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Latest Update July 13, 2014

RECEIVED FROM: Paul Clever July 9, 2014

During December 2012 my wife Nita and I searched for and located the CAP 72 Crash Site in the jungle of Saravane Province, Southern Laos. The mission was successful in recovering artifacts which specifically linked this site to C-47 type aircraft as well as recovering human remains. Four days after our return from Laos the US Air Force announced a new accounting of the CAP 72 Crew was being undertaken.

During July 2013 the 30 lbs of remains which were recovered in 1969 were disinterred and transported to the Central Identification Laboratory at Offut Air Force Base, Omaha, NE. This is only the third disinterment from over 500 group burial sites located at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.

On Memorial Day 2013 the remains which were recovered during the 2012 mission to Laos were repatriated in Olive Branch, MS and then delivered by Danny Russell to the Central Identification Laboratory in Nebraska. All ten CAP 72 families have provided the CIL with DNA reference samples and the families continue to wait for pending identifications and accountings of their loved-ones lost so long ago.

Though it took unconventional methods to accomplish, I believe we as Americans have "kept the faith" with this honored crew and have "brought them home". My heart continues to grieve for the families who have waited over forty-five years for this covenant to be upheld.

Paul Clever

RECEIVED FROM: Paul Clever July 13, 2014

Hi JC,

As I mentioned in my last update: there are over 500 group burial sites at this cemetery and this is only the third group site to be disinterred. It is something which simply does not happen.

As I read the earlier updates which were posted on the EC 47 website I marveled in how far this effort has come. The person which wrote to you years ago simply did not understand what he was setting out to do was impossible. From the disinterment, to locating remains at the crash site, to leveraging the Air Force to reexamine the accounting: pretty much everything we set out to do was impossible. Yet here we are today.

The one thing that each CAP 72 family member which I have interviewed over the years has needed the most (above the accounting of their loved ones) was the story of what their loved ones were doing and the value of their sacrifice measured in an understandable way. I remember clearly the look on Mike Connor Jr. face when I told him about what his Dad was doing. He grew about three inches taller during the conversation and his shoulders pulled back just a bit.

There is a process in pretty much everything we do. Each step in a process can be traced back to a first step: where it all begins. When I trace the accounting of CAP 72's Crew back to the first step I believe I was sitting in front of my computer early one morning looking at the EC47 website for the first time. Imagine my surprise. I believe I got up from that computer a little taller.

When you get to heaven and the veil which blocks us from all knowledge is lifted I expect you will be pleased with how your efforts over the years towards telling the ARDF-in-Vietnam story has impacted people which you have never met: Not just on a technical level, but on an emotional level.

I remember how welcoming you were when NIta and I attended the reunion in San Antonio years ago. I remember getting to sit in my Father's seat during the group photo: that was special. About a year ago Roger Niles sent me an email about some trivial matter. At the end of the email he wrote "You are one of us.". This email is one of my most prized possessions. In November 2013 Mrs. Cindy Burke (CAP 72 Co-pilot's widow) was given Captain Burke's dog tag (which had been recovered in 1995 at the crash site). This is probably a piece which Mrs. Burke had touched many time and a piece which was with her husband when he died. Then ended when the aircraft impacted the ground. I have held that dog tag in my hand.

Think of all the healing which would have been cheated from so many if you had not done what you have done.

Thank you JC.

Please claim your share in achieving the impossible. You have Kept the Faith. You have earned the laurel.
See you soon,
Respectfully signed,
Paul Clever

======================================
Paul, I thank you so much for your very nice comments. They made me too grow about 3 inches also and I had honestly never considered my efforts were having such effects. Such comments make all the work over the past 17 years well worth the effort. I can only hope that I can somehow continue to make a difference in the lives of the families of those we lost.

Again, THANKS J.C.

Previously Posted.

It has been the long-standing covenant between the United States and its fighting forces when one should fall on the field of battle a determined effort will be made to bring that warrior back home to rest in peace.

On February 5, 1969 an EC-47Q code named “CAP 72” was shot down by hostile fire in Southern Laos near the Ho Chi Minh Trails System. In June 1969 a Security Recovery team went to the crash site which was located in a particularly dangerous area to recover remains and destroy classified material. With consideration for safety of the Recovery Team the cockpit which was driven underground in the crash was not excavated. The pilot; Major Homer Lynn and co-pilot; Captain Walter Burke (along with a possible third person) were left behind.

