Name: William August Ott
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 23 September 1934
Home City of Record: Livermore CA
Date of Loss: 08 October 1970
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 155000N 1061000E (XD420688)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: RF4C
Refno: 1664
Other Personnel In Incident: Donald E. Shay (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project  15 March 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.


SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a
multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and
had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The
F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes.
Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.

Capt. William A. Ott was the pilot and Capt. Donald E. Shay Jr. the
weapons/systems officer onboard the reconnaissance version of the Phantom, an
RF4C, sent on a mission in Southern Laos on October 8, 1970. The last radio
contact was made 30 minutes flying time from their home base. The aircraft was
shot down and both Ott and Shay became Missing in Action.

When 591 Americans were released from Vietnam in 1973, Shay and Ott were not
among them. As a matter of fact, the Lao released no prisoners whatever. They
were not a part of the Paris Peace talks ending American involvement in
Southeast Asia, and the prisoners they publicly stated they held have never been

Since 1973, over 10,000 reports have been given to the U.S. Government regarding
Americans still in Southeast Asia. Some, according to one State Department
official,  have withstood the closest scrutiny possible, and cannot be disputed.
There is very strong reason to believe that Americans are still held captive in
Southeast Asia today. Shay and Ott could be among them. It's time we brought our
men home.

William A. Ott was promoted to the rank of Colonel and Donald E. Shay to the
rank of Major during the period they were maintained Missing in Action. Donald
E. Shay is a 1967 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Unlike "MIAs" from other wars, most of the nearly 2500 Americans who did not
come home from Vietnam can easily be accounted for, dead or alive. We, as a
nation, must turn our immediate attention to those who are alive and do
everything possible to secure their freedom.

William Ott
He was born in Wainwright, Alberta and he has no marker.





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On October 8, 1970, an RF-4C Phantom II (tail number 68-610, call sign "Falcon 4") carrying two crew members took off on a solo photo reconnaissance mission over Laos. En route, the Phantom rendezvoused with a tanker aircraft to refuel and then continued to the target. Approximately one hour later, the pilot of this Phantom made radio contact saying the mission was successful. No further radio contact was established and the aircraft was not heard from again. Search efforts were initiated at the aircraft's fuel depletion time, but there was no sign of the aircraft, and the crew was declared missing. 

Captain William August Ott entered the U.S. Air Force from California and was a member of the 14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 432rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. He was the pilot of this Phantom II when it was lost, and he went missing with the aircraft. He remains unaccounted for. Subsequent to the incident, and while carried in the status of missing in action (MIA), the U.S. Air Force promoted Captain Ott to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Today, Lieutenant Colonel Ott 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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