TSgt. Patrick Shannon
DOB: 23 February 1935
Hometown of Record: Owasso, OK
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Welcome home Tech. Sgt. Shannon:
Airman laid to rest after missing for 40 years
Tinker Honor Guard members bear the remains of Tech. Sgt. Patrick Shannon during April 15 funeral services in Oklahoma City. Hundreds gathered to show respect to the Airman who disappeared in 1968 during the Vietnam War. (Photo by Becky Pillifant)
After being listed as missing in action for the past 40 years, the family of Tech. Sgt. Patrick Lee Shannon laid his remains to rest April 15 in Oklahoma City. “It was a honor for me to be there in service of Tech. Sgt. Shannon’s family, and honor him for his service and his sacrifice to his country,” said Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Clouse, 72nd Air Base Wing. Tinker’s Honor Guard provided military honors and a T-37 single ship flyover from Vance Air Force Base also participated in the funeral service.Approximately 700 people attended the service including family, friends and a motorcycle group composed mostly of Vietnam veterans. “Unfortunately, there were times in our nation’s history when our veterans didn’t return to this warm of a homecoming,” Chaplain Clouse said. “Sadly some veterans didn’t get a hero’s welcome at all and America has taken great strides to try and heal the wounds of these veterans. “It’s taken time but our nation has recognized the price that these veterans paid even though they may not have agreed in principle to United States involvement.”Chaplain Clouse added that Sgt. Shannon being laid to rest here Saturday symbolically honors veterans in all services whether they were Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines or Coast Guardsmen.Sgt. Shannon enlisted in the Air Force in January 1954. After graduating from basic military training, he was trained as an auto track radar specialist. In 1966, Sgt. Shannon volunteered for a sensitive assignment to Lima Site 85 in Laos. Lima Site 85 was on a peak in the Annam Highlands near the village of Sam Neua on a 5,860-foot mountain. The mountain was protected by sheer cliffs on three sides, and guarded by 300 tribesmen working for the Central Intelligence Agency. U.S. personnel operated the radar, which swept across the Tonkin Delta to Hanoi. According to the military account of his disappearance, the site was overrun by enemy forces on March 11, 1968, causing the Americans to retreat to the relative safety of a narrow ledge part way down the mountain. The U.S. embassy in Vientiane, Laos, ordered the evacuation of the mountain.Under the protective cover of A-1 Sky raiders, U.S. helicopters successfully evacuated all but 11 men. From 1994 until 2004, Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command conducted 11 investigations. During one investigation, several mountaineer-qualified JPAC specialists scaled down the cliffs where they recovered remains and personal gear on ledges. Sgt. Shannon’s remains were identified among these by DNA.“It’s not our fighter jets or our artillery that make our military strong,” Chaplain Clouse said. “It is the strength, the commitment, and the idealism of our Airmen like Tech. Sgt. Shannon that have and will continue to make this nation strong.”(Tinker Takeoff, Vol. 64, Issue 16, April 21, 2006)
DPMO NEW RELEASE - SHANNON ID
Air Force Sergeant MIA From Vietnam War Is Identified (Shannon)
Release No: 05-006
Dec. 7, 2005
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Tech. Sgt. Patrick L. Shannon of Owasso, Okla. Funeral arrangements are yet to be set by his family.
Shannon and 18 other servicemen operated a radar installation atop Pha Thi Mountain in Houaphan Province, Laos, approximately 13 miles south of the border with North Vietnam. The site, known at Lima Site 85, directed U.S. bombing missions toward key targets in North Vietnam.
In the early morning of March 11, 1968, the site came under attack by a force of North Vietnamese commandos. The enemy force had scaled the sheer mountainsides in the hours before the attack and overran the site. During the attack, some Americans made their way down to ledges, but survivors reported that several were killed.
Several hours later, U.S. aircraft attacked enemy positions around the site, enabling helicopters to rescue eight of the 19 Americans, though one of the survivors died en route to a base in Thailand. Later that day, and for four additional days, U.S. air strikes bombed the site to destroy technical equipment left behind.
Beginning in 1994, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) began interviewing witnesses in both Laos and Vietnam to gather information on the fates of the Americans. Some of those interviewed were villagers who lived near the site, while others were former enemy soldiers who carried out the attack. In 2002, one of the enemy soldiers stated that he helped throw the bodies of the Americans off the mountain after the attack as they were unable to bury them on the rocky surface.
Between 1994 and 2004, 11 investigations were conducted by both JPAC and unilaterally by Lao and Vietnamese investigators on both sides of the border. During one of the investigations, several mountaineer-qualified JPAC specialists scaled down the cliffs where they recovered remains and personal gear on ledges. JPAC and Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory scientists used mitochondrial DNA and other forensic techniques to identify the remains as those of Shannon.
Of the 88,000 Americans unaccounted-for from all conflicts, 1,812 are from the Vietnam War. Another 771 Americans have been accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the war. Of the Americans identified, 199 are from losses in Laos.
For additional information on the Defense Department’s mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO web site at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.