Patrick Kendal Harrold – Captain, United States Air Force

Born at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on December 17, 1944, he was declared killed in the crash of his fixed-wing aircraft in Laos during the the Vietnam War on January 19, 1973. He had been missing-in-action in that theater since December 5, 1969.

His remains were recovered in 1997 and on November 21, 1997 he was laid to rest with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

Thanks to Keith Barnes of Arlington National Cemetery for information on this homecoming.


  • Name: Patrick Kendal Harrold
  • Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
  • Unit:
  • Date of Birth: 17 December 1944
  • Home City of Record: Leavenworth Kansas
  • Date of Loss: 05 December 1969
  • Country of Loss: Laos
  • Loss Coordinates: 193600N 1034800E (UG745675)
  • Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
  • Category: 2
  • Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E
  • Other Personnel in Incident: John C. Clark (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1990 with the assistance of
one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.



SYNOPSIS: In violation of the neutrality of Laos accorded at Geneva in a 14-nation protocol conference July 23, 1962, the North Vietnamese and supporting communist insurgent group, the Pathet Lao, lost no time in building strategic strongholds of defense in Northern Laos and establishing a steady flow of manpower and material to their revolutionary forces in South Vietnam via the Ho Chi Minh Trail on the eastern border of the Laotian panhandle.

As a result, the Royal Lao sought help from the U.S. In turn, U.S. involvement in Laos was justified by an expected quick victory in Vietnam. Every initiative had to be cleared through the U.S. Ambassador at Vientiane, so that the delicate balance of “look-the-other-way-neutrality” engaged in by the nations involved (including China) could be preserved. Before many years passed, however, it became clear that the U.S. would have no “quick victory” in Vietnam, and the secret war in Laos grew more difficult to contain.

Defense of non-communist activity in Laos generally fell into three categories: 1) U.S. Army and CIA's bolstering of the Meo (Hmong) army led by General Vang Pao;  2) Strategic U.S. Air Force bombing initiatives on the Ho Chi Minh Trail (Operations Commando Hunt, Steel Tiger, etc.);  3) U.S. Air Force bombing initiatives in northern Laos (Operation Barrell Roll, etc.) both against communist strongholds there, and in support of the Royal Lao and Gen. Vang Pao's army.

First Lieutenant Patrick K. Harrold and Captain John C. Clark II were pilots assigned to an F4E Phantom fighter jet dispatched on an operational mission over Laos on
February 5, 1969. Their mission would take them to the northeast edge of the Plain of Jars in Xiangkhoang Province in Military Region II.

At a point about 10 miles northwest of the city of Nong Het, the Phantom was shot down and both crew members declared Missing in Action. The Air Force told the Harrold and Clark families that there was every reason to believe the enemy knew the fate of both men; that perhaps they had been captured. It was too soon to tell.

When the war finally ended for the U.S. in Southeast Asia, families of the nearly 600 men lost in Laos were horrified to learn that no negotiations had been struck that would free Americans held in Laos. The Pathet Lao had stated publicly that they held “tens of tens” of American prisoners, but they wished to be negotiated with. The U.S. was not willing to negotiate with the communist faction, even at the cost of abandoning some of their best men.

Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Many authorities have reluctantly concluded that there are hundreds of them who remain alive today, held captive by a long-ago enemy.

Whether Clark and Harrold are among those thought to be still alive is not known. What is clear, however, is that we owe these men our very best efforts to bring them home. What must they be thinking of the country they proudly served?

St. Joseph (MO) News Press

Long waiting period ends for dead pilot's wife

MANHATTAN, Kansas – Linda Harrold will cry at her husband's burial next month,
but they will -be tears of relief as well as grief She has been waiting nearly 28 years, after all, to bury the man she describes as “the love of my life.”

