LONG, STEPHEN G.
|Name: Stephen G. Long
Rank/Branch: O2/United States Air Force, pilot
Unit: 23rd TASS
Date of Birth: 16 February 1944
Home City of Record: Chiloquin OR
Date of Loss: 28 February 1969
Country of Loss: Laos/North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 172800 North 1054100 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Other Personnel in Incident: Doug Morrell, escaped/evaded/rescued, crew
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews. Update Feb, 2000 with information
provided by Major Long. 2018
REMARKS: 730328 RELEASED BY PL
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
UPDATE - 02/97 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO with material provided by
Stephen G. Long.
STEPHEN G. LONG
Captain - United States Air Force
Shot Down: February 28, 1969
Released: March 28, 1973
I was born in Hastings, Nebraska on February 16, 1944.
My first assignment after completing pilot training at Williams AFB in
Arizona was the 0-2 FAC aircraft flying out of Thailand. After 3 months of
flying with the 23rd TASS in Thailand, I was shot down in Laos and I went on
4 years of inactive type service in Hanoi. I was the pilot of an O2 when I
was shot down in the vicinity of Mugai Pass, Laos.
After my aircraft was hit, I was unconscious and thrown free. I had a broken
left femur. After months in the jubgle and intense interrogation in Hanoi,
the North Vietnamese surgically inserted a fixation devise which
catistrophically failed in 1987. I was subjected to a kangaroo trial in the
jungle and sentenced to "live forever in cave." While I was in captivity, I
was beaten with fists, feet and rifle butts. I was held in eight different
camps in North Vietnam. I was never declared or listed as a Prisoner of War.
I returned home on the last day of the releases.
After being confined for this period of time, the urge to fly has grown even
stronger. Although I wanted to return to flying as soon as possible, I felt
that attending Squadron Officers' School (SOS) would help me make the
adjustment back into active duty military life.
I graduated from SOS on 30 November 1973 and after a wonderful first
Christmas home with my family, I got my first flight in the T-38 recurrency
program on 11 January 1974. Upon completion of that program I will be
stationed at Homestead AFB, Fla., flying the F-4E.
It has taken some time to understand what has happened since my release.
There is no way I could ever have known how much energy and effort was being
exerted for the interests of the POW's, nor the limits of the genuine
sympathy, attention, and love given to ourselves. I was quite overwhelmed
and I feel that I owe a great deal to all those who helped to obtain our
release by bringing attention to our plight, and making our release a most
wonderful and memorable experience.
I will never be able to express my deep appreciation to all these wonderful
people and relate to them my gratitude - but I will try. To all of you -
Stephen Long retired from the United States Air Force as a Major. After his
return from Vietnam, he was awarded a Bronze Star as well as the Legion of
Merit and Distinguished Service Medal. His flying assignments included the
F-4E in Soesterberg, Netherlands, the F-105G at George AFB, CA and the F-16A
at Hill AFB, UT. He also returned to school, having previously graduating
with a BA in Psychology from Willamette University and now earning a Masters
in Counseling from Ball State. Of his time in Hanoi, and his Homecoming, he
says " Freedom begins with a choice. That is a choice to live free of
shackles of any nature, real or imagined. Life is precious and it is each
person's responsibility to attain self-fulfillment.
Steve and his wife Katherine have a son and a daughter. He currently is a
commercial pilot, operating charters and tours from Las Vegas, Nevada. His
current pursuits include mountaineering, climbing, hiking and river trips.
Ex-Vietnam POW Says Life Now Great
By DEBORAH HASTINGS AP National Writer
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- He woke while falling through the sky. He jerked the rip
cord of his chute, but it was too late for a safe landing. His leg snapped.
People were shooting at him......
From - Sat Feb 12 12:38:34 2000
I am adding a excerpt of a reply for of a request for information I
received for prisoners captured/held in Laos. I looked at your excellent
website and thought it may help others looking for info.
Steve and family
Lost Union of Laotian Unfortunates
Stephen Long was shot down near Mugia Pass, Laos, on February 28, 1969.
