DANIELSON, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN
Remains Identified 08/06/06
Name: Benjamin Franklin Danielson
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 31 March 1943
Home City of Record: Kenyon MN
Date of Loss: 05 December 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 173100N 1054300E (WE770370)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: Navigator (rescued)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 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 P.O.W.
SYNOPSIS: Captain Benjamin F. Danielson was the pilot of the number two
aircraft in a flight of two F4Cs on an operational mission over Laos.
Captain Danielson and his navigator departed Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, South
Vietnam at 10:00 a.m. on December 5, 1969. At about 11:30 a.m., while
pulling up from a dive, the aircraft was hit by hostile ground fire.
Two ejection seats and two parachutes were observed leaving the plane, and
two emergency radio beeper signals were received. The two landed 100 feet
apart on each side of a river. Voice contact was established with both men
on the ground, who reported that they were in good shape. Six separate
rescue attempts were made on that day, but each was aborted when it came
under heavy ground fire. Search and rescue attempts contniued for 12 hours.
The navigator saw Danielson twice that day and talked with him on the radio
all day and night. Danielson and the navigator had worked out a signal
system that if one man beeped the other, it meant not to call on the radio
because the enemy was close enough to hear radio chatter.
Fourty-five minutes after first light on December 6, Danielson beeped the
navigator oned. It is believed that the enemy found Danielson's position at
this time. There was no further beeper or radio contact from Ben for about
an hour, then the beeper went off and stayed active until the batteries
would have run down. Heavy ground fire prevented the navigator from being
rescued until noon on December 7. Danielson, at that time, was not found.
Danielson was last seen about 1 mile southwest of Ban Phanop, Laos.
Like nearly 600 others lost in Laos, Danielson simply vanished without a
trace. No agreement was reached regarding the prisoner held by the Lao. No
prisoners were released by the Lao. Many of the thousands of reports of
Americans alive in captivity today come from Laos. Perhaps one of those who
remain is Danielson; that is uncertain. What is certain, however, is that
someone knows the fate of Benjamin F. Danielson.
POW/MIA Update: January 25, 2007
U.S. PERSONNEL MISSING FROM THE VIETNAM WAR: There are now 1,789 US
personnel listed as missing and unaccounted for by the Department of
Defense. Recently, the identifications of two Americans previously
missing/unaccounted for from the Vietnam War were announced:
Major Benjamin F. Danielson, USAF, USA, MN, MIA 12/5/69, Laos, RR 11/12/03,
Sergeant First Class Lewis C. Walton, RI, MIA 5/10/71, SVN, RR 10/19/04, ID
The League extends best wishes to the families and friends of both men and
hopes that these final answers bring long-awaited peace of mind. The
accounting for these Americans brings to 794 the number of US personnel
accounted for since the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. Over 90% of the
1,789 still listed as missing were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and
Cambodia under Vietnamese wartime control.
Air Force pilot's remains returning home 38 years later
Waukesha brother of man killed in Laos
grateful for work to find his sibling
By LINDA McALPINE - GM Today Staff
March 14, 2007
WAUKESHA - A sliver of shoulder bone has shed some light on the mystery
surrounding the death decades ago of Dennis Danielson's brother....
Linda McAlpine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Navy Flier Brings His Father Home from War, 37 Years Later
Story Number: NNS070518-10
Release Date: 5/18/2007 11:55:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Sheehan, Navy Operational
Support Center Minneapolis Public Affairs
MINNEAPOLIS (NNS) -- Following a plot straight out of a Hollywood movie, Lt.
Cmdr. Brian Danielson escorted his father's remains home to Minnesota on May
17, nearly 37 years after his death in combat during the Vietnam War.
Danielson and his mother flew with the remains of Air Force Maj. Benjamin
Franklin Danielson from Hawaii to Minnesota in preparation for a final
burial in Kenyon, Minn., on June 15.
Danielson was an 18-month-old in Kenyon when his father was shot down over
Laos on Dec. 5, 1965. The elder Danielson had been flying a F-4 Phantom when
he and weapons officer Lt. Woody Bergeron ejected from their damaged
aircraft, under enemy fire, and parachuted into the jungle below. Heavy
ground fire prevented the downed fliers from being immediately rescued; and,
ultimately, more than 500 search and rescue (SAR) sorties were flown in an
effort to retrieve the aviators in what amounted to the largest SAR mission
of the war.
Bergeron was rescued after 51 hours in the jungle, but the elder Danielson
never made it home. The Air Force officially listed him as missing in action
(MIA) until 1976, when his status was changed to killed in action with no
In 1991, a U.S. service pistol exhibited in a Vietnamese museum was
discovered to have been issued to the elder Danielson, and in 2003 a piece
of bone and Danielson's dog tags were brought to U.S. authorities in
In the summer of 2006, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) led an
expedition to Laos in an effort to find more of the elder Danielson's
remains, and the younger Danielson joined the effort while on leave from
Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 209. By journeying to Laos, Danielson
became the first active-duty service member to participate in an expedition
for an MIA father.
