LEFEVER, DOUGLAS PAUL Name: Douglas Paul LeFever Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron Date of Birth: 04 January 1943 Home City of Record: Arcanum OH Date of Loss: 05 November 1969 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 172800N 1053900E (WE725422) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 3 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 1518 Other Personnel In Incident: Joseph Y. Echanis (missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 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. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: Capt. Douglas P. LeFever was the pilot and Major Joseph Y. Echanis the navigator of an F4D aircraft from the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron. On November 5, 1969, their mission was to act as Forward Air Controller for an operational mission over Laos. While directing a flight over the assigned area, radio contact was lost with the plane. At 4:34 a.m., one of the strike aircraft in the area saw a large ball of fire on the gound. Although no parachutes were observed, the Air Force concluded that the possibility exists that the crew ejected and safely reached the ground. Throughout the day, an electronic search was conducted, with negative results. The terrain where the plane went down was so rugged that a visual search was not possible. No wreckage was ever found. The last known location was just southwest of Ban Som Peng in Khammouane Province, Laos. Since the war's end in 1973, thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. Government regarding Americans still in captivity in Southeast Asia. Most of the reports involve Americans in Laos, where nearly 600 Americans went missing, and none released. Henry Kissinger predicted, in the 50's, that future "limited political engagements" would result, unfortunately, in nonrecoverable prisoners of war. We have seen this prediction fulfilled in Korea and Vietnam, where thousands of men and women remain missing, and where ample evidence exists that many of them (from BOTH wars) are still alive today. For Americans, the "unfortunate" abandonment of military personnel is not acceptable, and the policy that allows it must be changed before another generation is left behind in some faraway war. Both Echanis and LeFever were promoted to the rank of Major during the period they were maintained Missing in Action.