MARTIN, DOUGLAS KENT
Remains buried 04/18/99
Name: Douglas Kent Martin
Rank/Branch: Capt O3/USAF
Unit: 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 24 July 1947 (Shreveport LA)
Home City of Record: Tyler TX
Date of Loss: 18 April 1973
Country of Loss: Cambodia
Loss Coordinates: 134200N 1065900E (YA153151)
Status (in 1973): (none)
Other Personnel In Incident: Samuel L. James (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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 2020.
REMARKS: DEAD - CHARRED BODIES - FBIS
SYNOPSIS: Capt. Douglas K. Martin was the pilot, and Capt. Samuel L. James
the weapons system officer on an F4E "Phantom" jet assigned the task of
marking a target in Cambodia with a smoke rocket on April 18, 1973. Radar
contact was lost with the aircraft during the mission and no radio contact
was made with the crew. Wingmen observed no explosion or parachutes, and no
emergency radio signal "beepers" were heard. The wingmen did not see the
plane go down, but they did observe a new swath cut through dense jungle
A subsequent 700-square-mile search was conducted for the aircraft. During
the search for Martin and James, aerial photographs were taken of a probable
crash site which revealed an ejection seat, wing debris and one main landing
gear. The Air Force stated that James "is probably a POW according to our
A July 8, 1973 report from a South Vietnamese agent who spoke with a refugee
described three American prisoners wearing one-piece flight suits who
arrived in Kompong Barey Hamlet in Prey Veng Province in southern Cambodia,
en route to an unnamed location near Loc Ninh in South Vietnam. The agent
contacted a Viet Cong cadre who stated that they would be held at Loc Ninh
for future exchange. U.S. officials later denied that the July 8, 1973
sighting report existed, although James' father saw it himself in James'
file when in Thailand in October, 1973. Mr. James also spoke with the
wingmen. They all agreed that the crew could have survived.
A Cambodian broadcast report stating that the bodies of Martin and James
were found "charred" in the plane wreckage, was dismissed in 1973 by the
Defense Department as "propaganda," and the family was told not to regard it
seriously. Yet, as late as 1980, the "charred bodies" remark remain as data
identifiers in Defense Department records, with no further explanation given
to the family. James' family has never given up hope that he is still alive,
waiting for his country to secure his freedom. His family has worked
tirelessly since the day he was shot down to bring him home.
Both Douglas K. Martin and Samuel L. James attended the U.S. Air Force
Academy. When shot down, James was wearing a POW bracelet bearing the name
of a missing Academy friend, Dennis Pugh.
National Alliance of Families
For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen
World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam - Yugoslavia
Dolores Alfond ----- 425-881-1499
Lynn O'Shea ------- 718-846-4350
Website ------------- http://www.nationalalliance.org
April 11, 1999
Another Family's Questions - On April 18, 1999 remains identified as Douglas
Martin and Samuel Larry James will be intered at the Air Force Academy
Cemetary. While Capt. James' daughter accepts the identification, his
mother Virgie James, and his sister Barbara White DO NOT. Larry's
identification is based on a dog tag found at the site and several teeth
which DO NOT match Capt. Martin and "compare favorably" to Capt. James.
The dental identification of Capt. James is far from conclusive. Four
independent dentists reviewed the odentolgist report. Their opinion is
split down the middle, with two saying it could be Capt. James and two
saying it might not be Capt. James. A dental comparison should either
match or not match. A favorable comparison, is not sufficient for an
The identification of remains is not a game of horseshoes. Close does not
Neither Larry's mom nor his Sister will be attending the April 18th
internment. Both Mrs. James and her daughter Barbara ask that those wearing
Larry's POW bracelet continue to wear the bracelet, as they do not consider
him accounted for.
MEMORANDUM FOR CORRESPONDENTS April 16, 1999
The remains of six American servicemen previously unaccounted-for from
the war in Southeast Asia have been identified and are being returned to
their families for burial in the United States.
They are identified as Air Force Capt. Dean A. Wadsworth,
Clarendon, Texas; Marine SSgt. Harold E. Reid, Salt Lake City,
Utah; Navy Lt. David L. Hodges, Chevy Chase, Md.; Air Force Lt.
Col. Lewis M. Robinson, Saginaw, Mich.; Air Force Capt. Douglas
K. Martin, Tyler, Texas; and Air Force Capt. Samuel L. James,
On Oct. 8, 1963, Wadsworth and his South Vietnamese crewman were
flying their T-28B Trojan on a combat support mission approximately 50
miles southwest of Da Nang, South Vietnam. As he completed his bombing
run over the target, his aircraft broke apart in mid air, crashed and
exploded, as reported by another pilot on the mission. A massive search
and rescue operation was initiated that day by two Marine helicopters
but they disappeared during the mission. At dawn on the following day,
Marine heli copters airlifted two companies of South Vietnamese
infantrymen to the area of the downed aircraft. As the helicopters
landed, enemy troops fired on them, wounding three Marine crewmen and
killing a Vietnamese soldier.
