Name: John Wayne Seuell
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: Udorn Airfield, Thailand
Date of Birth: 24 February 1946
Home City of Record: Wheeling MO (family in AZ)
Date of Loss: 06 June 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 215000N 1045300E (VK879141)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D
Refno: 1870

Other Personnel In Incident: James A. Fowler (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 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: Lt.Colonel James A. Fowler and his weapons systems officer,
Captain John W. Seuell, departed Udorn Airfield at 10 a.m. on June 6, 1972
on a combat air patrol mission northwest of Hanoi. Their F4D was the lead
aircraft in a flight of four F4Ds on the mission.

The mission progressed as planned and the flight arrived in the target area
without incident. Upon completion of the mission, the flight proceeded back
to Thailand. Approaching surface-to-air missile launching sites near Yen Bai
Airfield, North Vietnam, the launch of a missile was detected about 11:29
a.m. Although evasive maneuvers were initiated, the missile was seen to
explode about five feet below the tail section of Fowler's plane. The
aircraft burst into flames, but did not disintegrate. No canopies or
parachutes were seen. Thirty minutes later, flights in the area reported
hearing two emergency signals, but no voice contact could be established.
Because the incident occurred deep in enemy territory, no organized search
could be made.

The shootdown site was in an are in North Vietnam that the U.S. had access
to in May, 1973, but failed to inspect.

When 591 Americans were released from Vietnam in 1973, Fowler and Seuell
were not among them. Neither were hundreds more whom military heads believed
had been captured. Unlike MIAs in other wars, most of the nearly 2500
missing in Vietnam can be accounted for with relative ease. Since the war's
end, thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. Government
regarding Americans still in captivity in Southeast Asia. There is a large
volume of evidence which indicates that hundreds are still being held.
Perhaps two of them could be Fowler and Seuell.

Henry Kissinger predicted, in the 50's, that future "limited political
engagements" would result, unfortunately, in nonrecoverable prisoners of
war. We have seen this prediction fulfilled in Korea and Vietnam, where
thousands of men and women remain missing, and where ample evidence exists
that many of them (from BOTH wars) are still alive today. The U.S.
Government seems unable (or unwilling) to negotiate their freedom. For
Americans, the "unfortunate" abandonment of military personnel is not
acceptable, and the policy that allows it must be changed before another
generation is left behind in some faraway war.

James A. Fowler was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the
period he was maintained missing. Seuell's rank was maintained as Captain.

Memories, pain still fresh for families of missing Vietnam officers

Related Sites:
- Advocacy and Intelligence on POWs, MIAs
- Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office
- Missing Brothers: Dedicated to those missing in Southeast Asia
- The P.O.W. Network

By OSCAR AVILA - The Kansas City Star
Date: 09/26/99 22:15

WHEELING, Mo. -- It's unclear whether Maj. Charles Morley and Capt. John
Seuell knew each other. But in many ways, they lived the same life.

Both grew up in small Missouri towns, graduated from Central Missouri State
University, joined the Air Force and trained in Texas.......

To reach Oscar Avila, Missouri correspondent, call (816) 234-4902 or send
e-mail to




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On June 6, 1972, an F-4D Phantom II (tail number 66-6232, call sign "Gopher 01") with two crew members was the lead plane in a flight of four on a combat air patrol mission over North Vietnam. As the flight egressed from the mission area due to depleted fuel, it approached the defensive ring around the Yen Bai Airfield, North Vietnam, and encountered both enemy fighters and surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). "Gopher 01" was damaged by an enemy SAM which caused the aircraft to burst into flames and crash in the vicinity of (GC) 48Q VK 879 141. No ejections or parachutes were observed. Due to the extremely strong enemy presence in the area of the crash site, search and rescue operations were impossible.

Captain John Wayne Seuell, who entered the U.S. Air Force from Missouri, served with the 523rd Tactical Fighter Squadron and was the weapon systems officer aboard this Phantom at the time of its loss. He remains unaccounted for. Today, Captain Seuell 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.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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