Name: Eric D. Hedeen
Rank/Branch: 1st Lieutenant/US Air Force
Unit: 97th Bombardment Wing
Age: 27
Home City of Record: Malaga WA
Date of Loss: 03 February 1991
Country of Loss: Indian Ocean
Loss Coordinates:
Status: Killed/Body Recovered
Status in 2002: USG records show BODY NOT RECOVERED - see text...
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: B52
Other Personnel in Incident: Jorge I. Arteaga; Jon J. Olson (both missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 February 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 POW Network 2002.
SYNOPSIS: The Boeing B52 Stratofortress first saw combat action in Vietnam
in 1965. The numerous B52 missions in Southeast Asia, code-named Arc Light,
were considered a vital part of the air war. The external and internal bomb
load of the aircraft (roughly 75,000 pounds combined) made the bomber a
formidable war plane which could be highly destructive, yet also capable of
extreme precision. Seventeen of the aircraft were lost to enemy fire in
Southeast Asia, and twelve from other causes.
In 1991, hostilities in the Middle East again called the B52 into action. On
February 3, a B52 crashed about 2,500 miles east of Saudi Arabia over the
Indian Ocean. The aircraft, carrying six crew members, was returning to
Diego Garcia Air Base from a mission over Iraq. The crew was from the 97th
Bombardment Wing on temporary duty assignment from Eaker Air Force Base.
Three crew members were rescued from the water, but three - Arteaga, Hedeen
and Olson - remained missing. The aircraft was returning from a night of the
most intense bombing for Air Force B-52s to date in the war. There was no
indication that the aircraft had been damaged in battle, and mechanical
difficulties were blamed for the crash.
Some time later, Eric Hedeen's body was found in an inflated life raft and
recovered. He was buried with full military honors on February 12 in
Wenatcheee, Washington. Hedeen had been the electronics warfare officer
onboard the aircraft.
Jon J. Olson was the navigator of the aircraft. His father, retired LtCol.
Norris Olson of Fargo, North Dakota, and his brother, Marc Olson of Minot
Air Force Base, are both B52 pilots.
Jorge I. Arteaga's father is a United Nations liaison to Bolivia. Artiega
had been married less than 24 hours before shipping out to the Middle East.