POYNOR, DANIEL ROBERTS Remains Identified 06/27/95 Name: Daniel Roberts Poynor Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 12 June 1946 Home City of Record: Enid OK Date of Loss: 19 December 1971 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 193106N 1031738E (UG176587) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 1786 Other Personnel in Incident: Leo T. Thomas (missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 June 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 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: Throughout the Vietnam War, the Plain of Jars region of Laos was a contested area between Lao tribesmen and Vietnam's communist allies, the Pathet Lao. The area was long controlled by the Pathet Lao and a continual effort had been made by the secret CIA-directed force of some 30,000 indigenous tribesmen to strengthen anti-communist strongholds there. The U.S. committed hundreds of millions of dollars to the war effort in Laos. Details of this secret operation were not released until August 1971. Capt. Leo T. Thomas Jr. was an F4 Phantom pilot sent on a mission over the Plain of Jars in Laos on December 19, 1971. His bombardier/navigator on the flight was 1LT Daniel R. Poynor. At a point about five miles north of the city of Ban Na Mai, Thomas' aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed. It was not believed that either crewmember survived. Both were listed Killed/Body Not Recovered. However, it was believed that the enemy could probably provide further information about the two. Because Laos was "neutral," and because the U.S. continued to state they were not at war with Laos (although we were regularly bombing North Vietnamese traffic along the border and conducted assaults against communist strongholds thoughout the country at the behest of the anti-communist government of Laos), and did not recognize the Pathet Lao as a government entity, not one of the nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos was ever released. The Pathet Lao stated that they would release the "tens of tens" of American prisoners they held only from Laos. At war's end, no American held in Laos was released - or negotiated for. The U.S. Government labels the return of an increasing number of American remains as progress towards "high levels of cooperation" on the POW/MIA issue. Although over 10,000 reports regarding Americans in captivity in Southeast Asia have been received, convincing many experts that hundreds remain alive there, the U.S. is content to gauge success on the return of remains. How many will die waiting for the country they proudly served to come to their defense? Leo T. Thomas Jr. graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1963.