It was on December 5, 1969, that Harrold and her in-laws received word during
dinner that her husband's plane had gone down on a bombing mission over Laos.  Less than 12 hours later, the couple's son Tim was born. With the declaration that Air Force fighter pilot Lieutenant Patrick Harrold was missing in action, a long period of uncertain grief opened in his survivor's lives.

Now 50, Linda Harrold, who lives in Manhattan and is a social worker at Irwin Army Hospital, said she and her son are looking forward to finally closing that chapter.

In 1993, while searching for a different soldier's remains, officials found what they believed to be, pieces of Patrick Harrold's plane on a hillside in Laos.  After three excavations and DNA testing of the bone fragments found at the site, Harrold was officially declared dead October 3. His wife was told by phone that day that she was a widow.

Patrick Harrold will be buried with full military honors on November 1 at St. Andrews Catholic Church in Abilene, Linda Harrold's hometown.

“This is what we need,” Harrold said.  “I spent so many years accepting the fact that we would never have closure, and now we will.  I will go to that funeral and I'll cry, I know I will, but even the tears are good.  This is incredibly healing mentally.”

Patrick Harrold and Linda Huston met at Kansas State University after her freshman year; she dropped out to marry Patrick on his graduation in 1967. For the three years they traveled to various duty stations before he left for Vietnam.  She was six months pregnant.

“He really was the all-American type,” she said.  “He was 6 foot 3, athletic and handsome, and he excelled at everything he tried.  It really was an incredible blow, both to me and his parents.”

After three years in the MIA list, during which time he was promoted to Captain, Patrick was declared “presumably dead” by the military.  The family held a memorial service, Linda Harrold said, but it didn't really end there.

“That's the really sad thing for MIA families,” Harrold said.  “In your conscious mind, you have to hold out hope that he's still alive so you don't let him down and to support the other members of the family.

“At the same time, your subconscious mind sucks you right into that grief cycle.  Unless you can find a way to balance the two, it can really do a number on your mind.”

Harrold said she was dismayed at how long the final declaration of death took, but impressed at how meticulous the forensic scientists were.  In a large binder, she points out the pictures of her husband's bones, his dental records, the DNA tests.  Her son is flying to Hawaii on October 22 to pick up the remains.

Lieutenant Patrick Harrold, who was accompanied in the plane that crashed by Major
John Calvin Clark, was posthumously given several awards: the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the National Defense Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and a Small Arms Expert Ribbon.

He also received a special commemorative medal – presented to the family by then Senator Bob Dole – on July 4, 1985.  And in 1990, Fort Leavenworth named a youth center for him.

Linda Harrold said she was able to accept her husband's death after he didn't return with the prisoners of war in 1973.

Fly-by for funeral service done by 1Lt. Gary Nash, Kansas Air National Guard


“Your soul brushed mine
So briefly –  a butterfly kiss
I looked away for one moment
Feeling your warm breath
On my shoulder
And when I turned back
You were gone.”

Captain Patrick Harrold

Services for Captain  Patrick Kendal Harrold, 24, who was killed during a bombing mission over Laos Dec. 5, 1969, will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, 1997, at St. Andrew's Catholic Church, Abilene.  Fr. Mel Long and Fr. Louis Mattas will officiate.

Burial will be in Mt. St.  Joseph Cemetery with full military honors by McConnell Air Force Base personnel.

He was  born Dec. 7, 1944, in Willimantic, Conn., the son of Arthur Kendal and Helen Kilburn (Grimley) Harrold.  His father was a career Army officer and Patrick lived many places.  He graduated from Leavenworth High School, Leavenworth in 1962 and attended Kansas State University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoology Jan. 28, 1967.  At KSU, he earned his K-State letter as a member of the swim team.  He was also a ROTC cadet for two years.

Captain  Harrold received his commission in the Air Force Sept. 29, 1967, upon
completion of Officer Training School in San Antonio, Texas.  He attended pilot training at Moody Air Force Base, Valdosta, Ga., and completed further training at George Air Force Base, Victorville, Ga.

