SPRAGUE, STANLEY GEORGE Remains Returned 13 September 1990 Name: Stanley George Sprague Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 08 August 1930 Home City of Record: Rapid City SD Date of Loss: 12 September 1966 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 205659N 1041159E (VJ158166) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 3 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A1E Refno: 0455 Other Personnel in Incident: (none 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. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: The Douglas A1 Skyraider ("Spad") is a highly maneuverable, propeller driven aircraft designed as a multipurpose attack bomber or utility aircraft. The A1 was used in a variety of roles, ranging from multi-seat electronic intelligence gathering to antisubmarine warfare and rescue missions. The fighter aircraft was retired in the spring of 1968 and had flown in more than twenty model variations, probably more than any other U.S. combat aircraft. Maj. Stanley G. Sprague was the pilot of an A1E assigned an operational mission over Laos on September 12, 1966. During the mission, his aircraft was shot down over Sam Neua Province, about 35 miles southeast of the city of Sam Neua. This area, known to be a Pathet Lao headquarters, was also believed to be the location where many American POWs were held. The circumstances surrounding Sprague's loss are not known. Information at the time of loss indicated that Sprague was killed in the crash of the aircraft, and there was no information to indicate the enemy knew his fate. However, on September 13, 1990, the North Vietnamese returned Sprague's remains. According to at least one list, that of Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC), Sprague was actually shot down in North Vietnam. The nearest point of border of Vietnam is approximately 50 miles from the coordinates listed by the Department of Defense as Sprague's loss location. If Sprague's target had been in North Vietnam, and he was based in Thailand, it is possible that he was on approach or egress from the target, guided by radar sites in northern Laos. He may have been hit at or near the target and headed for a safer rescue point. Details of many of the Americans lost are hazy or distorted because of classification. Efforts are ongoing by advocates and family members to get records declassified so that all may know the truth about what happened to the men left behind in Southeast Asia.