|Name:||Howard Vincent Andre, Jr.|
|Rank/Branch:||Major/US Air Force|
Special Operations Squadron
Nakhon Phanom Airfield, TH
|Date of Birth:||18 March 1935|
|Home of Record:||Memphis, TN|
|Date of Loss:||08 July 1969|
|Country of Loss:||Laos|
|Loss Coordinates:||191643N 1030913E (UG060325)
Click coordinates to view (4) maps
|Status in 1973:||Killed/Body Not Recovered|
|Other Personnel in Incident:||James E. Sizemore (missing)|
SYNOPSIS: The twin engine A26 Douglas Invader is the attack version of the venerable B26, which was one of the first aircraft to arrive in Vietnam with the 1st Air Commando Squadron in October 1961 as part of the "Farm Gate" detachment. Powered by two Pratt and Whitney radial engines with three-bladed reversible propellers, the A26 first began life during World War II with that original designation at times resurrected during Vietnam. It could carry eight forward-firing 12.7mm machineguns plus various combinations of bombs and rockets exceeding 10,000 pounds. While assigned to the South Vietnamese Air Force, the Invaders were flown by American aircrews. They repeatedly proved themselves as a valuable air asset against the Viet Cong throughout South Vietnam and Laos.
On 8 July 1969, Major James E. Sizemore, pilot; and Major Howard V. Andre, Jr., Navigator; comprised the crew of an A26A that departed Nakhon Phanom Airfield on an evening armed reconnaissance mission deep in enemy held territory. As the Invader made a strafing pass on a communist target in rugged jungle covered mountains on the north side of a mountain range, it was struck by ground fire and exploded immediately upon impact with the ground. This region was a hotbed of communist activity with rich rice fields to the north of the enemy target area that was also surrounded by various sized villages in Xiangkhouang Province, Laos.
The location of loss placed the crash site approximately 2 kilometers southeast of Ban Chaho, 3 kilometers south of Phou Khe, 13 kilometers southwest of Ban Thuang, 3 miles east-southeast of Muang Pang, 11 miles south-southeast of Kieng Khouang, 12 miles south-southwest of Muang Phonsavan and 45 miles west of the closest point on the Lao/North Vietnamese border.
Because of the location of loss in an area under total enemy control, no ground search was possible. An electronic search, however, commenced immediately. At the time the A26A was downed, no parachutes were seen. Likewise, no emergency beepers were heard. When the formal search was terminated, both Howard Andre and James Sizemore were listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.
Howard Andre and James Sizemore are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many of these men were known to be alive on the ground. The Laotians admitted holding "tens of tens" of American Prisoners of War, but these men were never negotiated for either by direct negotiation between our countries or through the Paris Peace Accords which ended the War in Vietnam since Laos was not a party to that agreement.
While the fate of Major Andre and Major Sizemore is in little doubt, each man has a right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country. For other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, their fate could be quite different. Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE American Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
American servicemen in Vietnam and Laos were called upon to operate in many dangerous circumstances both on and off duty, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.