He was assigned to Korat Royal Thai AF Base, Korat, Thailand, in September 1969 with the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

On Dec. 23, 1967,  he was married to Linda Jane Huston at St. Andrew's Catholic Church, Abilene. Their son, Timothy Kendal Harrold, was bom Dec. 6, 1969.

Capt. Harrold received the following medals in recognition of his service to his country posthumously: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Force Commendation Medal, National Defense Medal Vietnam Service Medal, and Small Arms Expert Ribbon.  He also received a special Commemorative Medal, on July 4, 1985, for American personnel still missing in Southeast Asia.  This medal was presented to the Harrold family by Senator Bob Dole.  On February 28,1990, he was honored by having the Patrick K. Harrold Youth Center at Fort Leavenworth, Ks.dedicated to him in in recognition of his military service.

He was proceeded  in death by his parents, retired Col.  Kendal and Helen Harrold.

Surviving are his wife, Linda of Manhattan; his son, Timothy of Wichita; his sister, Carole Jean Harrold Noblitt of LaVeta, Colo; four nephews, an aunt; and three great-nephews.

A family rosary will be recited at the Danner Funeral Home Friday evening at 7 p.m. The family will receive friends following at 7:30 p.m.

The family suggests memorial contributions in his memory be given to the Kansas State University Air Force ROTC program.  They may be left at the Danner Funeral Home or St. Andrew's Catholic Church.

Abilene Reflector-Chronicle


Awe and an overwhelming pride in family, state and community have been primary emotions Linda Harrold has felt during this week when her husband, Captain  Patrick Harrold, will finally be buried in his adopted state.

“I have been surprised that the response has been so tremendous,” she says. “It's incredible, absolutely incredible.”

When she first found out that the remains of her husband who  had been lost since a bombing mission over Laos Dec. 5, 1969, would be returned for burial, she knew there would be family at the services, but she didn't think anyone else would remember.

“I didn't think anyone else would care.  He's been gone 28 years,” she says.

But this is Kansas.

“I'm a native Kansan, born and raised in Abilene.  Neighbors always helped neighbors in times of trouble and celebrated with them when things were good.  That's Kansas,” says Harrold.  And that's all been brought back by all the people — even people who never knew him — offering help.”

The outpouring of support has been appreciated, but the planning has still taken a toll over the last few weeks.

“I've been telling myself, ‘you can only do so much and then it's got to just happen'.”

And it will happen thanks to so many, starting with her sister, Mary Jo Boor who has been tremendous help.

Everyone they asked to be a part of the ceremonies, musicians, Altar Society, funeral directors, veterans groups have agreed.  Even without being asked, everyone has gone that extra mile, stepping forward, saying, ‘We'll take care of it,'

The services at St. Andrew's Catholic Church and in Mt.  St. Joseph's Cemetery will be a fitting tribute to Patrick Harrold, who died in the service of his country, but Linda Harrold hopes that it will also be a farewell to the very real human being.  His photo is on the front of the program because she wanted people to see his face.  We take away human characteristics over time and replace them with all the feeling we have, according to Harrold.

“I wanted to remind everyone that this was just a human being who died incredibly young.”

His portrait will be on the altar and his dress blue uniform on display in the church for the same reason, to remind all that this was a very normal young man.

His burial Saturday will be the final validation of his life, and it will also validate the other veterans.

“That validation is really important,” says Harrold.

Harrold knows that veterans returning from Vietnam have not always been treated well, but says this country has always recognized and supported the families of the POW-MIAS.  The support from the country has helped through the years.

The events of Harrold's life have unfolded in stages since her husband was reported missing Dec. 5, 1969, the day before their son, Tim, was born.

During the years  from 1969 to 1973, when he was officially missing, there was always that slim hope that he was still alive.  But, when the prisoners of war came home in 1973, the family accepted his death as fact.