After spending a few days in the caves of Laos, Steve was transported to
Hanoi. After enduring an extended period of interrogation and subsequent
medical treatment for a broken femur, he was inducted into the prison
facilities at Camp Vegas, more commonly known as Hanoi Hilton back in the
US. After six months of solitaire, Steve was moved within the compound to a
room occupied by Major Walter Stischer, USAF, shot down and captured in
Laos, April 13, 1968. Thus, the first union of American POWs captured in
Laos and held in Hanoi.
Later that same year, two other POWs captured in Laos, Navy Lt. Henry (Jim)
Bedinger (shot down and captured November 22, 1969) and civilian Ernest
Brace (captured May 21, 1965), became cellmates in the other parts of Camp
Vegas. Bedinger was the first prisoner arriving in Hanoi to carry the news
that the US had landed a man on the moon. Brace's gripping story of nearly
eight brutal years in captivity, in the jungle and in Hanoi, is excellently
portrayed in his book, A Code to Keep.
As a result of the Son Tay raid on November 21, 1970, the North Vietnamese
captors decided to consolidate American POWs in Camp Unity. At this time,
the four Laotian prisoners were separated from other POWs and formed what
was to become known as the LULUs (Lost Union of Laotian Unfortunates). The
LULUs were later moved from prison to prison, sometimes each in solitaire
and sometimes sharing cells but never, ever with other American prisoners
known to have been captured in other than in Laos. At this time, it became
apparent that the North Vietnamese had identited the LULUs for different
treatment because of their origin of capture. The LULUs were to be denied
any exchange of packages or letters from the US and in fact their existence
was hidden from other prisoners, separated by walls and makeshift barriers,
and their names were not present on any list of known POWs until after the
war. They were to be held incognito.
As a result of the Son Tay raid, American POWs held in WN were consolidated
in Hoa Lo (Camp Unity) in Hanoi. 'The LULL)s were housed in solitaire in
the Bldg 0, together with the four 0-6 prisoners (each in solitaire). These
cells were high priority for the NVN because they afforded them the
opportunity to keep prisoners in solitaire. So, when the prisoners had what
was termed a "Song Fest" on 7 Feb 70, the cells were required to punish the
leaders of the fest. The LULUS were segregated from the prisoners to empty
the cells and were moved to Camp Briar Patch outside of Hanoi, again in
USAF Major Norbert Gotner (shot down and captured February 3, 1971) joined
the group at the Briar Patch in June 1971. When the group moved to the
Plantation in July 1971, they were joined by USAF Captain Jack Butcher (shot
down and captured March 24, 1971 [after an extensive E&E])and USAF Captain
JR Leonard (shot down and captured May 31, 1968) in the Gun Shed area of
Camp Plantation. Leonard had earlier been held with prisoners captured in
SVN but would now join the LULUs behind the "Tar Paper Wall" separating SVN
and Laos in Camp Plantation.
The LULUs were paraded through a number of prisons during their tenure in
North Vietnam, finally being joined in the Snake Pit behind the Camp Vegas
by USAF Charles Reese (shot down and captured December 24, 1972), and two
young missionaries, Lloyd Oppel and Sam Mattix, captured in Laos captured a
few months earlier. Eventually, the LULUs were released through an
elaborate ceremony on March 28, 1973 where an Asian participant identified
as a Laotian handed the LULUs over to the North Vietnamese, who in turn
released the LULUs to the US officials.
While there were other American servicemen captured in Laos and Cambodia
during the SEA conflict, these seven servicemen and three civilians in the
LULU group were the ones the NVN identified as such and identified for
"separate" treatment. Post-war inquiries questioning if all POWs had been
released raised an issue that perhaps there were other POWs who had been
kept separate from the main body of POWs whom had been captured in North or
South Vietnam, or even Cambodia and Laos. While no "parallel" prison system
was ever determined to have existed, the LULU experience was as close to
"separate" treatment as could be identified.