PETERSON, MARK ALLEN
Name: Mark Allen Peterson
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron (TASS), Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand. I was
Also a consignment of aircraft operating from Ubon which was designated as
OL-1 (Operating Location #1).
Date of Birth: 14 May 1949
Home City of Record: Canton OH
Date of Loss: 27 January 1973
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 165145N 1071107E (YD328655)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: George W. Morris
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.
NETWORK with information from Dick Anderson, 23rd TASS 69-70, OV-10A Engine
Mechanic TLC Brotherhood 2015.
Remarks: GOOD CHUTE; POSS VOICE CONTACT
SYNOPSIS: The OV10 Bronco was among the aircraft most feared by the Viet
Cong and NVA forces. Whenever the Bronco appeared overhead, an air strike
was certain to follow. Although the glassed-in cabin could become
uncomfortably warm, it provided splendid visibility. The two-man crew had
armor protection and could use machine guns and bombs to attack, as well as
rockets to mark targets for fighter bombers. This versatility enabled the
plane to fly armed reconnaissance missions, in addition to serving as
vehicle for forward air controllers.
1Lt. Mark A. Peterson was pilot, and Capt. George W. Morris the co-pilot, of
an OV10A aircraft with the mission of locating two downed Navy pilots on
January 27, 1973 within hours of the signing of the Paris Peace Accords
ending American military involvement in Vietnam.
When the aircraft was over Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam, it was hit by
enemy fire and both Peterson and Morris were forced to eject. Both safely
parachuted to the ground and one was in radio contact with rescuers.
However, neither could be located or rescued, apparently because of the
It is not known for certain that Morris and Peterson were captured. The two
Navy pilots they were trying to rescue were Phillip A Kientzler and Harley
H. Hall. Kientzler was captured and released a few months later in the
general prisoner release. Kientzler was told Hall had been killed. It is
believed that the Vietnamese could easily account for Peterson and Morris,
alive or dead.
SUMMARY SELECTION RATIONALE
NAMES: MORRIS George W. Jr., Capt. USAF
PETERSON, Mark A., 1LT, USAF
OFFICIAL STATUS: MORRIS - MISSING
PETERSON - MISSING
CASE SUMMARY: SEE ATTACHED
RATIONALE FOR SELECTION: Both crewmen ejected and were observed to land
near each other. After a brief period Lt. Peterson stated that be was going
to be captured. There are indications that one of the two crewmen (probably
Capt. Morris), was killed in the incident.
REFNO: 1981 21 Apr. 76
(C) CASE SUMMARY
1. (U) At 1735 hours on 27 January 1973 lLt Mark A. Peterson, pilot, and
Capt. George W. Morris, Jr., co-pilot, were crewmen of an OV10 aircraft,
(#68-3806, call sign NAIL 89), controlling a search and rescue mission for
the crewmen of an F4 aircraft which had been downed at 1715 hours near the
Cua Viet River in South Vietnam. Crewmen of the other aircraft in the area
saw the Peterson-Morris aircraft hit by an SA-7 missile and observed both
officers eject. They saw two good parachutes, which landed near each other,
and heard two good beeper signals. After a brief period they heard Lt.
Peterson state: "This is NAIL 89'er. I'm going to be captured.! I'm going
to be captured!" He was asked to repeat this transmission and did so. There
was no further contact with him and contact was never established with
Capt. Morris. The last known location was in the vicinity of grid
coordinates YD 328 655. (Ref 1)
2. (C) One member of the F4 crew was captured. He was released during
Operation Homecoming and reported he saw the OV10 hit and the crewmen
eject. As they were coming down in their parachutes, an estimated 30 North
Vietnamese troops opened fire on them with AK-47 rifle fire. He believed
they were both killed. Also, the North Vietnamese in Hanoi made a great
production of him being the last US POW of the war. (Ref 2)
3. (U) A South Vietnamese source reported that on 30 January 1973 he
observed an OV10 plane shot down. He later observed a US P0W being escorted
by five North Vietnamese personnel. He heard this POW was to be taken to
the Trieu Phong District Unit and that a second US pilot was killed in
action at the crash site. (Ref 3)
4. (C) A North Vietnamese source reported hearing from a local guerrilla
member of the Go Hai Village Unit that an OV10 aircraft had been shot down
by a single missile (type unknown) of an anti-aircraft unit in the Cua Viet
area. The US pilot ejected but his parachute did not open and he was killed
instantly on impact in a ricefield. In the meantime, the plane crashed
about two kilometers southeast of the site where the pilot landed. The
source did not visit the site and could not provide a description of the
pilot's remains. (Ref 4)
5. (C) A South Vietnamese soldier who escaped from Communist detention
reported observing an OV10 hit by anti-aircraft ground fire about three
kilometers from his location. The pilots ejected from the aircraft. The
wind blew both parachutes in a northeast direction. A little later a group
of five guerrillas escorted a US POW to the source's location. An escort
told the source the POW was being taken to the security section of the
Trieu Phong District Unit. A few days after this incident the source heard
from a friend that one of the OV10 pilots had been killed and buried in the
center of a ricefield. (Ref 5)
6. (U) During the existence of JCRC, the hostile threat in the area
precluded any visits to or ground inspections of the sites involved in this
case. These individuals' names and identifying data were turned over to the
Four-Party Joint Military Team with a request for any information
available. No response was forthcoming. Capt. Morris and lLt Peterson are
carried in the status of Missing.
1. RPT (FOUO), 56CSG, AF Form 484 w/statements, Feb 73.
2. MSG (C) 13AF JHPC 27190OZ Mar 73.
3. RPT (U), USDAO IIR 6 918 5878 74.7 11 May 74.
4. RPT (C), USDAO IIR 6 918 6811 74 28 -Aug 74.
5. RPT (C), USDAO IIR 6 91-8 6'055 74, 9 Aug 74.
1. George W. MORRIS Jr. 1981-1-01
2. Mark A. Peterson 1981-1-02
* National Alliance of Families Home Page
Just got a copy of Susan Keen's book she wrote about Harley Hall titled
LEFT ALIVE TO DIE, copyright 2011. In covering the shoot down she also
touches on the fate of the crew of Nail 89 George Morris and Mark Peterson.
She states that both their decapitated bodies were discovered tied to a tree
by South Vietnamese "Bright Light Soldiers".