the missing because his body was
not recovered for burial in his country. He is among nearly 600 Americans
still prisoner, missing, or otherwise unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. For
his family, there is certain peace in knowing that someone witnessed his
death, even though his body remains on enemy soil.
For thousands of other families, peace is only a dream. They live in the
agony of uncertainty, not knowing whether their loved one is dead or alive.
Tragically, they are taunted by an ever-increasing flow of refugee reports
relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia. These reports have
convinced many authorities that hundreds of Americans remain alive in
While Steven Johnston may not be among those who are believed to be still
alive, one can imagine him being one of the first to volunteer to bring his
comrades to freedom. It was a matter of honor that these men kept the faith
with their country and their comrades. What are we doing to keep the faith