Name: Eugene Lacy Wheeler
Rank/Branch: O4/US Marine Corps
Unit: VMO-2, MAG 11
Date of Birth: 30 January 1937
Home City of Record: Ashville OH
Date of Loss: 21 April 1970
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 152501N 1073127E (YC709059)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 1
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: OV10A

Other Personnel in Incident: (none 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.


SYNOPSIS: The OV10 Bronco was among the aircraft most feared by the Viet
Cong and NVA forces, because whenever the Bronco appeared overhead, an air
strike seemed certain to follow. Although the glassed-in cabin could become
uncomfortably warm, it provided splendid visibility. The two-man crew had
armor protection and could use machine guns and bombs to attack, as well as
rockets to mark targets for fighter bombers. This versatility enabled the
plane to fly armed reconnaissance missions, in addition to serving as
vehicle for forward air controllers.

On April 21, 1970, Maj. Eugene L. Wheeler was the pilot of an OV10 aircraft
on a mission in Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam near the border of Laos.
During the flight, the aircraft was hit by enemy fire and shot down. Maj.
Wheeler survived the shoot down and was on the ground alive and in radio
contact with other Americans in the area.

An enemy patrol in the area neared Wheeler's position and commenced
shooting. Wheeler's fate remains uncertain. The Marine Corps believes there
is a good possibility that Wheeler survived to be captured, but that
certainly, the Vietnamese could tell us what happened to him on that day.

When the war ended and 591 American POWs were released from Vietnam, Wheeler
was not among them. The Vietnamese have denied any knowledge of him since
that time.

Mounting evidence indicates that some Americans are still alive being held
prisoner of war in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese pledged to return all
prisoners of war and provide the fullest possible accounting of the missing
in the peace accords signed in 1973. They have done neither, and the U.S.
has not compelled them to do so.

The United States government pledged that the POW/MIA issue is of "highest
national priority" but has not achieved results indicative of a priority.
Mitchell and the nearly 2500 Americans who remain unaccounted for in
Southeast Asia deserve our best efforts to bring them home, not empty


The Columbus Dispatch
Sunday, January 4, 1998

Ann Fisher  Dispatch Staff Reporter

   A new year of hope and labor to learn the whereabouts of her father awaits
Mitch McGouldrick Guess.

  Nearly 30 years ago, Air Force Col. Francis McGouldrick Jr. was lost in a
midair collision over Laos during the Vietnam War. A few years later, Guess,
then 12, bought her first MIA bracelet and began in earnest a search that has
spanned the balance of her life......






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On April 21, 1970, an OV-10A Bronco (bureau number 155423) with two crew members took off as flight leader in a flight of two aircraft on a reconnaissance mission over South Vietnam. During the mission, the aircraft was hit by enemy anti-aircraft fire and crashed near (GC) YC 709 059 in Quang Nam Province. Both crew members ejected and landed safely without injury but were unable to link up with each other following the ejection, although the pilot did manage to make radio contact with other aircraft on the mission. Several rescue attempts were made prior to nightfall but were unsuccessful, and both crew members maintained radio silence through the night. The next morning, both men established radio contact with rescue aircraft; however, only one was recovered that morning. He reported that an enemy patrol was moving through the area towards the other downed crew member. As they continued to search for the downed crew member, they heard small arms fire, and were unable to establish radio contact with him after. Search efforts continued into the next day but were unsuccessful. 

Major Eugene Lacy Wheeler entered the U.S. Marine Corps from Ohio and served in the 24th Marine Observation Squadron, Marine Air Group 11, 1st Marine Air Wing. He was the pilot of the OV-10A when it crashed and is the crew member who was not rescued following the incident. Further attempts to locate him or his remains were unsuccessful. Today, Major Wheeler 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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