TUCCI, ROBERT LEON
See Remains ID announcement below 01/2011
Name: Robert Leon Tucci
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Udorn Airfield, Thailand
Date of Birth: 29 July 1942
Home City of Record: Detroit MI
Date of Loss: 12 November 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 172100N 1054200E (WE735183)
Status (in 1973): Missing IN Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D
Refno: 1519
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 2005 with information
from Jerry Kibby, LtCol (retired) USAF, Webb AFB UPT class 67F.
Other Personnel in Incident: James E. Dennany (missing)
SYNOPSIS: In the latter months of 1969, there was considerable controversy
in the United States over the "secret war" in Laos. U.S. Forces had been
flying over Laos in order to break up North Vietnamese sanctuaries and
supply routes. Senator Fulbright revealed in late October that, contrary to
official statements to the contrary, we had conducted substantial ground
operations as well. The matter of fighting in Laos became very sensitive.
U.S. planes dropped an enormous number of bombs in Laos against the
Vietnamese.
Capt. Robert L. Tucci was the pilot, and Maj. James E. Dennany the co-pilot
of an F4D Phantom fighter jet dispatched from Udorn Airfield in Thailand on
November 12, 1969. The two were assigned an operational mission over Laos.
Tucci graduated from pilot training at Webb AFB, March 17, 1967. On his
first tour of duty in Vietnam, Tucci had flown 181 missions from Da Nang
Airfield in South Vietnam. Tucci and Dennany were assigned to the 13th
Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn.
At a point near Mahaxay village in Khammouane Province, about 30 miles east
of Nakhon Phanom, the aircraft flown by Tucci and Dennany was struck by
hostile fire and seen to crash and explode on impact. No parachutes were
observed and no emergency beeper signals were heard. Tucci and Dennany were
not heard from again.
Tucci and Dennany are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos.
Through the war years, the Pathet Lao made public statements that they held
"tens of tens" of American prisoners, but they would only be released from
Laos. They wished to negotiate the end of American bombing in their country.
When Henry Kissinger negotiated the peace, he did not include the country of
Laos in the agreements. U.S. bombing in Laos continued. When 591 Americans
were released from communist prisons in Southeast Asia, not one man who had
been held in Laos was released.
Since the war ended, no agreement has been struck with Laos which would
release American prisoners of war. These men were abandoned by the country
they proudly served. As the years have passed, nearly 10,000 reports have
been received concerning Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many
authorities believe there are hundreds still alive.
There is no proof that Tucci and Dennany are dead. They could be among those
said to be alive. If so, what must they be thinking of their country? It's
time we brought our men home.
Robert Tucci graduated from the University of Texas.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 032-10
January 12, 2011


 
Airmen Missing From Vietnam War Identified
 

             The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

             Air Force Col. James E. Dennany, 34, of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Maj. Robert L. Tucci, 27, of Detroit, will be buried as a group Jan. 14, in the Dallas-Ft. Worth National Cemetery.

             On Nov. 12, 1969, Dennany and Tucci were flying the number three aircraft of three F-4Ds escorting an AC-130 gunship on a night strike mission over Laos.  After the gunship attacked six trucks and set two of them on fire, the AC-130 crew's night vision equipment was impacted by the glow from the fires.  They requested that Tucci attack the remaining trucks.  During the attack, gunship crew members observed anti-aircraft artillery gunfire directed at Tucci's plane followed by a large explosion.  No radio transmissions were heard from the F-4D following the attack and no parachutes were seen in the area.  An immediate electronic search revealed nothing and no formal search was initiated due to heavy anti-aircraft fire in the area.

             Beginning in the mid-1990s analysts at DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) developed case leads they collected from wartime reporting and archival research. 

              In 1994, a joint U.S.-Lao People's Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team led by JPAC analyzed leads, interviewed villagers, and surveyed five reported crash sites near the record loss location with negative results. 

              In 1999, during another joint survey, officials in Ban Soppeng, Laos, turned over remains later determined to be human, two .38 caliber pistols and other crew-related equipment that villagers had recovered from a nearby crash site.  Between 1999 and 2009, other joint U.S.-L.P.D.R. teams pursued leads, interviewed villagers, and conducted three excavations.  They recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains, crew-related equipment and personal effects.

             JPAC scientists used forensic tools and circumstantial evidence in the identification of the remains. 

             With the accounting of these airmen, 1,702 service members still remain missing from the conflict.

             For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO website at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/ or call 703-699-1169.
 

 

Bring Maj. Bob Tucci all the way home

In my profession you learn not to cross the personal line while on assignment for a story whatever the circumstance. We try to live by that credo to remain objective in our reporting........