SHAY, DONALD EMERSON JR.
Name: Donald Emerson Shay, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 16 March 1946
Home City of Record: Linthicum Heights MD
Date of Loss: 08 October 1970
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 155000N 1061000E (XD420688)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: William A. Ott (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
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
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.