ALWAN, HAROLD JOSEPH
Name: Harold Joseph Alwan
Rank/Branch: O4/US Marine Corps
Unit: VMA 121, Marine Air Group 12
Date of Birth: 04 August 1934
Home City of Record: Peoria IL
Date of Loss: 27 February 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 150500N 1085100E (BT930320)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 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.
SYNOPSIS: Harold Alwan graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1956.
There, he was involved in ROTC and graduated as a second lieutenant in the
Marine Corps with an engineering degree. He decided to make his career as a
Marine pilot, and served on bases in Quantico, Virginia and Cherry Point,
North Carolina before he was assigned to Vietnam as a Major.
On February 27, 1967, Alwan was on a one-man, one-aircraft mission when his
plane disappeared over South Vietnam. Alwan had just completed an aircraft
test and had checked in for a helicopter escort mission. Alwan's family was
given three locations of loss, two over land and one over sea, where Alwan's
plane went down. The Pentagon was not sure, having no witnesses, what
happened and where. The Defense Department now lists the official location
of loss as over the South China Sea, just southeast of the city of Quang
Ngai in Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam.
For three days following the crash of the aircraft, however, an emergency
radio beeper signal was heard. Alwan's was the only plane missing in the
vicinity, and his family is certain the beeper was Alwan's.
Alwan's family identified a prisoner of war in Hanoi from a Christmas
propaganda film released by the Hanoi government. The U.S. Government
identified the same photo as a returned POW (although they declined to give
his name), yet later provided the same photo to Alwan's family as an
unidentified POW who was never released from Hanoi.
Harold Alwan's family hopes that he died in the crash of his plane in 1967.
They cannot endure the thought that he has been held prisoner all these
years knowing he was willingly abandoned by the country he so proudly
served. They have resolved themselves to accept whatever truth they are able
to learn about Alwan, but that truth is not forthcoming--from either the
U.S. Government or the Vietnamese.
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