Vietnam MIA’s Memorial Day Tribute 2011
On Nov. 12, 1969, Dennany and Tucci were flying the number three aircraft of three F-4Ds escorting an AC-130 gunship on a night strike mission over Laos. After the gunship attacked six trucks and set two of them on fire, the AC-130 crew’s night vision equipment was impacted by the glow from the fires. They requested that Tucci attack the remaining trucks. At a point near Mahaxay village in Khammouane Province, about 30 miles east of Nakhon Phanom, the aircraft flown by Tucci and Dennany was struck by hostile fire during the attack, gunship crew members observed anti-aircraft artillery gunfire directed at F-4D followed by a large explosion. No radio transmissions were heard from the F-4D following the attack and no parachutes were seen in the area. An immediate electronic search revealed nothing and no formal search was initiated due to heavy anti-aircraft fire in the area.
Beginning in the mid-1990s analysts at DPMO and the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) developed case leads they collected from wartime reporting and archival research.
In 1994, a joint U.S.-Lao People's Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team led by JPAC analyzed leads, interviewed villagers, and surveyed five reported crash sites near the record loss location with negative results.
In 1999, during another joint survey, officials in Ban Soppeng, Laos, turned over remains later determined to be human, two .38 caliber pistols and other crew-related equipment that villagers had recovered from a nearby crash site. They recovered aircraft wreckage, human remains, crew-related equipment and personal effects.
JPAC scientists used forensic tools and circumstantial evidence in the identification of the remains.
The pilot was USAF Major Robert Leon Tucci, 27, of Detroit, Michigan, is survived by his wife; Sharon Tucci and his mother, Jean Tucci. Tucci graduated from pilot training at Webb AFB, March 17, 1967. During his first tour of duty in Vietnam, Tucci had flown 181 missions from Da Nang Airfield in South Vietnam.
The Weapons Systems Officer was Air Force Colonel James Eugene Dennany, 34, of Kalamazoo, Mich., is survived by four daughters; Elizabeth, Melissa, Marie, Pamela and a son; James Dennany.
Interment at DFW National Cemetery, on January 14, 2011. Ceremonies conducted by USAF Honor Guard, Color Guard, Firing Squad, Missing Man Flyover and Bugler.