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 Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 1977 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 1998. REMARKS: 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" planes around. 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 captivity today. 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 with them?