KERR, EVERETT OSCAR
Name: Everett Oscar Kerr
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 13th Bomber Squadron, Da Nang AB SV
Date of Birth: 18 April 1936
Home City of Record: Belmont WV (changed to MA 1988)
Date of Loss: 13 June 1966
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 171500N 1054500E (WE778137)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident: Charles W. Burkart Jr. (Missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 April 1990 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.
SYNOPSIS: When North Vietnam began to increase their military strength in
South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for
sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some
years before. The border road, termed the "Ho Chi Minh Trail" was used for
transporting weapons, supplies and troops. Hundreds of American pilots were
shot down trying to stop this communist traffic to South Vietnam.
Fortunately, search and rescue teams in Vietnam were extremely successful
and the recovery rate was high.
Still there were nearly 600 who were not rescued. Many of them went down
along the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the passes through the border mountains
between Laos and Vietnam. Many were alive on the ground and in radio contact
with search and rescue and other planes; some were known to have been
captured. Hanoi's communist allies in Laos, the Pathet Lao, publicly spoke
of American prisoners they held, but when peace agreements were negotiated,
Laos was not included, and not a single American was released that had been
held in Laos.
The B57 Canberra was one of the aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force to bomb
the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Canberra first came to the Vietnam theater at the
time of the Gulf of Tonkin incident om 1964. It proved to vulnerable and
difficult to repair for working targets over North Vietnam, but proved
effective in the armed reconnaissance Trail operations of Operation Steel
Tiger. The Canberra was sometimes used in conjunction with other, more
sophisticated aircraft, such as the C130, and was especially effective on
Capt. Charles W. Burkart Jr. was the pilot and Capt. Everett O. Kerr the
navigator of a B57 Canberra assigned a night strike mission over Laos on
June 13, 1966. Capt. Burkart's aircraft was flying in a flight of three
Prior to reaching the target area, the flight became separated due to bad
weather. The last known radio contact from Burkart and Kerr was
approximately 50 minutes after takeoff at Da Nang. Their approximate
location was about 8 miles southeast of the city of Ban Som Peng in the Ban
Karai Pass region of Khammouane Province, Laos.
Despite search efforts, no aircraft wreckage was located, and no emergency
beeper signals were detected. Burkart and Kerr were classified Missing in
When 591 Americans were released from prisoner of war camps at the end of
American involvement in the war, Kerr and Burkart were not among them. Not
one American held in Laos had been released.
In early 1979, thirteen years after their disappearance, Kerr and Burkart
were administratively declared dead based on no specific information that
they were alive.
Were it not for the thousands of reports concerning Americans still held
captive in Southeast Asia, the Kerr and Burkart families might be able to
close this tragic chapter of their lives. But as long as Americans are
alive, being held captive, Kerr and Burkart could be among them. It's time
we brought these men home.
Charles W. Burkart was promoted to the rank of Colonel and Everett O. Kerr
was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the period they were