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 Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A Refno: 0886
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 1998.
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 plane.
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 City.
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 truth."
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......