STEADMAN, JAMES EUGENE Name: James Eugene Steadman Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Ubon Airfield, Thailand Date of Birth: 18 February 1945 Home City of Record: Ft. Collins CO Date of Loss: 26 November 1971 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 162000N 1045800E (WC015965) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 1781 Source: Compiled 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 in 1998. Other Personnel In Incident: Robert D. Beutel (missing) REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: 1Lt. Robert D. Beutel flew backseater for Capt. James E. Steadman on an F4D Phantom jet assigned to the 497th TFS at Ubon, Thailand. On November 26, 1971, the two were flying a mission out of Thailand and over Laos. Just inside Laos, in Savannakhet Province, their plane disappeared. No one knew for sure if it was hit, or had mechanical trouble - it just vanished. No remains or wreckage of the plane was ever found. Bob Beutel and Jim Steadman were declared Missing in Action. The Air Force maintained them in that classification for 7 years, and then declared them dead, because there was "no evidence" to believe they were alive. There was also no evidence that the two were dead. Bob Beutel was packed for R & R in Australia after being overseas for 6 months. He was on his last flight before his departure. Jim Steadman, a young officer from the Air Force Academy left a wife of only a short duration to wonder what happened to him. Beutel and Steadman are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos during the war with Vietnam. Although the Pathet Lao stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, not a single man held in Laos was ever released - or negotiated for. Thousands of reports have been received which cause experts to believe that hundreds of Americans are still alive in captivity. Even the most skeptical believe a number of prisoners may be held in Laos today. What must these men, who willingly went to serve their country, be thinking of us? It's time we brought them home.
Daughter holds onto hope of learning what happened to her father who went missing while serving country