Help our POWs and MIAs
COTTEN, LARRY WILLIAM
Name: Larry William Cotten
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 19 March 1945
Home City of Record: Nashville TN
Date of Loss: 09 March 1970
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 152029N 1071429E (YB406972)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: Lothar G.T. Terla (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 1990
from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S.
Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews.
SYNOPSIS: 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. Lothar Terla was an F4 pilot assigned to the 4th
Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn Airbase, Thailand.
On March 9, 1970, he was assigned an operational mission
which took him over Attopeu Province, Laos. His
bombardier/navigator on the flight was 1Lt. Larry
When the aircraft was about 10 miles southeast of
Chavane, it was hit by enemy fire and crashed. An
electronic search was made of the area to locate the
crash site and any survivors, but none were found.
The crashed aircraft was later found, and it was
determined that Cotten and Terla could not have
survived the incident. This determination was made
on unspecified information which was received by the
Department of the Air Force.
The Air Force believes that Cotten and Turla did not
survive. They are listed among the missing because
their remains were never found. They are among nearly
600 Americans who were lost in Laos. Since the U.S.
did not recognize the communist government faction
which captured and held Americans in Laos, no
negotiations were conducted to secure their freedom.
Consequently, not a single American held by the Lao
was ever released.
Tragically, many authorities believe there are hundreds
of Americans still alive in captivity in Southeast Asia
today. What must they be thinking of us? What will our
next generation say if called to fight if we are unable
to bring these men home from Southeast Asia?