Name: William Henry Ostermeyer
Here is His story!
William's Story! The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around. Capt. Lonnie P. Bogard, had celebrated his birthday the day before he was assigned a night low-level reconnaissance mission along the Ho Chi Minh trail on May 12, 1972. Bogard was the pilot, and 1Lt. William H. Ostermeyer the electronics officer comprising the crew of an F4D Phantom. The mission went according to plan until after a scheduled mid-air refueling, after which radio contact was lost with the aircraft. At last contact, Bogard and Ostermeyer were near the Ban Karai Pass in Savannakhet Province, Laos. The Ban Karai Pass was one of several passageways through the mountainous border of Vietnam and Laos. American aircraft flying from Thailand to missions over North Vietnam flew through them regularly, and many aircraft were lost. On the Laos side of the border coursed the "Ho Chi Minh Trail", a road heavily traveled by North Vietnamese troops moving materiel and personnel to their destinations through the relative safety of neutral Laos. The return ratio of men lost in and around the passes is far lower than that of those men lost in more populous areas, even though both were shot down by the same enemy and the same weapons. This is partly due to the extremely rugged terrain and resulting difficulty in recovery. The U.S. Air Force placed Bogard and Ostermeyer in the category of Missing in Action. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) further refined that category to include the likelihood of enemy knowledge, classifying Bogard and Ostermeyer as Category 4. Category 4 includes those individuals on whom no intelligence exists to support the belief that the enemy knew details of the loss, or individuals whose loss time and location are unknown. The families of Bogard and Ostermeyer understood that the two could have been captured by either Pathet Lao forces or North Vietnamese, and waited for the war to end. When peace agreements were signed, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger informed the families of the men prisoner and missing that their men would soon come home. When asked specifically if the agreements included all countries (Vietnam, Cambodia, China and Laos), Kissinger replied, "What do you think took us so long." When 591 American prisoners were released in the spring of 1973, it became evident that Kissinger had lied to the families. No prisoners held by the Chinese, Lao or Cambodians were released, even though the Pathet Lao had stated on a number of occasions that they held "tens of tens" of Americans. Kissinger had not negotiated for these men. In Laos alone, nearly 600 Americans are Prisoner of War or Missing in Action. Since 1975, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans still missing in Southeast Asia, convincing many authorities that hundreds of Americans are still held in captivity. Lonnie Bogard and William Ostermeyer could be among them. It's time we brought our men home. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to keep pushing this issue inside the Beltway... The need to get specific answers is more important now than ever before. If still alive, some MIAs are now in their 70s...They don't have much time left. We have to demand the answers from the bureaucrats and keep standing on their necks (figuratively speaking) until they get the message that THEY work for US and that we are serious about getting these long overdue responses. Diplomatic considerations aside... We can no longer allow questionable protocols established by pseudo-aristocratic armchair strategists, to determine or influence the fate of the men who were in the trenches while the diplomats were sharing sherry and canapes and talking about "Their Plans" for the future of SE Asia. If you'd like to see what some others are doing in addition to writing their congressmen, senators and the Whitehouse, check out some of these sites: http://hawk.nji.com/~mred/mialist.htm Another remarkable site is by an 11 year old angel who never even set foot on American soil...She not only put up a page...she started a major project for an organization of Kids on the Net called KeyPals International. Her MIA page is at http://www.geocities.com/~angelicdevil/mia.html but don't miss her Bring Grandpa Home page at http://www.worldkids.net/clubs/kci/projects/Bring.html. If you come away from that site without a lump in your throat, then you just weren't paying attention.
Source: Compiled by
Homecoming II Project 30 April 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency
sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published