WALKER, MICHAEL STEPHEN

Name: Michael Stephen Walker
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 29 August 1941
Home City of Record: Columbia LA
Date of Loss: 15 July 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 152250N 1072100E (YC633018)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D
Refno: 1467

Other Personnel in Incident: Harmon Polster (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990 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 2020.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served
a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2),
and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission
type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and
high altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes
around.

1Lt. Harmon Polster was a pilot and Capt. Michael S. Walker the
bombardier/navigator of an F4E attached to the 389th Tactical Fighter
Squadron at Phu Cat Airbase in South Vietnam. On July 15, 1969, the two were
assigned a night operational mission which took them over Chavane Province,
Laos.

When the aircraft was about 15 miles northeast of the city of Chavane,
Polster failed to make contact with his wingman after making the first pass
over the target. A fire on the ground was observed and presumed to be
Polster's aircraft. No voice contact was received and no parachutes had been
seen. There was the chance the two ejected unseen, and they were classified
Missing in Action.

Nearly 600 Americans were lost in Laos during the Vietnam war. Although the
numbers actually termed "prisoner of war" are quite low, this can be
explained by the blanket of security surrounding the "secret war" the U.S.
waged in Laos. To protect the ruse that we "were not in Laos," details of
many loss incidents were "rearranged" to show a loss or casualty in South
Vietnam. Only a handful of publicly-exposed cases were ever acknowledged
POW, even though scores of pilots and ground personnel were known to have
been alive and well at last contact, thus increasing the chance they were
captured alive.

The Lao communist faction, the Pathet Lao, stated on several occasions that
they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, but the Pathet Lao were not
included in the Paris Peace agreements ending American involvement in the
war. As a consequence, no American POWs held in Laos were negotiated for.
Not one American held in Laos has ever been released. They were abandoned to
the enemy.

Reports continue to be received that Americans are alive today, being held
captive. Whether Walker and Polster are among them is not known. What is
certain, however, is that they deserve than the abandonment they received by
the country they proudly served.

Harmon Polster was promoted to the rank of Captain during the period he was
maintained missing.


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02/2020

https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000BTXWEA4

CAPT MICHAEL STEPHEN WALKER

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On July 15, 1969, a F-4D Phantom (tail number 66-7603, callsign:  Cobra 61 ) with a crew of two took off from Phu Cat Air Base, South Vietnam, to take part in a two-plane strike mission against targets in Laos. As the Phantom made its pass on the target, it burst into flames for unknown reasons, skipped off a mountaintop, and crashed in the vicinity of (GC) YC 633 018. Witnesses in the other aircraft did not report seeing any parachutes emerge from the Phantom before it went down. Attempts to contact the aircraft’s crew by radio were unsuccessful, and search and rescue teams were unable to locate a crash site. Following the end of hostilities, the remains of the Phantom’s navigator were returned to U.S. custody and identified; however, the other crew member remains unaccounted for.

Captain Michael Stephen Walker, who joined the U.S. Air Force from Louisiana, was a member of the 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 37th Tactical Fighter Wing. He was the aircraft commander aboard the Phantom, and was lost with the aircraft. He was not seen or heard from again, and his remains have not been recovered following the incident. Today, Captain Walker 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.

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