KOTT, STEPHEN JAY
REMAINS RETURNED - 07/17/84 - Family does NOT accept I.D.
Name: Stephen Jay Kott
Rank/Branch: O3/US Marine Corps
Unit: 1st Marine Air Wing, Da Nang
Date of Birth: 12 May 1940
Home City of Record: Greenville SC
Date of Loss: 31 October 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 205000N 1061200E (XJ248040)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel in Incident: Hugh M. Fanning (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 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. NETWORK 2020.
SYNOPSIS: Hugh M. Fanning was born in Washington D.C. July 12, 1941. He
lived in New York, where his parents later made their home, and attended
college and lived in Dallas, Texas, before he joined the Marine Corps. His
wife and children lived in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma when he went to Vietnam
as a Marine pilot with the First Marine Air Wing based at Da Nang, South
Vietnam. Fanning flew the A6A Intruder, an all-weather, low-altitude attack
On October 31, 1967, Capt. Fanning and bombardier/navigator Capt. Stephen J.
Kott were sent on a mission over North Vietnam as number two in a flight of
two aircraft on a night electronics support mission. Their radio code name
was "Oatmeal." At about 1:50 a.m., Fanning indicated he was approaching the
target. At 2:02 a.m., the leader observed a bright orange flash in the
vicinity of the target area and in the estimated position of Fanning's
aircraft which he estimated to be about 15 miles east of Hanoi at an
altitude of 100-500 feet.
It was believed that Fanning and Kott could have survived the crash of the
aircraft, and the two were classified Missing in Action. The U.S. believed
that the Vietnamese could account for them.
Several reports surfaced concerning the crash of Fanning's and Kott's plane
in the ensuing years, including one account that Kott was killed in the
crash, but Fanning was captured and taken away by jeep. The accuracy of
these reports is uncertain.
In August, 1984, remains were returned by the Vietnamese proported to be
those of Fanning and Kott. Mrs. Fanning was glad the years of waiting had
finally ended. Her casualty assistance officer assured her that existing
dental records of her husband's matched those of the remains, an important
means of identification. Moreover, he assured her that her husband had not
been wounded in the skull, the focus of a recurring dream that had plagued
her for years. The remains were buried with full military honors in Oklahoma
It was not until 10 months later, when she was first allowed access to her
husband's forensic file, that Mrs. Fanning learned that there had been NO
skull and NO teeth in the remains proported to be Hugh Fanning. Mrs. Fanning
arranged for the remains to be exhumed and examined independently. The
examiner concluded that the alleged remains of Hugh Fanning could not have
been scientifically identified as his ... or anyone else's.
The government stated the Kott family has accepted the positive
identification of the remains said to be those of Stephen Jay Kott. He has
been buried with full military honors. Close family friends dispute that the
family "accepted" the identification.
Whether Hugh Fanning died on October 31, 1967 in the crash of his plane or
was taken prisoner is not known. It can only be known with certainty when
proof is obtained of his death, or Major Fanning himself is brought home
alive. Meanwhile, Mrs. Fanning says, "My husband may be dead. However, until
positive proof is given to me, I must entertain the possibility that he may
be alive. Regardless of my husband's chances, I do believe that live
Americans still remain in Southeast Asia. I will continue to search for the
Hugh Michael Fanning and Stephen Jay Kott were promoted to the rank of Major
during the period they were maintained missing.
SEE FANNING BIOGRAPHY FOR MORE......