STEVENS, LARRY JAMES

Name: Larry James Stevens
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 216, USS CORAL SEA (CVA 43)
Date of Birth: 17 December 1942 (Hawthorne CA)
Home City of Record: Canoga Park CA
Date of Loss: 14 February 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 163900N 1061900E
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A4C
Refno: 1383

Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 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 2019.


REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: LTJG Larry J. Stevens, a U.S. Navy pilot, was assigned to Attack
Squadron 216 onboard the aircraft carrier USS CORAL SEA. On Valentine's Day,
1969, he launched in his A4C Skyhawk attack aircraft on a night strike
mission over Laos. With him was another A4C piloted by LTCDR J.F. Meehan. A
Forward Air Controller (FAC) aircraft and an A6 Intruder were also in the
area.

The flight was assigned a ground target -- a group of trucks carrying
ammunition and supplies to enemy forces fighting in South Vietnam. While
maneuvering in the target area, the two A4's were fired upon by
anti-aircraft artillery. The two aircraft were at 10,000 feet, when LTCDR
Meehan, in the lead aircraft, heard and felt a double explosion with an
accompanying white flash from the left side of his aircraft. This explosion
caused damage to Meehan's aircraft. He was able to regain control of the
damaged plane, flew out to sea, ejected safely and was picked up by a search
and rescue helicopter.

LTJG Stevens had been flying close formation when the flash and explosions
were experienced. No transmissions were heard from Stevens at that time and
no further voice contact was established. About one minute after the
explosion, his aircraft was seen by the FAC and the crew of the A6 aircraft
to impact the ground. Initial reports indicated that there might have been a
mid-air collision between the two aircraft, but this was later discounted.

Stevens made no radio transmission after his plane was hit, nor was there
any sighting of a parachute. However, a few minutes after his plane crashed,
a five to ten second beeper signal was picked up by the other planes and was
assumed to come from Stevens. Subsequent visual and electronic sweeps of the
area failed to pick up any sign of him or his plane. Hostile threat in this
area, near Tchepone, Laos, precluded any further search and rescue efforts.
In his official report of the incident, Steven's squadron commander advanced
the strong possibility that he could well have survived the crash, in which
case he would almost certainly been captured. There has been no further word
of Larry Stevens received by his family.

Larry Steven's parents are very active in the effort to resolve the POW/MIA
problem. They say, "How long can our POWs endure what they are now, and have
been undergoing for from twelve to twenty years in captivity? The
governments of Vietnam and Laos have positive knowledge of many of our men.
Progress is extremely slow. Please write your Congressman and Senators
asking them to become involved in the cause of our POW/MIAs."

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                                                   [stevens.txt 11/07/91]

                Written Testimony of Gladys Stevens Fleckenstein
                         Mother of L/CDR Larry Stevens
              To Senate Select Committee on POWs November 7, 1991

    Members of the Senate Select Committee:

    My name is Gladys Stevens Fleckenstein.  I am the mother of L/CDR Larry
    James Stevens.  After taking off from the USS Coral Sea, Larry was shot
    down in a night action over the Ho Chi Mihn trail in Laos on February
    14, 1969.

    Eye witness reports from three US fliers who saw the crash of Larry's
    plane state they picked up a five to ten second beeper signal two to
    three minutes after Larry's plane impacted the ground.  They are
    positive the signal came from Larry.

    The official report from Larry's commanding officer on the incident
    stated that he felt the chances of Larry's survival were good.  A navy
    man, John Hamill, Lemoore, California, who was aboard the Coral Sea on
    this same cruise told me that the ship's crew was told that Larry
    "punched out" immediately and was known to be alive on the ground. 
    These and other data throughout the years only strengthen my belief,
    Larry is alive.

    I have always felt in my heart that my son survived the crash.  Now I
    have that proof.  After twenty-two and a half years of searching,
    traveling to Paris, Geneva and Laos, flag raisings, speeches, and doing
    what ever I could do to keep the awareness about our LIVE POWS before
    the public.  We have spent everything we have had over the years and now
    I have reached the end of my quest to find my son.  We have found Larry
    Stevens.  I have a picture brought out by a source of the Three POWs in
    my possession.  The man on the right is my son.  I have a new LIVE POW
    picture, of Larry wearing a blue shirt, brought out by Judge Hamilton
    Gayden's sources.  This blue shirt POW photo has been positively
    identified by Dr. Charney of  Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Larry Stevens
    has been positively identified by a second forensic expert, Thomas
    Wilson, of Pittsburg, Penn.  (Documentation of photo I.D. attached.)

    My family and friends who have men in a "missing" status have long felt
    that the U.S. government, and especially the DIA, are not aggressively
    pursuing the data and evidence that support our belief that live
    Americans remain captive in Southeast Asia today.

    One single fact shows the most damning proof that DIA is not serious
    about finding live POWs.  Using information DIA had been sitting on for
    six months, the families contacted a source known to the DIA for those
    six months, talked with him by phone, flew to his home in California,
    and were given a copy of the Three POW Photo showing the three men, and
    which had the names of Col. Robertson and L/CDR Stevens on the back. 
    All of this was accomplished in well under 72 hours from the time news
    of the sighting report was first received by the families on November 8,
    1990.  Yet, in a letter dated December 10, 1990, a month later, Deputy
    Chief Trowbridge states DIA is still trying to interview this same
    source.

    In support of my belief that DIA is remiss and not doing a adequate job
    on the POW/MIA issue, I offer the following:

    1.  DIA has over 1,400 first hand live sighting reports which claim that
    live Americans are being held against their will.  These 1,400 reports
    are classified and are denied to the families and to the American public
    (including members of  Congress).

