OLSON, JON JEFFREY
Name: Jon Jeffrey Olson Rank/Branch: Captin/US Air Force Unit: 97th Bombardment Wing Age: 27 Home City of Record: Blytheville AR Date of Loss: 03 February 1991 Country of Loss: Indian Ocean Loss Coordinates: Status: Killed/Body Not Recovered Acft/Vehicle/Ground: B52
Other Personnel in Incident: Jorge I. Arteaga (missing); Eric D. Hedeen (remains recovered)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 09 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. Copyright 1991 Homecoming II Project.
REMARKS: OPERATION DESERT SHIELD
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 onboar 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.
As of May 1997, Jon Olson is still listed as Missing in Action.