BRUNSON, JACK WALTER Remains Identified - see below
Name: Jack Walter Brunson Rank/Branch: W2/US Army Unit: 131st Aviation Company, 212th Aviation Battalion, 11th Aviation Brigade (see note in text) Date of Birth: 14 March 1949 (Jamestown NY) Home City of Record: Sinclairville NY Date of Loss: 31 May 1971 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 162013N 1065308E (YD014094) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: OV1A Refno: 1751 Other Personnel In Incident: Clinton A. Musil (missing)
Source: Compiled 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 in 2004.
SYNOPSIS: On May 31, 1971, WO Jack Brunson, pilot, and Clinton Musil, observer, were flying on a visual reconnaissance mission when their OV1A Mohawk crashed and burned due to unknown causes about 6 kilometers south-southwest of Phou Ke Dai, Savannakhet Province, Laos.
The crew of another aircraft in the area stated that the flight was proceeding normally, and that Brunson was having no problems. On the fifth pass over the target, and in a steep left turn, the observing aircraft lost sight of Brunson and Musil's aircraft. The observing aircraft saw a huge ball of flame on the ground. Radio contact was attempted, but could not be established. There were no parachutes observed, no electronic beacon signals heard, and no survivors were seen on the ground. Due to the hostile threat in the area, no search and rescue operation was initiated.
Brunson and Musil are among nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos. Because Laos was not party to the agreements ending American involvement in Southeast Asia, none of the Americans the Pathet Lao said they held were ever released.
Witnesses believe that Brunson and Musil perished in the crash of their light observation plane on May 31, 1971. Experts believe that hundreds of other Americans are still alive today, held prisoner against their will. Brunson and Musil would gladly fly one more mission for them. Why can't we bring our men home?
NOTE: The 20th Aviation Detachment existed until December 1966, at which time it was reassigned as the 131st Aviation Company, 223rd Aviation Battalion (Combat Support). The 131st Aviation Company had been assigned to I Corps Aviation Battalion since June 1966, when it arrived in Vietnam. In August 1967, the 131st Aviation Company was reassigned to the 212th Aviation Battalion where it remained until July 1971, whereupon it transferred out of Vietnam.
There were a large number of pilots lost from this unit, including Thaddeus E. Williams and James P. Schimberg (January 9, 1966); John M. Nash and Glenn D. McElroy (March 15, 1966); James W. Gates and John W. Lafayette (April 6, 1966); Robert G. Nopp and Marshall Kipina (July 14, 1966); Jimmy M. Brasher and Robert E. Pittman (September 28, 1966); James M. Johnstone and James L. Whited (November 19, 1966); Larry F. Lucas (December 20, 1966); and Jack W. Brunson and Clinton A. Musil (May 31, 1971). Missing OV1 aircraft crew from the 20th/131st represent well over half of those lost on OV1 aircraft during the war.
U.S. Army records list both Nopp and Kipina as part of the "131st Aviation Company, 14th Aviation Battalion", yet according to "Order of Battle" by Shelby Stanton, a widely recognized military source, this company was never assigned to the 14th Aviation Battalion. The 131st was known as "Nighthawks", and was a surveillance aircraft company.
------------------------------------------------------ National League of Families POWMIA UPDATE May 17, 2004
POW/MIAs - VIETNAM WAR: According to DoD, there are now 1,859 Americans listed as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War: 1,418 in Vietnam, 378 in Laos, 55 in Cambodia and 8 in PRC territorial waters. Over 90% of all Americans missing from the Vietnam War were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Hanoi's wartime control. Since the last Newsletter, seven Americans have been announced as accounted for:
Warrant Officer 2nd Class Jack W. Brunson, USA, KIA/BNR, Laos, 5/31/71, RR 5/29/03 Major Ralph L. Carlock, USAF, KIA/BNR 3/4/67, LA, RR 10/26/02 CPL Kenneth L. Crody, USMC, KIA/BNR 7/11/72, SVN, RR 8/29/00 Mr. Charles Dean, Captured 9/10/74, LA, RR 11/26/03 SSGT Dennis W. Hammond, USMC, POW 2/8/68, DIC 1970, RR 1989 SSGT Jerry W. Hendrix, USMC, KIA/BNR 7/11/72, SVN, RR 8/29/00 Captain Raymond H. Hetrick, USAF, KIA/BNR 2/24/66, LA, RR 7/10/01