    Why should reports of incidents that occurred 20 to 25 years ago remain
    classified?  Is it "national security" matter or is LIVE POW information
    being classified in order to cover up DIA's ineptitude?

    Worse yet, these files denied to the families have been TURNED OVER TO
    HANOI.

    2.  The Tighe report specifically charges DIA to have a mind-set to
    debunk all live sighting reports and states that evidence proving LIVE
    POWs exists, remains classified and is hidden from the families and from
    several congressional committees which have oversight responsibility.

    3.  The 5-page letter submitted by then Chief of the POW/MIA section of
    the DIA, Col Millard A. Peck, makes the same charge.

    4.  The interim report as well as the final report by the "US Senate
    Committee on Foreign Relations Republican Staff" document in detail
    similar allegations.

    5.  DIA and the IAG (inter agency group) have launched a concerted and
    continuous attack to debunk the identification by family members of at
    least five military men whose reported photos have been made public
    lately.   The names of L/CDR Larry Stevens, Col. John Robertson, Major
    Albro Lundy II, Lt. Daniel V. Borah, Jr. and Major Donald G. Carr (all
    names appearing on official MIA lists) have surfaced along with photos
    and reports which claim these American military men are still alive. 
    Instead of trying to deny these men are alive, the DIA should send out
    their teams to follow all available leads.

    Our men shot down and captured are advancing in age.  We need the WILL
    to find them NOW and bring them home AT ONCE.  Advancing age, disease,
    confinement and possible torture are not conducive to their health and
    well-being.  DIA's most urgent task is to send investigative teams to
    the prison sites and caves where indigenous people have stated that live
    Americans were observed being held against their will.  I feel this may
    be our men's last hope to ever see their homeland again.  It is up to
    you, the newly formed Senate Select Committee, to BRING THEM HOME NOW.

                       STRANGE HAPPENINGS THAT PUZZLE ME

    1.  The FBI claim they have no fingerprints for any of the men in the
    three POW photo.  Yet, all three men have held high security clearances. 
    It seems strange to me that the Los Angles Hall of Records have a birth
    certificate of my two younger sons, but not one of my POW son, Larry
    Stevens.  The same situation exists with hospital and DMV records.  (See
    The Fingerprint Saga, attached)

    2.  DIA sends us a tape and written material in a foreign language. 
    When we request an English translation, DIA sanitizes all names and
    places in the returned English version, but leaves this data in the
    foreign copy.

    3.  Instead of helping the family members, DIA forces us to prove time
    and time again that our men are alive, while DIA classifies all the
    records we need.

    DIA claims that the pictures of the Three Men is a hoax and yet they
    cannot prove it.  I received a 19 page report from Sandia Laboratories
    and their conclusions which I would like to read to you.

      I cannot prove that this photograph is a hoax, but I believe there
      is substantial evidence that rifles are being held. It doesn't
      make sense that POWs would have their picture taken holding
      weapons.  This, however, is conjecture on my part.  I have found
      no evidence that this photograph has been tampered with.  I also
      have found no evidence that it is tamper free.  i recommend a
      continued historical literature search to locate the original
      image.

    Let me repeat part of that first line, "I cannot prove that this photo
    is a hoax."

    Regarding the purported picture of the L/CDR Stevens along, Sandia Lab's
    state:

      I cannot say whether or not the service record and purported
      images show the same man.  The men in the two images do look
      somewhat alike.  Sequence I on the video tape documents this.
      However, sequences 2 and 3 on the video show that an impostor can
      also be photographed to look somewhat like the service record and
      purported images.  The increased width in the purported image
      compared to the service record images of the test subject as a
      youth and an adult.  Age and weight gain did not increase the
      width.  Finally, I am concerned about the technical foundation
      upon which Dr. Charney has made his identification.

    Dr. Charney has positively identified my son's picture two different
    times and i believe in his analysis on hundred percent.

    I have fought the fight all these years when our government should have
    brought my son, and all the LIVE POWS home and as full as possible
    accounting of those who perished.  last, they flew me out over the Ho
    Chi Mihn Trail, Laos, and I left my heart and my son in that lonely
    land.

    At the very best what is going on here is gross incompetence starting
    with Carl Ford and leading to President Bush.

    At worst, there is an active government cover-up.

    Gentlemen, if there are any real men left in the leadership of this
    country, I call on you now to stop this pathetic charade and bring my
    son, Larry Stevens, home.

    Larry has managed to get his picture out.  What more can he do?


 

02/10/2010
Just now learned of the passing of Jack Fleckenstein. Jack succumbed to heart failure yesterday morning at 8AM.
Jack was a true gentleman and fighter for the truth. He will be sorely missed by those who knew and loved him.
The world is a sadder place today because of his absence.
 
Cards can be sent the family
Gladys Fleckenstein
542 Albeltoft Way
Solvang, CA 93463

jp

 15 February 2010
 
Dear Gladys,
 
        I was sorry to hear of Jack's passing.
He fought the good fight for so long. What a
true American patriot he was. If he had lived
in 1776, he would have stood side by side with
General Washington and other patriots in defense of liberty.
        Please know that I share your grief and sorrow,
but you must take great comfort in celebrating the
life of this wonderful man. Now he is with God
and knows the truth about the fate of all of
our POWs, God bless you and your family.
 
                                        Senator Bob Smith

 

https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/2019/02/09/colleen-cason-mothers-loss-reveals-depths-her-love-vietnam-war-pow-mia-camarillo/2804503002/

And it's not just for a full accounting of what happened to Larry but for all POW/MIA families,” said Gary Stevens, Gladys' middle son. The day Larry was ...

...They would not be silenced — even in July 1992 in a highly publicized incident when President George H.W. Bush accused them of heckling him and ordered them to “sit down and shut up.”...