But the year between that realization and the actual declaration by the Air Force that he was presumed to be dead were very difficult for Harrold who had totally accepted that there was no hope. That year of waiting for the legal approval to go on with life was, for her, a little like doing time.

The presumed dead designation didn't change her feelings, but it finished it legally.

“You conclude in your mind that they are not coming back and if you can't have them back, you say let me have my life back.  I had made the decision to do nothing that would dishonor him or dishonor me. It was a decision made of love.  But I was ready to get my life going  again.”

The year was made even more difficult by a few families who filed law suits saying that the government had no right to declare their MIA dead.  The military would review no cases, would declare no MIA presumed dead unless the next of kin agreed in writing to the review.

It was necessary for the next of kin to write a letter of permission, and Harrold did that after discussing it with Patrick's parents, who were so much in agreement that his father wrote the letter and Harrold signed it.

“Patrick's death was a blow, we accepted it and carried on.”

Harrold found a career as a social worker, currently at Irwin Army Hospital, and made a home for her son.  She never remarried and is puzzled that people continue to ask her why.

“It was not because I was so upset, not because I didn't ever get over his death.  That would have been looking back.  I got on with my life,” she says, observing that the feelings would have still been as deep no matter what had happened.

“The raw pain, the horrible raw pain, goes away.  But you can still get emotional real quickly. Marriage leaves a mark on you forever.”

And the circumstances, the years that he was missing, have left a mark as well.

“You are always uncertain when you don't know the details,” she says.

When the remains were found, it took away the questions.  “The answers are not always what you want but you do have answers.”

The day that Harrold received the letter telling her that the plane had been found was the beginning of the last stage which will end with the services Saturday.

Her reaction was overwhelming excitement.  She had come home from work and done all the little routine rituals, getting coffee, settling down to read through the mail.  She opened the letter that looked like the letters she had been receiving for years.  As she began to skim she suddenly realized what it said.

“They had found Pat's plane.  I was so excited.  I dialed Tim to tell him. I got the answering machine.  After leaving a message to call me ASAP, I dialed my sister-in-law.  I had to share it with somebody.  I was so excited.  I got her answering machine.  I asked her to call me ASAP.  I called my sister.  I got an answering machine,” she says.

Since she felt her son and Patrick's sister should be the first to be told, she couldn't call anyone else. It was an hour before they called back.

“It was the longest hour,” she says.

After the discovery of the plane, it took a year until all was settled, and that time went on and on although it was clear from the original walk through by the men on the site of the downed plane that the pilots were both still in the plane.

“They still have to do the process,” says Harrold.

The process started wilh idenfifying the plane from the serial numbers and included collecting and analyzing all evidence left as well as the human remains.  The artifacts were sent to the Life Science Lab at Kelly Air Force Base, Texas, and the hunan remains to CILHI at Hickhain Air Force Base, Hawaii.

Harrold received final confirmation on the artifacts nine months ago but it was a long time before the results from Hawaii confirmed the find.  DNA testing is through the maternal line, and the results in Patrick's case, through his sister, left no doubt.  Of the 612 items used to determine a match, 611 of them did match.

“It was really cool to see it,” says Harrold.  “We knew it absolutely, and it's good.”

Patrick Harrold had been found, identified and, Saturday, his family will at last be able to have a funeral for him and to say goodbye.

Abilene Reflector-Chronicle


Many individuals and groups from Patrick Kendal Hwold's adopted state and hometown, Abilene, have played a part in planning the Saturday funeral and graveside services.

His family has appreciated the support they have found from so many.

“I have such a list of thank yous,' says Linda Huston harrold, who grew up in the area.

The list begins with Richard   Danner who has been coordinating all the groups who will be involved in the services — active military, veterans groups, Press, police, church and family.

Danner Funeral home is handling the arrangements for the Services which will begin at 9:45 am. with the procession to St. Andrew's Catholic Church, where the casket will be met by the honorary pallbearers from the Kansas State University Air Force ROTC and honor guards from Veterans' groups.

