Name: David Thomas Dinan III
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 22 January 1944
Home City of Record: Nutley NJ
Date of Loss: 17 March 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 192258N 1033658E (UG558448)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident:
Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Copyright 1991 Homecoming II Project.
The contrast between fighter and attack squadrons in Vietnam was not as striking as in previous wars. Fighter pilots have long held the attention of aviation enthusiasts and the American public, a fondness dating back to the days of the dramatic exploits of the Red Baron in World War I. But attack pilots, except for brief moments of public glory--the Korean War film, "The Bridges at Toko-Ri," is one notable example--have been relegated to plodding unnoticed in the aviation trenches to conduct an unglamorized and relatively under-publicized air-to-mud business.
Vietnam, however, was an air-to-ground war. There were a considerable number of duels in the skies over North Vietnam and the exploits of MiG killers have been well documented. But those aerial duels were just a thin slice of the air-war pie. Fighter pilots, not wanting their talents to go to waste, also flew air-to-mud.
1Lt. David T. Dinan III was a pilot from the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Airbase, Thailand. On March 17, 1969, Dinan was assigned a combat mission which took him over Laos.
During the mission, Dinan's aircraft was hit by enemy fire and he ejected. His parachute was shredded when it hit trees, however, and he sustained what were believed to be fatal injuries from falling through the trees and down an embankment. Dinan was declared Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.
Dinan is among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Some, like Dinan, are believed to be dead. Many, however, are known to have been alive on the ground following their shoot downs. Although the Pathet Lao publicly stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, not one American held in Laos has ever been released. Laos did not participate in the Paris Peace accords ending American involvement in the war in 1973, and no treaty has ever been signed that would free the Americans held in Laos.