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
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.
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
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
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
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
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).