Jon Thomas Busch – Captain, United States Air Force


“I once was lost, but now am found.”

Fitting words of the hymn Amazing Grace opened and closed the service in the chapel at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday for Air Force Captain Jon T. Busch of Columbus, Ohio, missing in action in Vietnam for 21 years.

Busch's remains were found, sent to the United States and identified in October 1988. He was buried with full military honors in the nation's first national cemetery, according to his wishes. Busch's funeral cortege with horse-drawn caisson, Air Force Honor Guard and Band was followed by members of the color guard of Dayton Chapter 97 of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

The veterans' leader, Larry Jackson of Dayton, said they were in Washington, D.C. for their national leadership council meeting. “The Ohio State Council asked us to come over for the services,” Jackson said.

Major Gerald Knighton, ArlingtonNational Cemetery chaplain, spoke of the “long time of uncertainty” suffered by Busch's widow, Susan, their four children and other members of the family. Mrs Busch felt there had been enough publicity about the return of her husband's remains from Vietnam and their eventual identification. But other family members hoped that news about Captain Busch would spur further attempts to resolve the remaining missing-in-action and prisoner-of-war status of American servicemen who fought in the Vietnam War.

Knighton  extended his prayer for the Busch family to “the others who long for the resolution of their sorrows.”

November 18, 1988: Captain Jon Thomas Busch is being honored today, 21 years after he was shot down over Vietnam.

Busch, a Columbus, Ohio, native and the pilot of an F-4C Phantom jet, was downed over North Vietnam on June 8, 1967. His remains were returned by Vietnam in July and identified in October.

He was “Jack” to his family, who will be at the cemetery near Washington, D.C. today for services in the chapel and at his grave. Air Force jets will fly over the cemetery during the service. “It's been a long 21 years,” said Larry Busch, 50, of Ada, Ohio, Jon's older brother in a telephone interview from Washington. “We're grateful that we can finally conclude those 21 years. We feel very sorry for the other 2,200 people who have not had this type of resolve. Our hearts go out to them.”

Busch's parents, Charles and Jean Busch of Columbus, flew to Washington yesterday from their winter home in Florida. “The service isn't one of those things that will last a long time, but we will feel relieved when it is over,” Charles Busch said.

Susan Busch, Jon's widow and a North Side resident, will attend, as will his four children. Susan, 29, is the oldest child. She lives in Toledo. Jon, 27, is in the Air Force, stationed in England. William, 24, also in the Air Force, is based in Missouri. James, 22, lives in Akron and is attending Cleveland State University.

In an interview last month, his widow said it is fitting that Jon Busch should be buried in Arlington. “He gave his life for his country, and he should be buried with the highest honors,” she said. Besides, it is what he wanted, she added. “If something happens, I want to be buried in Arlington,” he told his wife as he left for Vietnam in November 1966.

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