United States Air Force Aircrew – 28 September 1973

Captain Leroy Jason Cornwell III
Born August 5, 1944
Died September 28, 1973

Major Andrew Ivan Jr.
Born September 23, 1944
Died September 28, 1973

  • Remains returned August 1994 Identified March 1996
  • Name: Andrew Ivan, Jr.
  • Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
  • Unit: 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Udorn Airbase Thailand
  • Date of Birth: 23 September 1944
  • Home City of Record: South River NJ
  • Date of Loss: 10 September 1971
  • Country of Loss: Laos
  • Other Personnel In Incident: Leroy J. Cornwell III (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990 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 1998.


Captaon Leroy J. Cornwell was the radar intercept officer aboard an F4D Phantom fighter bomber flown by Captain Andrew Ivan, Jr. when it was sent on a forward air control mission which took them over the Plaine des Jarres
in Laos on September 19, 1971.

When the Phantom and its crew failed to return to Udorn, an intensive air search was initiated. A crash site was located near the village of Ban Ban in Xiangkhoang Province, Laos, and air photos showed what appeared to be the main carriage of an F4 aircraft. No sign was found of either crewmember.

The Plain of Jars region of Laos had only two months prior been taken over by Lao tribesmen from the communists. The area had long been controlled by the communist Pathet Lao and a continual effort had been made by the secret
CIA-directed force of some 30,000 indigenous tribesmen to strengthen anti-communist strongholds there. The U.S. had to date committed over $284 million to the war effort in Laos. Details of this secret operation had been released only the previous month.

Because Laos was “neutral”, and because the U.S. continued to state they were not at war with Laos (although we were regularly bombing North Vietnamese traffic along the border and conducted assaults against communist strongholds thoughout the country at the behest of the anti-communist government of Laos), and did not recognize the Pathet Lao as a government entity, the nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos were never recovered.


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