SIGAFOOS, WALTER HARRISON III

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Name: Walter Harrison Sigafoos III
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 29 August 1946
Home City of Record: Richboro PA
Date of Loss: 25 April 1971
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 153700N 1065700E (YC090273)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D

Other Personnel In Incident: Jeffrey C. Lemon (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project  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 2020.

Attended the USAF Academy.

REMARKS:

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 around.

Capt. Jeffrey C. Lemon was the pilot and 1Lt. Walter H. Sigafoos III the
weapons/systems officer of an F4D fighter jet sent on a combat mission over Laos
on april 25, 1971. During the mission, the aircraft was shot down about 15 miles
northeast of the city of Ban Phone in Saravane Province. Both crewmen were
declared missing in action.

In 1973, the prisoners of war held in Vietnam were released. Laos was not part
of the Paris agreement which ended American involvement in Indochina and no
prisoners held by the Lao were ever released. Nearly 600 Americans were left
behind, forgotten and abandoned by the country they proudly served.

In 1975, refugees fled Southeast Asia and brought with them stories of Americans
prisoner, missing and unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. The reports continued
to flow in as the years passed. By 1990, over 10,000 reports had been received.
Some sources have passed multiple polygraph tests, but the U.S. Government still
insists that proof is not available.

Meanwhile, the Lao voice dismay about the large numbers of their people that
were killed and the fact that much of their once beautiful homeland now is
cratered like the moon from bombs dropped by American planes. They seem to want
acknowledgement that, in bombing enemy sanctuaries in Laos, we also did great
harm to the Lao people.

We are haunted by the secret war we conducted in Laos through the lives of the
Americans we left behind. Some of them are still alive. What must they be
thinking of us?

Jeffrey Lemon was promoted to the rank of Major and Walter Sigafoos to the rank
of Captain during the period they were maintained missing.

=============

Associated Press Newswires
Saturday, July 5, 2003

Missing Vietnam soldier's fate still haunts brother

NEWTOWN, Pa. (AP) - More than three decades after his brother was declared
missing in action in Vietnam, Alan Sigafoos says he hasn't given up hope.....
 

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02/2020

https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000BTeNEAW

CAPT WALTER HARRISON SIGAFOOS III

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On April 25, 1971, an F-4D Phantom II (tail number 66-007616) with two crew members took off from Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam, as part of a two-plane escort for an AC-119 gunship on a night reconnaissance and strike mission over Laos. Approximately two hours into the mission, the gunship dropped a flare to direct this Phantom to an identified target. The Phantom's pilot stated he could not see the flare from his current position and that he would proceed north in attempt to acquire it. This was the last radio contact made with the missing Phantom, and it was not seen again. It was presumed lost northeast of the city of Ban Phone in Xekong Province, Laos. Both crewmen were declared missing in action.

First Lieutenant Walter Harrison Sigafoos III entered the U.S. Air Force from Pennsylvania and was a member of the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron. He was the navigator aboard this Phantom and was lost with the aircraft. His remains have not been accounted for. Subsequent to the incident, and while carried in the status of missing in action (MIA), the U.S. Air Force promoted First Lieutenant Sigafoos to the rank of Captain (Capt). Today, Captain Sigafoos 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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