HARTNESS, GREGG Remains ID announced 07/2005 Buried in Arlington National Cemetery 09/13/2005
Name: Gregg Hartness Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 18 April 1937 Detroit MI Home City of Record: Dallas TX Date of Loss: 26 November 1968 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 160129N 1064201E Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O2A Other Personnel In Incident: (co-pilot rescued) Refno: 1330
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.
SYNOPSIS: Maj. Gregg Hartness and his co-pilot departed Da Nang airbase, South Vietnam in their O2A aircraft for a night visual reconnaissance mission over southern Laos at 0300 hours on November 26, 1968.
At 0413, as they flew over the rugged, jungle-covered mountainous area, the aircraft suddenly received a hit from an unknown source in the aft section. Hartness issued the order to bail out as the aircraft began to spin uncontrollably. The co-pilot successfully bailed out at 6000 feet and was rescued a few hours later. Although he saw no parachute, the co-pilot believes that Hartness could have ejected without his seeing him in the darkness.
At 0700 hours, an emergency signal was picked up from a point 28 miles northeast of Saravane, Laos. Search and rescue located the downed co-pilot and rescued him. Recovery was difficult because of the heavy jungle growth on the steep hill he was on. No attempt was made to approach the aircraft because it was still smoldering and had unexploded ordnance aboard, and there were hostile forces in the area. No further emergency transmissions were detected, and the search was terminated.
Hartness is among nearly 600 Americans who were lost in Laos. Many survived to reach the ground and radio that they were being surrounded. A few were photographed in captivity. Countless others have been described in rallier and refugee reports.
The Pathet Lao stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, yet not a single man held in Laos was ever released - or negotiated for. If Hartness is alive, what must he think of the country he proudly served, and the careless manner in which he has been abandoned?
NATIONAL LEAGUE OF FAMILIES OF AMERICAN PRISONERS AND MISSING IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
NEWSLETTER July 20, 2005
ACCOUNTING RESULTS: There are now 1,827 Americans listed by the Defense Department as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War - 1,393 in Vietnam, 372 in Laos, 55 in Cambodia and 7 in PRC territorial waters. Over 90% of all 1,827 Americans still missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War were lost in Vietnam or in areas controlled by them. The following US personnel have been acknowledged as accounted for since the March, 2005 League Newsletter, and the League extends best wishes to each family in sincere hope that the end of uncertainty brings long-sought peace of mind.
Lieutenant Colonel Lee A. Adams, USAF, MIA 4/19/66, NVN, RR 10/6/93 Colonel Arthur D. Baker, USAF, MIA 4/7/65, LA, RR 2/24/03 Sergeant 1st Class Michael L. Batt, USA, MIA 3/16/69, SVN, RR 4/7/88 Sergeant 1st Class Raymond E. Bobe, USA, MIA/BNR 3/16/69, SVN, RR 4/7/88 Lieutenant Colonel Marvin L. Foster, USAR, MIA 3/16/69, SVN, RR 4/7/88 Colonel Gregg Hartness, USAF, MIA 11/26/68, LA, RR 2/16/05 Lieutenant Colonel Darel D. Leetun, USAF, MIA 9/17/66, NVN, RR 4/12/95 Colonel James W. Lewis, USAF, MIA 4/7/65, LA, RR 2/24/03 Lieutenant Colonel David R. Smith, USAR, MIA 3/16/69, SVN, RR 4/7/88
---------------- No. 859-05 IMMEDIATE RELEASE Aug 19, 2005
Air Force Officer MIA 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 are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Air Force Col. Gregg Hartness of Dallas, Texas. He is to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., on Sept. 14.
On Nov. 26, 1968, Hartness and lst Lt. Allen S. Shepherd, III, took off from Da Nang air base in South Vietnam, on a forward air control mission. While flying over Salavan Province in Laos, their O-2A 'Skymaster' was apparently struck by enemy fire and began to spin out of control. Shepherd bailed out and was rescued by an Air Force search and rescue team about nine hours later. He did not see Hartness bail out.
About 30 minutes after that rescue, the airborne team located the crash site of Hartness and Shepherd's aircraft about 200 meters (660 feet) south of the rescue pickup point. The aircraft had been burning, but no contact with Hartness could be established. Enemy forces in the area precluded further rescue attempts, and electronic searches of the loss location detected no signals from the lost aircraft or pilot.
Between 1993 and 2003, joint U.S.-Lao investigators interviewed more than 60 witnesses in 39 different settlements in Laos before selecting a site for excavation. In January and February of 2005, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, with assistance from the Lao government, excavated a site in Salavan Province. They recovered human remains, aircraft wreckage, life support equipment and personal effects.
Of the 88,000 Americans missing from all conflicts, 1,815 are from the Vietnam War, with 372 of those within the country of Laos. Another 756 Americans have been accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the Vietnam War. Of those, 197 are from losses in Laos.
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.