Name: Morgan Jefferson Donahue
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 606th Special Operations Squadron, Nakhon Phanom, Thailand
Date of Birth: 02 May 1944
Home City of Record: Alexandria VA (family in FL & CT)
Date of Loss: 13 December 1968
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 170100N 1055900E (XD055824)
Status (In 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel in Incident: On C123K: Douglas Dailey; John Albright; Joseph Fanning; Samuel Walker; Fred L. Clarke (all missing); On B57B: Thomas W. Dugan;Francis J. McGouldrick (all missing)
REMARKS: MID AIR COL-1 PARA OBS
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.
SYNOPSIS: On December 13, 1968, the crew of a C123K was dispatched from Nakhon Phanom Airfield located in northern Thailand near the border of Laos on an operational mission over Laos. The C123 was assigned night patrol missions along the Ho Chi Minh trail. Flying low at 2000-3000 feet, the job of the seven man crew was to spot enemy truck convoys on the trail and to light up the trails for accompanying B57 bombers which were flying overhead.
The crew on this particular mission included the pilot (name unknown); 1Lt.Joseph P. Fanning, co-pilot; 1Lt. John S. Albright, navigator; 1Lt. Morgan J.Donahue, navigator; SSgt. Samuel F. Walker, SSgt. Douglas V. Dailey, TSgt. Fred L. Clarke, crewmembers. At 0330 hours, as the aircraft was flying about 30 miles
southwest of the Ban Karai Pass in Laos, the crew of the C123 were jolted by a blow on the top of their plane in the after section. An overhead B57 that had
been called in for an air strike had collided with the control plane. The C123 lost power and went out of control. The pilot, stunned by a blow to the head,
The plane did not fall straight to the ground, but drifted lazily to the ground in a flat spin which lasted several minutes. When the pilot regained consciousness, he noted that the co-pilot (Fanning) and navigator (Donahue)were gone. Donahue's station was in the underbelly of the plane where, lying on his stomach, he directed an infared detection device through an open hatch. The pilot parachuted out, landed in a treetop where he remained until rescued at dawn. On the way down, he saw another chute below him, but,because of the dark, was unable to determine who the crew member was.
Intelligence reports after the incident indicate that Donahue, at least, safely reached the ground near Tchepone, but suffered a broken leg. A refugee who escaped captivity in Laos in 1974 reported having observed an American prisoner brought to the caves near Tchepone, where he was held, in the period between 1968 and 1970. This American was later moved to another locatation unknown to the refugee.
Several reports referring to "Moe-gan" and others describing Donahue as the American called the "animal doctor" were received over the years since war's end. In June and August, 1987, the Donahue family was given intelligence reports tracking Morgan's movements from a POW camp in Kham Kuet, Khammouane Province, Laos in the spring of 1987 to another camp in the Boualapha District of the same province in August 1987. These reports were mere WEEKS old, yet the U.S. marked them "routine". One of them gave Morgan's aircraft type and serial number, which turned out to be, instead of the serial number of the aircraft, Morgan's father's ZIP CODE. Morgan's family believes this is clearly a signal to them from Morgan.
The crew of the C123K are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many of these men were alive on the ground. The Lao admitted holding American prisoners but these men were never negotiated for. Where are they? Are they alive? Imagine the torture the Donahue family endures knowing Morgan is alive, yet helpless to do anything to help him. What are we doing to help bring them home?
(John S. Albright II and Morgan J. Donahue graduated in 1967 from the United States Air Force Academy)
If I knew it would be the last time that I'd see you fall asleep, I would tuck you in more tightly and pray the Lord, your soul to keep.
If I knew it would be the last time that I see you walk out the door, I would give you a hug and kiss and call you back for one more.
If I knew it would be the last time I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise, I would video tape each action and word, so I could play them back day after day.
If I knew it would be the last time, I could spare an extra minute or two to stop and say "I love you," instead of assuming, you would know I do.
If I knew it would be the last time I would be there to share your day, well I'm sure you'll have so many more, so I can let just this one slip away.
For surely there's always tomorrow to make up for an oversight, and we always get a second chance to make everything right.
There will always be another day to say our "I love you's", And certainly there's another chance to say our "Anything I can do's?"
But just in case I might be wrong, and today is all I get, I'd like to say how much I love you and I hope we never forget, Tomorrow is not promised to anyone, young or old alike, And today may be the last chance you get to hold your loved one tight. So if you're waiting for tomorrow, why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes, you'll surely regret the day, That you didn't take that extra time for a smile, a hug, or a kiss and you were too busy to grant someone, what turned out to be their one last wish.
So hold your loved ones close today, whisper in their ear, Tell them how much you love them and that you'll always hold them dear, Take time to say "I'm sorry," "please forgive me," "thank you" or "it's okay".
And if tomorrow never comes, you'll have no regrets about today.
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