Remains ID announced 11/27/2007

Name: Stephen Arthur Rusch
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Da Nang
Date of Birth: 23 July 1943
Home City of Record: Lambertville NJ
Date of Loss: 07 March 1972
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 160100N 1063500E (XC720744)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E
Refno: 1800

Other Personnel In Incident: Carter A. Howell (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 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: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served
a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2),
and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission
type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and
high altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes

1Lt. Carter A. Howell was the pilot and 1Lt. Stephen A. Rusch the co-pilot
of an F4E Phantom from the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron based at Da Nang,
Republic of Vietnam. On March 7, 1972, the two were sent on an operational
mission over Laos. During the mission their aircraft was seen to impact the
ground while making a run on a target. No parachutes were seen and no
emergency beepers were heard to indicate the crew was safe. However, the
opportunity existed for the two to safely eject, and they were not declared
dead, but missing in action. The loss occurred about 25 miles east of the
town of Ban Toumlan in Saravane Province, Laos.

When American involvement in Southeast Asia ended with the signing of the
Paris Peace agreements, prisoners of war, it was agreed, would be released.
The country of Laos, meanwhile, not having been included in the peace talks,
announced publicly that prisoners of war held in Laos would be released from
Laos. The U.S. never negotiated for the release of these men. Not one
American serviceman held in Laos was released, although nearly 600 went down
there, and many survived their crashes and were known to have been captured.

Over the years since the war, reports have amassed indicating that many
Americans are still held prisoner. As of July 1987, nearly 6000 such reports
had been received by the U.S. Government, yet the U.S. seems unable to
secure the freedom of those men who were left behind.

Men like Rusch and Howell served in Vietnam because their country asked them
to. They went to war prepared to be injured, killed or even taken prisoner.
They were not prepared to be abandoned. They must be brought home.


Airman Missing In Action From The Vietnam War Is Identified

Tue, 27 Nov 2007 10:51:00 -0600
November 27, 2007

Airman Missing In Action From The 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 will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

He is Capt. Stephen A. Rusch, U.S. Air Force, of Lambertville, N.J. He will be buried on Nov. 30 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C.

On March 7, 1972, Rusch was the weapons systems officer in an F-4E Phantom II aircraft attacking enemy targets in Salavan Province, Laos. The plane
was the number two aircraft in a flight of two. When Rusch's aircraft was cleared to begin its second run over enemy targets, the flight leader of the
number one aircraft lost sight of Rusch's plane and observed enemy ground fire followed by a large explosion. An immediate search was begun, but
all attempts to establish radio contact and later search efforts were unsuccessful.

In 1995, a joint U.S./Lao People's Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), investigated the
 incident and interviewed several Laotian citizens. The team surveyed the crash site identified by one of the citizens and found aircraft wreckage.

In 2001, a U.S. citizen, acting as an intermediary for a Laotian citizen, turned over to U.S. officials a bone fragment and a photocopy of Rusch's
military identification tag. The bone fragment proved not to be from Capt. Rusch.

In 2002-2003, joint teams conducted two excavations of the crash site. The teams recovered human remains and non-biological evidence including
U.S. coins and life support equipment.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory
also used mitochondrial DNA and dental comparisons in the identification of the remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at
or call (703) 699-1169.



Subject: Regarding: RUSCH, Stephen Arthur
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2017 22:23:45 -0400
From: Steve Harris

Human remains were recovered during two excavations of the crash site in 2002 and 2003 respectively.  CPT RUSCH's remains were identified in November 2007 and he was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery on November 30, 2007.