The funeral service will begin at 10 a.m in the church.

At the close of the service, the procession will travel north on Buckeye to Mt.  St. Joseph Cemetery, where Capt. Harrold will be buried with full military honors.  The active duty military escort from McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, will carry the body to the internment site.

After the Religious Blessing, there will be a 21-gun salute, taps, a fly over by two B-1 bombers and the presentation of the flag to the captain's son, Timothy Harrold.

Brig.  Gen.  Karen F. Rankin, director of plans and programs, air education and training for the Air Force, will present the flag.

The presentation of the flag will be meaningful to her son, according to Linda Harrold.  She was presented with a flag in the 1973 memorial service at the time that Capt.  Harrold was declared presumed killed in action.

‘”They presented the flag to me at that time.  ‘This will be Tim's flag. And this is a funeral, not just a memorial service,” she says.

KSU Air Force ROTC Commander Stan Weir, others and cadets from Manhattan
will be at the ceremony.

“Nov. 1 is ROTC Day at KState.  They are giving up time on a day off to come.  I think they're wonderful.  I really do,” says Harrold.

Veterans have also been wonderful, according to Harrold.  The local groups, Vietnam Veterans of Dickinson County, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion have organized to place yellow ribbons along the route of the funeral cortege, to encourage veterans to attend, and to form a cordon of Veterans at the cemetery.

Danner also cites the role the Abilene Police Department will play.

“They've been worldng pretty hard on it, as have the veterans groups,” he says.

The APD has tried to think of all the possibilities in planning for the anticipated crowds, says Public Safety Director Jim Davis.

Of immediate concern were parking at the church and cemetery and the escort to the cemetery. Special parking has been provided through the cooperation of the Eisenhower Center.  The parking lot south of the Chapel will be used and there will be guards to park some of the overflow in the north parking lot as well.

The traffic flow will be monitored, and, if necessary, Third and Fourth Streets close to St. Andrew's will be used for parking.

“It is possible that one of the streets will be closed to through traffic,” says Davis.

There will be officers on hand to direct traffic.

After the ceremony at the church, the police department will provide a three-car escort to the cemetery and handle parking there.  The cars will form a V, and each will fly the AMA and American flags on the antenna.

At the cemetery a special area will be provided for handicapped access. Officers will direct cars with handicap tags and cards to an area where they will be able to see.

Officers will be on every controlled intersection and directing other traffic to far right lanes out of respect to Captain Harrold and to allow the cortege to proceed smoothly.  The Union Pacific and Santa Fe Railroads have also been contacted by the department and asked to limit train traffic at the time of the procession “so there will be no chance of interruptions” according to Davis.

“We anticipate some congestion in town and appreciate all the cooperation of the townspeople,” says Davis.

After the graveside service, the, officers will be helping cars onto Kansas Highway 15 and back  to town.

Other individuals and groups  who have been extremely helpful are members of St. Andrew's parish, local businessmen,  video experts, and neighbors, says Mary Jo Boor, Harrold's sister.

The Ladies of St. Andrew's will be serving the large funeral dinner  to the family and guests following the graveside service.  The Knights of Columbus are setting up the church basement and social  rooms for 250 people.  Fr. Louis Mattas is directing the religious serviced.  Jane Foltz, president of St. Andrew's Parish Council, has coordinated all funeral activities at St. Andrew's.

Local businessmen have displayed Welcome Home signs on the marquees, and
neighbors and local citizens have displayed yellow ribbons and flags.

Gary and Mike Liby of Radio Shack are providing a large screen television and video camera to provide live coverage of the funeral to those seated in' the church basement.  Dan Morton will do the camera work.

Donna Reynolds has worked with “The River of Life” singers and coordinated the music, and Tom Whitehair has been in charge of  arrangements at the cemetery.

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