Air Force Crew Killed In Vietnam
22 February 1969
Colonel, United States Air Force
Charles Macko was born on January 15, 1931
and joined the Armed Forces while in Endicott, New York.
Colonel, United States Air Force
Donald Elmer Paxton was born on October 3,
1928 and joined the Armed Forces while in Cedar rapids, Iowa.
Photo By M. R. Patterson
Remains Identified 09/08/00
Name: Donald Elmer Paxton
Rank/Branch: O5/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 03 November 1928
Home City of Record: Cedar Rapids IA
Date of Loss: 22 February 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 163200N 1061600E (XD351297)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: Charles Macko (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 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.
SYNOPSIS: In mid-February, 1969, U.S. Defense policy for response on U.S. operations in Laos was, "The preferable response to questions about air operations in Laos is 'no comment'." We "weren't" in Laos. The B57 Canberra was one of the aircraft used by the U.S. Air Force to bomb the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The Canberra first came to the Vietnam theater at the time of the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964. It proved too vulnerable and difficult to repair for working targets over North Vietnam, but proved effective in the armed reconnaissance Trail operations of Operation Steel
Tiger. The Canberra was sometimes used in conjunction with other, more sophisticated aircraft, such as the C130, and was especially effective on night missions.
Lieutenant Colonel Donald E. Paxton and Major Charles Macko were in Laos. Paxton was the pilot and Macko the co-pilot of a B57 bomber sent on a mission over Savannakhet Province, Laos, on February 22, 1969. During the mission, the aircraft was shot down and both men were declared Missing In Action.
Macko and Paxton are two of nearly 600 Americans
who disappeared in Laos during the Vietnam War. Although Pathet Lao leaders
stressed that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, they stated
that those captured in
The U.S. did not include Laos in the Paris Peace Accords, and no Americans held in Laos were released. In America's haste to leave Southeast Asia, it abandoned its finest men. Since the end of the war, the U.S. has received thousands of reports convincing many that hundreds of Americans are still held captive today. In seeming disreguard for the Americans either held or having been murdered by the Pathet Lao, by 1989, the U.S. and the Lao devised a working plan to provide Laos with humanitarian and economic aid leading toward ultimate full diplomatic and trade relations while Laos allows the excavation of military crash sites at sporadic intervals. In America's haste to return to Southeast Asia, we are again abandoning our men.
Charles Macko and Donald E. Paxton were both
promoted to the rank of Colonel during the period they were maintained
The number of Americans missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War is now 2,005.
Today, the Department of Defense released the names of eight of nine US per sonnel now accounted for, six previously missing in Laos and three inVietnam.
These Americans include Commander Leonard M. Lee of Virginia and Lieutenant Commander Roger B. Innes of Illinois, both US Navy, missing in North Vietnam since December 27, 1967.
The Defense Department did not publicly release Commander Lee's name at the request of his next-of-kin; however, members of Commander Lee's family were quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch September 4th edition regarding his identification.
Others include Lieutenant Colonel Donald E. Paxton of Iowa and Major Charles Macko of New York, both US Air Force, missing in Laos since February 2, 1969; Captain Stephen P. Hanson of California, 1st Lt Jon G. Gardner of North Carolina and Sgt Timothy R. Bodden of Illinois, USMC, and Army GySgt Billy R. Laney of Florida, all missing in Laos since June 3, 1967; and Army CWO1 William A. Smith, Jr., of Michigan, missing in South Vietnam since September 2, 1968.
PAXTON, DONALD E
Posted 9 November 2002 Updated: 29 March 2003 Updated: 23 October 2004 Updated: 23 June 2006 Updated: 11 July 2009