Name:  Donald Charles Breuer
Rank/Branch: Captain/US Marine Corps
Unit:  Fighter Squadron 232, 
Marine Air Group 15, 
1st Marine Air Wing

Date of Birth: 26 October 1946 (Long Island, NY)
Home of Record: Long Island, NY
Date of Loss: 20 November 1972 
Country of Loss:  Laos
Loss Coordinates:  163500N 1063300E  (XD662350)
Click coordinates to view maps

Status in 1973: Missing In Action 
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground:  F4J "Phantom II"
Other Personnel in Incident: pilot rescued 


SYNOPSIS:   The McDonnell F4 Phantom used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings served a multitude of functions including fighter/bomber, interceptor, photo/electronic surveillance, and reconnaissance. 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. It was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.

On 20 November 1972, Capt. Donald C. Breuer was the radar intercept officer of an F4J aircraft which was on an operational mission over Laos. This area of eastern Laos was considered a major artery of the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail. When North Vietnam began to increase its military strength in South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some years before. This border road was used by the Communists to transport weapons, supplies and troops from North Vietnam into South Vietnam, and was frequently no more than a path cut through the jungle covered mountains. US forces used all assets available to them to stop this flow of men and supplies from moving south into the war zone.

While on its flight to the assigned target area in Laos due west of the South Vietnamese city of Hue, Capt. Breuer's aircraft was struck by anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) fire and crashed in the dense jungle on the north side of mountain foothills approximately 14 miles northeast of Muang Xepon, 3 miles west of the Lao/Vietnamese border south of the DMZ, Savannakhet Province, Laos; 44 miles west-northwest of Quang Tri and 66 miles northwest of Hue, South Vietnam.

Both crewmen safely ejected from the damaged Phantom. When search and rescue (SAR) aircraft arrived on site, they clearly heard beeper signals emitting from the dense jungle below. Later the pilot was rescued by SAR personnel. When Capt. Breuer's emergency radio stopped transmitting and contact with him could not be reestablished, SAR efforts were terminated. At that time Donald Breuer was listed Missing in Action.

During the war, the National Reconnaissance Association (NSA) was responsible for monitoring all enemy communications. They intercepted an enemy communication they correlated Capt. Breuer which stated the enemy "reported he had a good chute and they were attempting to capture him."

Donald Breuer is one of 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.

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 America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.

Fighter pilots were called upon to fly in many dangerous circumstances, 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