Name: Walter A. Renelt
Branch/Rank: United States Air Force/O5
Unit:  20th Tactical Air Support Squadron
Date of Birth: 24 April 1929
Home City of Record: WILMOT SD
Date of Loss: 20 November 1969
Country of Loss: LAOS
Loss Coordinates: 152300 North  10732900 East
Status (in 1973):  Missing in Action
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O2A #21301
Other Personnel in Incident:  John Baldridge, MIA
Refno: 1524

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File.  2020



No further information available at this time.




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On November 20, 1969, an O-2A Skymaster (tail number 67-21301), call sign "Lopez 01," took off carrying two crew members for a visual reconnaissance mission over Laos. During the mission, "Lopez 01" radioed to their forward air controller that they had been hit by enemy fire and one of the engines had stopped. The forward air controller was in the area and saw that "Lopez 01" had crashed as a result of its damage and was burning with no signs of life around the wreckage. The following day, attempts were made to insert rescue teams near the crash site via helicopter, but enemy machine gun fire prevented them from landing and they were forced to withdraw. Subsequent attempts were made to observe the area, but further ground rescue attempts proved impossible due to bad weather and enemy activity. An electronic search for beeper signals was maintained until November 28, but nothing was ever heard and the two men who were aboard "Lopez 01" were not seen following the incident. 

Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) Walter Alfred Renelt, who entered the U.S. Air Force from South Dakota, served in the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron and was serving as an instructor pilot aboard an O-2A aircraft call sign "Lopez 01" when it crashed. His remains have not been recovered. Subsequent to the incident, and while carried in the status of missing in action (MIA), the U.S. Air Force promoted Lt Col Renelt to the rank of Colonel (Col).  Today, Col Renelt 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.

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