Major Eugene Lacy

Major Eugene Lacy Wheeler
US Marine Corps
VMO 2, MAG 11
DOB: 30 January 1937
Ashville, OH
Missing in Action, 21 April, 1970,
South Vietnam


On April 21, 1970, Maj. Eugene L. Wheeler was the pilot of an OV10 aircraft on a mission in Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam near the border of Laos. During the flight, the aircraft was hit by enemy fire and shot down. Maj. Wheeler survived the shoot down and was on the ground alive and in radio contact with other Americans in the area.

An enemy patrol in the area neared Wheeler's position and commenced shooting. Wheeler's fate remains uncertain. The Marine Corps believes there is a good possibility that Wheeler survived to be captured, but that certainly, the Vietnamese could tell us what happened to him on that day.

When the war ended and 591 American POW's were released from Vietnam, Wheeler was not among them. The Vietnamese have denied any knowledge of him since that time.

Wall Rubbing

ov10-2.jpgThe OV10 Bronco was among the aircraft most feared by the Viet Cong and NVA forces, because whenever the Bronco appeared overhead, an air strike seemed certain to follow. Although the glassed-in cabin could become uncomfortably warm, it provided splendid visibility. The two-man crew had armor protection and could use machine guns and bombs to attack, as well as rockets to mark targets for fighter bombers. This versatility enabled the plane to fly armed reconnaissance missions, in addition to serving as vehicle for forward air controllers.

Mounting evidence indicates that some Americans are still alive being held prisoner of war in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese pledged to return all prisoners of war and provide the fullest possible accounting of the missing in the peace accords signed in 1973. They have done neither, and the U.S. has not compelled them to do so.

The United States government pledged that the POW/MIA issue is of "highest national priority" but has not achieved results indicative of a priority. Mitchell and the nearly 2500 Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia deserve our best efforts to bring them home, not empty rhetoric.