McGOULDRICK, FRANCIS JAY JR. Remains Returned - Announced Sept 2013
Name: Francis Jay McGouldrick, Jr. Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force Unit: 8th Tactical Bomber Squadron, Phan Rang Airbase Date of Birth: 19 December 1928 Home City of Record: New Haven CT Date of Loss: 13 December 1968 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 170100N 1055900E (XD055824) Status (In 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: B57B
Other Personnel in Incident: On C123K: Douglas Dailey; Morgan Donahue; Joseph Fanning; Samuel Walker; Fred L. Clarke (all missing); On B57B: Thomas W. Dugan (missing)
Source: Prepared by Homecoming II Project 01 December 1989 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 2013.
SYNOPSIS: On December 13, 1968, the crew of a C123K was dispatched from Nakhon Phanom Airfield located in northern Thailand near the border of Laos on an operational mission over Laos. The C123, a converted WWII glider equipped with two engines, was assigned night patrol missions along the Ho Chi Minh trail. Flying low at 2000-3000 feet, the job of the seven man crew was to spot enemy truck convoys on the trail and to light up the trails for accompanying B57 bombers which were flying overhead.
The crew on this particular mission included the pilot (name unknown); 1Lt. Joseph P. Fanning, co-pilot; 1Lt. John S. Albright, navigator; 1Lt. Morgan J. Donahue, navigator; SSgt. Samuel F. Walker, SSgt. Douglas V. Dailey, TSgt. Fred L. Clarke, crewmembers. At 0330 hours, as the aircraft was flying about 30 miles southwest of the Ban Karai Pass in Laos, the crew of the C123 were jolted by a blow on the top of their plane in the after section. An overhead B57 that had been called in for an air strike from Phan Rang Airbase had collided with the control plane. The B57B was flown by Maj. Thomas W. Dugan, pilot, and Major Francis J. McGouldrick, co-pilot.
The C123 lost power and went out of control. The pilot, stunned by a blow to the head, lost consciousness. Because of its glider configuration, the C123 did not fall straight to the ground, but drifted lazily to the ground in a flat spin which lasted several minutes. When the pilot regained consciousness, he noted that the co-pilot (Fanning) and navigator (Donahue) were gone. Donahue's station was in the underbelly of the plane where, lying on his stomach, he directed an infared detection device through an open hatch. The pilot parachuted out, landed in a treetop where he remained until rescued at dawn. On the way down, he saw another chute below him, but, because of the dark, was unable to determine who the crew member was.
Intelligence reports after the incident indicate that Donahue, at least, safely reached the ground near Tchepone, but suffered a broken leg. A refugee who escaped captivity in Laos in 1974 reported having observed an American prisoner broughy to the caves near Tchepone, where he was held, in the period between 1968 and 1970. This American was later moved to another locatation unknown to the refugee.
Several reports referring to "Moe-gan" and others describing Donahue as the American called the "animal doctor" were received over the years since war's end. In June and August, 1987, the Donahue family was given intelligence reports tracking Morgan's movements from a POW camp in Kham Kuet, Khammouane Province, Laos in the spring of 1987 to another camp in the Boualapha District of the same province in August 1987. These reports were mere WEEKS old, yet the U.S. marked them "routine". One of them gave Morgan's aircraft type and serial number, which turned out to be, instead of the serial number of the aircraft, Morgan's father's ZIP CODE. Morgan's family believes this is clearly a signal to them from Morgan.
The crews of the C123K and B57B are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many of these men were alive on the ground. The Lao admitted holding American prisoners but these men were never negotiated for. Where are they? Are they alive? Imagine the torture the Donahue family endures knowing Morgan is alive, yet helpless to do anything to help him. Imagine the uncertainty of the other families of the others. Imagine the thoughts of the men we left behind. What are we doing to help bring them home?
(John S. Albright II and Morgan J. Donahue graduated in 1967 from the United States Air Force Academy)
[cd0104.98 02/08/98] The Columbus Dispatch Sunday, January 4, 1998
LOVED ONES STILL SEEK ANSWERS FAMILIES OF MIAS QUESTION GOVERNMENT'S RESOLVE ON ISSUE Ann Fisher Dispatch Staff Reporter
A new year of hope and labor to learn the whereabouts of her father awaits Mitch McGouldrick Guess.....
Keeping the faith
Daughters of missing GI are committed POW-MIA supporters
News photos by Ben French The daughters of Air Force Col. Francis McGouldrick are (from left): Marri Petrucci of Hilliard; Mitch Guess and Megan Genheimer, both of Dublin; and Melisa Hill of Oregon. All have been active in POW-MIA issues since losing their father in the Vietnam War. By KEVIN CORVO
....An official visitor told them their 36-year-old husband and father, U.S. Air Force Col. Francis J. McGouldrick Jr., was missing after his B-57 collided with a cargo plane above the mountains and forests of Laos......
Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, has been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
U.S. Air Force Col. Francis J. McGouldrick Jr. of New Haven, Conn., will be buried Dec. 13, at Arlington National Cemetery. On Dec. 13, 1968, McGouldrick was on a night strike mission when his B-57E Canberra aircraft collided with another aircraft over Savannakhet Province, Laos. McGouldrick was never seen again and was listed as missing in action.
After the war in July 1978, a military review board amended his official status from missing in action to presumed killed in action.
Between 1993 and 2004, joint U.S/Lao People's Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) teams attempted to locate the crash site with no success. On April 8, 2007, a joint team located a possible crash site near the village of Keng Keuk, Laos.
From October 2011 to May 2012, joint U.S./L.P.D.R. teams excavated the site three times and recovered human remains and aircraft wreckage consistence with a B-57E aircraft.
In the identification of McGouldrick, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL) used circumstantial evidence and forensic identification tools, such as mitochondrial DNA � which matched McGouldrick's great nephew and niece.
Today there are 1,644 American service members that are still unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War.
For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call 703-699-1169.
Bracelets band many together for POW/MIA Columbus Dispatch