Name: Carter P. Luna
Rank/Branch: USAF, O5
Unit: 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing
Date of Birth: 25 September 28
Home City of Record: Hazelhurst, MS
Date of Loss: 10 March 69
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 170257N 1055758E
Status (in 1973): Missing
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D

Other Personnel In Incident: Aldis P. Rutyna (rescued)

Source: Compiled by THE P.O.W. NETWORK 02 February 93 from the following
published sources - POW/MIA's -- Report of the Select Committee on POW/MIA
Affairs United States Senate -- January 13, 1993. "The Senate Select
Committee staff has prepared case summaries for the priority cases that the
Administration is now investigating. These provide the facts about each
case, describe the circumstances under which the individual was lost, and
detail the information learned since the date of loss.  Information in their
family members' cases in more comprehensive detail than summarized here and
recognizes the limitations that the report format imposes on these
summaries." 2020

On March 10, 1969, Lieutenant Colonel Luna and Captain Aldis P. Rutyna were
in one of a flight of two F-4D aircraft on a combat mission over Laos.
Their aircraft was hit by hostile ground fire while over the Route 9112/9116
road junction.  The JCRC currently carries them as lost over Savannakhet
Province and the Defense Intelligence Agency carries them as lost over
Khammouane Province.

Both crewmen ejected and landed safely.  Both were in voice contact with
search and rescue aircraft and reporting enemy ground fire close to their
position.  Communications was lost with Lieutenant Colonel Luna one hour
later.  The two crewmen landed on top of enemy forces and for the next two
hours, Captain Rutyna served as a forward air controller calling in
airstrikes on surrounding hostile forces.  Captain Rutyna was rescued at
that point, three hours after his shoot down.

Lieutenant Colonel Luna was not seen alive in the northern Vietnamese prison
system.  He was initially declared missing and in August 1975 was declared
dead/body not recovered.




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On March 10, 1969, an F-4D Phantom II (tail number 65-, call sign "Papaya 2") with two crew members on board took off from Ubon Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, as one of a flight of two aircraft on a strike mission against ground targets in southern Laos. During its fifth pass over the target, "Papaya 2" was hit by hostile ground fire and crashed. Both crew members ejected and landed safely about three hundred feet apart near the intersection of two dirt roads, and both were in voice contact with each other and with search and rescue aircraft. They reported enemy activity close to their position. The pilot was eventually rescued; however, radio communication was lost with the other aircraft commander, and search and rescue efforts failed to locate him. 

Lieutenant Colonel Carter Purvis Luna entered the U.S. Air Force from Mississippi and was a member of the 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing. He was the aircraft commander of this Phantom on March 10, 1969, and attempts to locate him or his remains after his plane went down were unsuccessful. While carried in the status of MIA, the Air Force promoted Lt Col Luna to the rank of Colonel (Col). Today, Colonel Luna is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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