WESTER, ALBERT DWAYNE Name: Albert Dwayne Wester Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force Unit: 37th Air Rescue/Recovery Squadron, Da Nang AB SV Date of Birth: 04 September 1933 Home City of Record: Terrell TX Date of Loss: 05 October 1968 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 155357N 1072258E (YC592700) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: HH3E Refno: 1298 Other Personnel in Incident: Gregory P. Lawrence (missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 with the assistance of 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: Maj. Albert D. Wester was a copilot of an HH3E "Jolly Green Giant" helicopter dispatched on a recovery mission on the border of South Vietnam and Laos on October 5, 1968. The Jolly Green normally carried a crew of four, and could carry up to 30 passengers, but the only other crew member whose name is part of public record is Sgt. Gregory P. Lawrence. At a point about due west of Da Nang in Laos, on the border of Quang Nam Province in South Vietnam and Savannakhet Province in Laos, Maj. Wester's aircraft was hit by hostile fire and crashed. Both Wester and Lawrence sustained fatal injuries from the subsequent crash, fire and explosion. It is assumed, but not known, that the rest of the crew was either rescued or recovered dead. Wester and Lawrence are among a number of Americans who were listed as Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered. They are counted among the missing because their remains were never recovered for an honorable burial at home. For their families, there can be some assurance that they died in the service of their country. The cases of many of the missing, however, are much more complex. Among those missing, a substantial number were known to have been alive when last seen. Some were even photographed in captivity, only to disappear. Since the end of the war, the U.S. has engaged in tentative "talks" with the countries of Southeast Asia, primarily Vietnam, which has resulted in the return of several hundred sets of American remains. In Laos, where Wester and Lawrence still lie, the U.S. has excavated aircraft crash sites with varying degrees of success in recovery of American remains. Critics of U.S. policy in dealing with the POW/MIA issue point to the nearly 10,000 reports received since the war ended relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many authorities who have examined these reports have come to the reluctant conclusion that hundreds of Americans are still alive in captivity today. Unfortunately, progress has been particularly slow in Laos. The U.S. never negotiated for the release of the "tens of tens" of Americans the Pathet Lao stated they held during the war. Consequently, even those Americans known to have been captured by the Lao were never released. The U.S. has been unable to secure the freedom of even a single captive American since the war, even though reports of sightings continue to pour in. Surely there is a reasonable solution to bringing these men home. They willingly served us when they were called to do so. What are we doing to keep the faith with them?