SHANNON, PATRICK LEE Remains Returned announced on FOX TV 8:09 pm. 12/07/2005.
Name: Patrick Lee Shannon Rank/Branch: E6/US Air Force Unit: 1043 Radar Evaluation Squadron, Bolling AFB DC TDY-Civilian/Lockheed Date of Birth: 23 February 1935 Home City of Record: Cordell OK Date of Loss: 11 March 1968 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 202600N 1034400E (UH680600) Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/ Body Not Recovered Category: Acft/Vehicle/Ground: Ground Refno: 2052
Others In Incident: Clarence Blanton; James Calfee; James Davis; Henry Gish; Willis Hall; Melvin Holland; Herbert Kirk; David Price; Donald Springsteadah; Don Worley (all missing from Lima 85); Donald Westbrook (missing from SAR 13 March)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 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 2006.
SYNOPSIS: When Patrick Shannon volunteered for a sensitive assignment called Project Heavy Green, his wife had to sign a secrecy agreement too. Shannon, an Air Force man, was to be temporarily relieved of duty to take a civilian job with Lockheed Aircraft. He would be running Lima 85, a radar base in Laos, whose neutrality prohibited U.S. military presence. No one was to know.
Lima 85 was on a peak in the Annam Highlands near the village of Sam Neua on a 5860 ft. mountain called Phou Pha Thi. The mountain was protected by sheer cliffs on three sides, and guarded by 300 tribesmen working for CIA. Unarmed US "civilians" operated the radar which swept across the Tonkin Delta to Hanoi.
For three months in early 1968, a steady stream of intelligence was received which indicated that communist troops were about to launch a major attack on Lima 85. Intelligence watched as enemy troops even built a road to the area to facilitate moving heavy weapons, but the site was so important that William H. Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to Laos, made the decision to leave the men in place. When the attack came March 11, some were rescued by helicopter, but eleven men were missing. The President announced a halt in the bombing of North Vietnam.
Donald Westbrook was flying one of 4 A1E's orbiting on stand-by to search for survivors of the attack at Phou Pha Thi when his plane was shot down March 13. Westbrook was never found. Finding no survivors, the Air Force destroyed Lima 85 to prevent the equipment from falling into the hands of the enemy.
In mid March, Amelda Shannon was notified that Lima Site 85 had been overrun by enemy forces, and that her husband and the others who had not escaped had been killed. Many years later, she learned that was not the whole truth.
Two separate reports indicate that all the men missing at Phou Pha Thi did not die. One report suggests that at least one of the 11 was captured, and another indicates that 6 were captured. Information has been hard to get. The fact that Lima Site 85 existed was only declassified in 1983, and finally the wives could be believed when they said their husbands were missing in Laos. Some of the men's files were shown to their families for the first time in 1985.
Amelda Shannon and the other wives have talked and compared notes. They still feel there is a lot of information to be had. They think someone survived the attack on Lima Site 85 that day in March 1968. They wonder if their country will bring those men home.
NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1268-05 IMMEDIATE RELEASE Dec 08, 2005 Media Contact: (703)697-5131 Public/Industry Contact: (703)428-0711
Air Force Sergeant MIA from Vietnam War is Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Tech. Sgt. Patrick L. Shannon of Owasso, Okla. Funeral arrangements are yet to be set by his family.
Shannon and 18 other servicemen operated a radar installation atop Pha Thi Mountain in Houaphan Province, Laos, approximately 13 miles south of the border with North Vietnam. The site, known at Lima Site 85, directed U.S. bombing missions toward key targets in North Vietnam.
In the early morning of March 11, 1968, the site came under attack by a force of North Vietnamese commandos. The enemy force had scaled the sheer mountainsides in the hours before the attack and overran the site. During the attack, some Americans made their way down to ledges, but survivors reported that several were killed.
Several hours later, U.S. aircraft attacked enemy positions around the site, enabling helicopters to rescue eight of the 19 Americans, although one of the survivors died en route to a base in Thailand. Later that day, and for four additional days, U.S. air strikes bombed the site to destroy technical equipment left behind.
Beginning in 1994, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command began interviewing witnesses in both Laos and Vietnam to gather information on the fates of the Americans. Some of those interviewed were villagers who lived near the site, while others were former enemy soldiers who carried out the attack. In 2002, one of the enemy soldiers stated that he helped throw the bodies of the Americans off the mountain after the attack, as they were unable to bury them on the rocky surface.
Between 1994 and 2004, 11 investigations were conducted by both JPAC as well as unilaterally by Lao and Vietnamese investigators on both sides of the border. During one of the investigations, several mountaineer-qualified JPAC specialists scaled down the cliffs where they recovered remains and personal gear on ledges. JPAC and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory scientists used mitochondrial DNA and other forensic techniques to identify the remains as those of Shannon.
Of the 88,000 Americans unaccounted for from all conflicts, 1,812 are from the Vietnam War. Another 771 Americans have been accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the war. Of the Americans identified, 199 are from losses in Laos.
For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.
April 12, 2006
PERSONNEL ACCOUNTED FOR FROM THE VIETNAM WAR: According to the Defense POW/MIA Office (DPMO), seven US personnel have been accounted for since our November Newsletter. The remains of Colonel Harold B. Lineberger, USAF, from Austin, TX, listed as MIA in Cambodia on January 29, 1971, were recovered from an isolated grave site March 11, 1997, and identified December 5, 2005. Remains of Major Jack L. Barker, Waycross, GA, Captain John F. Dugan, Roselle, NJ, Sergeant John J. Chubb, Gardena, CA and Sergeant William E. Dillender, Naples, FL, all US Army personnel listed as KIA/BNR in Laos March 30, 1971, were recovered December 12, 2002 and identified August 30, 2005. The remains of Technical Sergeant Patrick L. Shannon, USAF, from Owasso, OK, listed as KIA/BNR March 11, 1968, were recovered April 7, 2003 and identified October 31, 2005. And finally, the remains of Captain Burke H. Morgan, USAF, from Manitou Springs, CO, listed as KIA/BNR in Laos August 22, 1967, were recovered February 17, 2005 and identified October 31, 2005. To each of these families, the League extends support and hope that this final answer brings long-awaited peace of mind. To the Lao and Cambodian governments, the League extends gratitude and optimism that cooperation will continue to increase, despite current US funding challenges (see below). ...