EATON, NORMAN DALE
Name: Norman Dale Eaton
Rank/Branch: O5/US Air Force
Unit: 8th Tactical Bomber Squadron, Phan Rang Airbase
Date of Birth: 11 August 1925
Home City of Record: Weatherford OK
Date of Loss: 13 January 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 161600N 1064800E (XD936005)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: Paul E. Getchell (missing)
Source: Compiled 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 in 1998.
SYNOPSIS: The B57 Canberra was a light tactical bomber that played a varied
role in the Vietnam conflict. A veteran of operations Rolling Thunder and
Steel Tiger, B57's from the 8th Tactical Bombing Squadron at Phan Rang,
South Vietnam had also been equipped with infared sensors for night strike
operations in Tropic Moon II and III in the spring of 1967.
Col. Dale Eaton was the pilot and Capt. Paul E. Getchell the co-pilot of a
B57 Canberra light bomber which was lost in Savannakhet Province, Laos on
January 13, 1969. The aircraft was apparently struck by hostile fire at
about 50 miles southeast of the city of Muong Nong. (NOTE: Although the B57
model on which Eaton and Getchell were flying is not noted in any available
records, based on the history of the aircraft and the nature of warfare in
Laos, it is likely that the two were aboard either one of the later G models
- assigned to night intruder missions - or the RB57E model - assigned to
Although no parachutes were observed by other aircraft in the area, a
forward air controller (FAC) reported hearing a faint beeper in the
approximate area where the last radio transmission was received.
Both men were declared Missing In Action and classified in "Category 2",
which indicates the strong possibility that the enemy knew their fate. There
are nearly 600 lost in Laos. They were not negotiated for in the Paris Peace
accords, nor have they been negotiated for since, and as a consequence, not
one man held in Laos was ever released.
There are nearly 2500 Americans who remain missing in Southeast Asia.
Intelligence and refugee reports from the region continue to mount that
there are still Americans in captivity in Southeast Asia. Dale Eaton and
Paul Getchell could be among them. It's time we brought our men home.
Norman Dale Eaton is a 1949 graduate of West Point.
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