Two T-28s, B-26s and a South Vietnamese A-1 aircraft responded
by strafing enemy positions. An American L-19 light observation
aircraft directing the strike was hit, the Vietnamese observer was
wounded, and the aircraft made a forced landing. Meanwhile, the
Vietnamese ground troops found both Marine helicopters that had
disappeared on the first day. Ten bodies were recovered, but two remain
missing in action to this day. In the days during the search and rescue
operations, 207 missions were flow n, three aircraft were lost and four
others damaged. Fifteen South Vietnamese soldiers were killed and seven
In late 1993, a Vietnamese local turned over remains he said
were recovered near the crash site. In May of the following year, a
joint U.S./Vietnamese team, led by the Joint Task Force-Full Accounting,
visited the area of the crash, interviewed villagers and obtained some
aircraft debris and pilot-related equipment. In September, another
joint team examined the crash site and found more debris, but no
remains. Then in May 1995, another team excavated the site where they
found remains, as well as two identification tags of Wadsworth.
On Sept. 13, 1967, Reid completed his tour guarding an
observation post near a river in Quang Nam Province, South Vietnam.
Before dawn, he crossed the bridge to visit a friend on the south side
of the river. He was never seen again. A joint U.S./Vietnamese team in
August 1993 interviewed local informants who claimed to have buried an
American Marine who had been shot by the Vietcong near the river. The
informants stated that the body had been moved and re-buried at another
location, but the team could not locate it. In September 1995, another
team interviewed other informants, but obtained little information.
Then in April 1996, a third team excavated the reported burial site
about 1,000 meters from the southern end of the bridge where they found
remains as well as material evidence and personal equipment.
On Oct. 7, 1967, Hodges was leading a strike mission near Hanoi,
North Vietnam when his A-4E Skyhawk was struck by an enemy
surface-to-air missile. His wingman reported receiving a radio
transmission from the lieutenant that his engine had flamed out. As the
wingman watched, Hodges' burning aircraft rolled to the right, entered a
steep dive, and crashed. No parachute was sighted and no emergency
beeper signals were heard. Because of enemy control of the area, there
was no search and rescue missi on mounted.
Acting on information obtained from Vietnamese wartime documents, a
joint U.S./Vietnamese team interviewed villagers in July 1995 who
claimed to have visited the site shortly after the crash and buried the
pilot. But the crash crater had been filled with dirt to allow farming,
so the team found no evidence of a crash. But the following April,
another team mounted an excavation at the site where they did recover
remains, a wristwatch fragment, pilot-related items and aircraft
wreckage. Later, in September 1996, a third team continued the
excavation and found additional remains among the wreckage.
Robinson was flying his A-1E Skyraider on a close air support mission
over Saravane Province, Laos, on June 4, 1967, when he was struck by
enemy ground fire. His aircraft pitched up abruptly, struck the wing of
another aircraft, went into an inverted spin and crashed amid an
explosion. None of the other pilots in the flight reported seeing a
parachute nor hearing emergency beeper signals. Hostile threats in the
area prevented air or ground searches of the crash site.
In early 1988, representatives of the Laotian government turned over
remains to the U. S. Joint Casualty Resolution Center, the unit leading
joint recovery operations in Southeast Asia at the time. A joint
U.S./Lao team traveled to the area of the crash site in November 1993,
interviewed villagers, surveyed the area and recovered skeletal
fragments, aircraft wreckage and pilot-related equipment. Then in
January 1998, a second joint team excavated the site and recovered more
remains and personal equipment.
Martin and James were flying a forward air control mission over Cambodia
on April 18, 1973, when they descended below a 6,000-foot layer of haze
in their F-4E Phantom. They radioed they had the target in sight, but
their wingman was unable to maintain visual contact. He asked Martin
and James to give him an automatic direction-finder signal but there was
no response. On several passes over the target, the wingman noted fires
and explosions near the target area. There were no parachutes sighted,
nor emergency beeper signals. Enemy activity in the area prevented a
ground search, but aerial reconnaissance the following day noted
aircraft debris at the site.
In 1993, 1995 and 1997, three joint U.S./Cambodian teams developed leads
through interviews with local villagers and surveys of the crash site.
The informants noted that the crash site had been heavily scavenged and
that remains had been present at one time. Then in January 1998, a
joint team excavated the site where they found remains amid numerous
pieces of aircraft wreckage. Anthropological analysis of the remains and
other evidence by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory,
Hawaii confirmed the identification of all six of these servicemen.
With the accounting of these six, there are now 2,063 Americans
unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War. Since the release of American
POWs in 1973, 520 MIAs from Southeast Asia have been accounted-for and
returned to their families for burial with full military honors.
The U.S. government welcomes and appreciates the cooperation of
the governments of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Lao People's
Democratic Republic, and the Kingdom of Cambodia that resulted in the
accounting of these servicemen. We hope that such cooperation will
bring increased results in the future. Achieving the fullest possible
accounting for these Americans is of the highest national priority.
Saturday, Apr. 17, 1999
Southlake family's 26 years of waiting ends
By Marisa Taylor
Star-Telegram Staff Writer
SOUTHLAKE -- Scott Martin abruptly awoke from a dream one night last summer,
his second dream in 25 years about his older brother who disappeared during
the Vietnam War.....
I am a cadet at the US Air Force Academy. Yesterday I attended the funerals
of Capts. Doug Martin and Sam James, 2 USAFA grads whose remains were
recently found in Cambodia and returned to the United States to be buried.
They were buried together in the same casket with the same headstone, just
as they were found "buried" together in their F-4 for the last 26 years. I
thought it was a great moment. There were over 300 people at the service
including many of the two deceased pilots' classmates from the Academy, as
well as many Vietnam vets and those who have still "not forgotten". Thank
you for your time.
C3C Jerimy D. Maclellan