"Everything lined up perfectly," Danielson said. "My squadron had a brief
break in our training, and my Skipper approved my request. I was very
excited to join the effort and the work JPAC does."
Although the expedition did not find any additional remains, DNA testing
conducted by JPAC's Central Identification Laboratory concluded that the
bone fragment came from his father, allowing the younger Danielson and his
mother to plan a final burial and memorial service at a family plot in
"As soon as I got back from Laos," he said "I jumped back into training with
VAQ-209, and even got to fly an exchange flight with a German squadron that
flew the same type of F-4's that my father flew. A very short time after
walking the jungle trails in Laos where my father was killed, I was with my
squadron in Iraq. It's been a wild year."
Danielson, his mother, and his father's remains welcomed at the airport by
honor guards from the Kenyon VFW and American Legion, the Northland Vietnam
Veteran's Association, and the Everett McClay VFW Post 1296.
"It's been great to have a proper welcome home for my dad," Danielson said.
"This experience, looking for my father's remains, at one point seemed
hopeless but it ended up being a very positive thing. We should all be
reminded of what it means to sacrifice for our country, and what our country
will sacrifice for you. No matter how long it takes, no matter the
circumstances, if you sacrifice for our country, we will bring you home."
June 15, 2007
AIR FORCE PILOT MISSING FROM VIETNAM WAR IS IDENTIFIED
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that
the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been
identified and returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Maj. Benjamin F. Danielson, U.S. Air Force, of Kenyon, Minn.
He will be buried Saturday in Kenyon.
On Dec. 5, 1969, Danielson and his co-pilot, 1st Lt. Woodrow J. Bergeron, Jr.,
were on a strike mission over Khammouan Province, Laos, when their F-4C was struck
by enemy ground fire. Both ejected from the aircraft with minor injuries, landing
safely on opposite sides of the Nam Ngo River.
Both men evaded capture the first night and maintained radio contact with search and
rescue personnel. Bergeron was rescued on the third day; however, enemy forces
apparently located Danielson soon after light on the second day. Bergeron said that
he heard enemy activity, including gun shots, near Danielsonís position and presumed
that the enemy located and shot Danielson.
This was the largest search and rescue effort during the Vietnam War, involving 15
attempts before Bergeron was found. Each of these efforts was driven off by intense
ground fire, which heavily damaged several aircraft and killed a door gunner on one
of the rescue helicopters. Heavy enemy presence in the loss location prevented
further efforts to locate Danielson.
Between 1993 and 2006, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) led seven joint
and two unilateral investigations in Vietnam, four joint investigations in
Laos, one trilateral investigation and one excavation. Team members found aircraft wreckage
consistent with an F-4 at the crash site, but found no human remains or evidence of
a burial along the river.
In 2003, Danielsonís identification tags, a survival knife, a portion of a survival
vest and human remains were turned over to U.S. officials. They were said to be
obtained from a Laotian source who found them while fishing along the banks of the
Nam Ngo River.
Although an excavation conducted near the river in 2006 yielded no remains or
evidence of a burial, JPAC used other forensic identification tools and circumstantial
evidence in Danielsonís identification. Scientists from the Armed Forces DNA
Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA to help identify the remains
previously turned in by the Laotian source.
For additional information of the Defense Departmentís missing to account for missing
Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.
Last updated September 18, 2009 10:53 a.m. PT
NAS Whidbey pilot's dad was MIA in Vietnam War
OAK HARBOR, Wash. -- Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Danielson ....was just a year old in the fall of 1969 when his dad, Air
Force Capt. Benjamin Franklin Danielson, was shot down over Southeast
Information from: The Herald, http://www.heraldnet.com
Pilot lost in Vietnam honored
Briefing room named for him; son makes ‚Äėheritage flight.'
By Scott Huddleston, email@example.com
Updated 12:17 a.m., Saturday, December 3, 2011
Local airmen who fight today's war on terror paid tribute in a stirring ceremony Friday to a Vietnam-era pilot from their squadron who was missing for nearly 38 years.
A briefing room of the 558th Flying Training Squadron was dedicated as the Capt. Benjamin F. Danielson Auditorium, in honor of a pilot thought to have died in 1969.
"I know this is a very special day for your family. And it's a very special day for our family,"Ě Lt. Col. Bryan Runkle, commander of the 558th, said in welcoming remarks to the fallen pilot's relatives.
Mary Danielson was moved to tears as a display of medals, patches and photos in her late husband's memory was unveiled.
"Knowing he won't be forgotten means everything to us,"Ě she said.....