Episode 2552 of the Vietnam Veteran News Podcast will feature a story about Vietnam War U.S. Air Force pilot COL Ernest Leo De Soto whose earthly remains were returned home after a 54 year absence. The featured story was recommended for inclusion on this podcast by Andy Pham, a good friend of this podcast.
The featured story appeared on KTVU FOX 2 of Oakland and was titled: Vietnam War pilot’s return to home after 54 years. It was submitted by Tom Vacar.
Vacar reported a missing Vietnam veteran was interred in his final resting place, having been missing for more than a half-century. His 90-year-old wife and their adult children welcomed him home at SFO Thursday and bid farewell Friday in a place of honor.
On April 12, 1969, De Soto was piloting an F-4D Phantom II assigned to the 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 336th Tactical Fighter Wing, alongside his navigator, Capt. Frederick M. Hall and another aircraft on a combat mission. As they returned from a cancelled strike mission near Quang Nam Province, Vietnam, both aircraft ascended into heavy cloud cover. The lead aircraft noticed De Soto and Hall’s plane wasn’t in sight and immediately began an aerial search.
A search and rescue airborne mission located De Soto’s crash site, with no sign of the crew. Unfortunately, the amount of hostile activity in the area prevented a ground investigation.
In March 2021, remains were recovered at the crash site by Defense POW/MIA-trained Vietnamese Recovery Teams. On March 23, 2023, the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency identified the remains as belonging to De Soto and Hall.
U.S. Air Force pilot COL Ernest Leo De Soto was a brave American who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country. RIP.
Listen to episode 2552 and discover more about the Vietnam War U.S. Air Force pilot COL Ernest Leo De Soto whose earthly remains were returned home after a 54 year absence.