Over forty-years later and for whatever reasons there has never been a return visit to the crash site to recover the remains of these fallen warriors: even though documentation indicates the need. The official Crash Investigation was labeled as “Closed” in 1969 which makes the site ineligible for a Joint Prisoner of War, Missing in Action Accounting Command (JPAC) return visit today.

A small organization has been formed with the specific mission of finding, marking, and excavating the wreckage of CAP 72 to insure a determined effort has been made towards achieving “maximum recover” of crewmember remains. This organization is called CAP 72: MRSEA (Maximum Recovery in Southeast Asia). A privately-funded MRSEA plan is already in practical execution to aggressively search the mountainous jungle terrain of the crash area in November 2012.

As a family member of one of the crew lost with CAP 72 I can testify to the sorrow which has lingered all these years because there has never been a physical or emotional closure regarding the deaths of our loved-ones. As an American I can testify if we have willingly left one of our fallen warriors behind, then we have broken our covenant with all American fighting forces.

Together we may not be able to change the course of history or the course of warfare. We may be dwarfed by the military bureaucracy and federal government complexes. But as common Americans we share a legacy of achieving extraordinary things when our collective spirits are united. We can "make things right" for the families of this one aircraft lost so long ago.

When you are approached with a request to support MRSEA and this expedition please know your generosity will be greatly appreciated.

Respectfully Submitted,

Paul D Clever

There has to be Fear before there is Courage. Honor resides on the the other side of Courge.

The article immediately above was submitted by the son of one of the Crewmwmbers lost with this aircraft. Much more of this loss and others can be found on The EC-47 History Site at ec47.com please check it out.

Request for Help

Can you help Paul?

If so email him at: pclever828@yahoo.com

An Email I received asking for help, If you can help Paul I would really appreciat it.

J.C.

Hi JC,

Paul Clever finally checking in.

It has been a while since we spoke at the EC-47 Reunion in San Antonio, I understood your health took some bumps and I hope you have finally found a clean bill.

I don't think you got the word, but Nita and I are now living in Bangkok, Thailand. Our son was born last year and will be one year old this month. It has been quite an experience: especially during the Red Shirt Protests last year. I have some wild stories around that we we get together again. It is very possible I will be returning state-side soon because my position is being eliminated in a restructuring which Siemens is doing. In preparations for that I have resolved to make a trip to Southern Laos to look for the crash site of CAP 72. There are documents which indicate all of the potential remains were not recovered and the entire crew was not accounted for. It is not that I think anybody made it out of the crash alive, but I am pretty sure we left some people in the cockpit behind. The AF has "closed" the case which means they cannot make a return visit to the site with qualified people to unearth the cockpit which was driven underground. The trick is to get the AF to reopen the case and then the MIA recovery team in Hawaii can look into a return visit. It was procedure to call in air strikes on an EC-47 which went down, but that was not done due to the extensive damage to the plane. Hand-carried charges were used, but ironically CAP 72 is probably the most intact site because there was not an air strike because of the extensive damage. Maybe they couldn't do it because there were remains which had to been recovered...Thought provoking.

Anyway a distant relative (George Clever) and I are going to be heading out on July 29th: Ubon Ratchatani, Thaialnd, to Pakse, Laos, to Saravan, and then GPS close to the site......then just looking around. This is where I hope you or somebody you know can help me. I have the coordinates for the crash site: XC 856 286. The standard UTM Zone is 48P: though I think the military would have called the zone 17P. The problem I have is the GPS uses Long. and Lat. values. There are conversion tools to go from one to the other, but I am unsure if my results are correct.

If your Nav skill are up to speed or you know somebodies' who is, then could you help me to get as reliable Long/Lat values as possible. I would hate to be looking on the wrong mountain.

The number I came up with were 15.2600 N and 106.4700 E. On a topo the numbers are "about" 15 degree 37 N 172750 and 106 degree 43 E 550.

Here is a link to the topo for the XC UTM grid: http://www.nexus.net/~911gfx/vietnam/maps/nd48-04/nd48_04a.html

I have also attached a map which put my numbers on the grid for generally accuracy checking.

Any help you could send my way would be greatly appreciated.

Take care Friend,

Paul Clever (son of Louis Clever)

If you can help Paul email him at: pclever828@yahoo.come or,
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