Skip to comments.Pilot Missing From the Vietnam War is Identified Maj. John L. Carroll, U.S. Air Force
Posted on 11/06/2007 11:14:47 AM PST by Dubya
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Maj. John L. Carroll, U.S. Air Force, of Decatur, Ga. He will be buried on Nov. 13 at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
On Nov. 7, 1972, Carroll was flying a Forward Air Controller mission over Xiangkhoang Province, Laos, when his O-1G Bird Dog aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire and forced to land. Once on the ground, he radioed the Search-and-Rescue (SAR) helicopters on his intent to stay in the aircraft. Two SAR helicopters attempted a recovery, but intense enemy fire forced them to depart the area. A second pickup attempt was made later, but the pilot of that helicopter saw that Carroll had been fatally wounded. The recovery attempt was unsuccessful due to nearby enemy forces that opened fire on the helicopter.
In 1993, a joint U.S./Lao Peoples Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R) team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), investigated the incident and surveyed the crash site. During the site survey, the team found small fragments of aircraft wreckage.
Between 1996 and 2007, joint U.S./L.P.D.R./Socialist Republic of Vietnam teams, led by JPAC, conducted several interviews concerning the incident. One witness provided the team with identification media which belonged to Carroll. In another interview, a former Peoples Army of North Vietnam officer turned over some of Carrolls personal effects and told the team that local residents had buried Carroll. Another witness later led a team to the burial site.
In 2007, a joint team excavated the burial site and found his remains.
Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC also used dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.
For additional information on the Defense Departments mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/ or call (703) 699-1169.
RIP Major Carroll, thank you for your service.
welcome home Major
You are finally home Major. We didn’t forget. Rest in peace.
Another hero finally comes home.
God Bless you Sir, and all that you stood for.
November, 1972. I was in my first job after graduation...
Attention On Deck!
RIP, Maj. John L. Carroll.
Prayers for this family, thankfully they have some closure.
I found a bio of Maj. Carroll that said he was serving as a FAC in the secret Steve Canyon program, shot down over the Plain of Jars in Laos. RIP, Maj. Carroll - and welcome home.
“How long did he live after the end of the war?” He died after being shot down. The NVA didn’t much care for FACs, and when they got their hands on Major Carroll, they showed him.
RIP, Bird Dog.
The non-communist forces in Laos, however, had a critical need for military support in order to defend territory used by Lao and North Vietnamese communist forces. The U.S., in conjunction with non-communist forces in Laos, devised a system whereby U.S. military personnel could be "in the black" or "sheep-dipped" (clandestine; mustered out of the military to perform military duties as a civilian) to operate in Laos under supervision of the U.S. Ambassador to Laos.
RAVEN was the radio call sign which identified the flyers of the Steve Canyon Program. Men recruited for the program were rated Air Force officers with at least six months experience in Vietnam. They tended to be the very best of pilots, but by definition, this meant that they were also mavericks, and considered a bit wild by the mainstream military establishment.
The Ravens came under the formal command of CINCPAC and the 7/13th Air Force 56th Special Operations Wing at Nakhon Phanom, but their pay records were maintained at Udorn with Detachment 1. Officially, they were on loan to the U.S. Air Attache at Vientiane. Unofficially, they were sent to outposts like Long Tieng, where their field commanders were the CIA, the Meo Generals, and the U.S. Ambassador. Once on duty, they flew FAC missions which controlled all U.S. air strikes over Laos.
All tactical strike aircraft had to be under the control of a FAC, who was intimately familiar with the locale, the populous, and the tactical situation. The FAC would find the target, order up U.S. fighter/bombers from an airborne command and control center, mark the target accurately with white phosphorus (Willy Pete) rockets, and control the operation throughout the time the planes remained on station. After the fighters had departed, the FAC stayed over the target to make a bomb damage assessment (BDA).
The FAC also had to ensure that there were no attacks on civilians, a complex problem in a war where there were no front lines and any hamlet could suddenly become part of the combat zone. A FAC needed a fighter pilot's mentality, but but was obliged to fly slow and low in such unarmed and vulnerable aircraft as the Cessna O1 Bird Dog, and the Cessna O2. Consequently, aircraft used by the Ravens were continually peppered with ground fire. A strong fabric tape was simply slapped over the bullet holes until the aircraft could no longer fly.
Ravens were hopelessly overworked by the war. The need for secrecy kept their numbers low (never more than 22 at one time), and the critical need of the Meo sometimes demanded each pilot fly 10 and 12 hour days. Some Ravens completed their tour of approximately 6 months with a total of over 500 combat missions.
The Ravens in at Long Tieng in Military Region II, had, for several years, the most difficult area in Laos. The base, just on the southern edge of the Plain of Jars, was also the headquarters for the CIA-funded Meo army commanded by General Vang Pao. An interesting account of this group can be read in Christopher Robbins' book, "The Ravens".
Major John L. Carroll was a Raven on station over the Plain of Jars region of Xiangkhoang Province on November 7, 1972. At a point about 5 miles southwest of the city of Ban Na Mai, Carroll's aircraft was struck by hostile fire and crashed. Witnesses advised that Maj. Carroll died of a massive head wound, and according to the Air Force, evidence of this death was received the following day, although it is not stated what the evidence consisted of.
The Defense Intelligence Agency further expanded Carroll's classification to include an enemy knowledge ranking of 1. Category 1 indicates "confirmed knowledge" and includes all personnel who were identified by the enemy by name, identified by reliable information received from escapees or releasees, reported by highly reliable intelligence sources, or identified through analysis of all-source intelligence. If, indeed, Carroll died in the crash of his aircraft or shortly thereafter, the enemy was on hand to witness it.
Carroll is one of nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos. John L. Carroll graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1962
Cessna O-1G Bird Dog