Meetings are held on the 4th Wednesday of every month (19:30)
The chapter was dedicated to and named after fellow Dearborn Air Force Captain James Huard (AFTWS Profile 80522)
On 12 July 1972, 1st Lt. James L. Huard, pilot; and Capt. Samuel O'Donnell, Jr., weapons systems officer; comprised the crew of an F-4E, call sign was "Wolf 08," conducting an early morning single aircraft armed reconnaissance mission to interdict NVA troops and supplies moving across the Rao Nay River. Their mission sector was described as the Quang Khe Ferry Area, Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam.
At 0730 hours, Wolf 08 entered the target area. Capt. Huard immediately contacted the airborne battlefield command and control center (ABCCC) to obtain their first assignment. During this radio contact, which was also the last communication with Capt. Huard and 1st Lt. O'Donnell, the aircrew reported no problems with the aircraft or their mission assignment. Weather conditions in the target area included scattered clouds with bases ranging from 5,000 to 8,000 feet and visibility of 6 miles.
When the Phantom failed to return to Ubon Airbase by 0900 hours, the estimated time its fuel supply would have been exhausted, Wolf 08 was declared overdue.
According to one report provided to the men's families, during the subsequent SAR operation, one of the aircrew's involved in it reported he believed he heard a faint emergency signal emanating from a densely populated and heavily defended area south the Rao Nay River. However, no radio contact could be established with either James Huard or Samuel O'Donnell.
The families were also told that the Phantom "went down in a reservoir and that some time later when it was drained, the wreckage of the aircraft was found. However, when it was examined, no evidence that either crewman stayed with the aircraft and died in it was found." At the time the formal search was terminated on 15 July 1972, James Huard and Samuel O'Donnell were listed Missing in Action.
In 1988 the North Vietnamese unilaterally turned over three boxes reportedly containing the remains of American POW/MIAs. The three boxes were identified simply as "1988-230,1988-233 and 1988-234." At the same time, the North Vietnamese turned over Capt. O'Donnell's military identification card. These boxes were transported to the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CIL-HI) for examination.
CIL-HI personnel were able to obtain mt-DNA samples from the bone fragments in box 1988-230, but the DNA sequences did not match the DNA samples provided by Huard and O'Donnell families. The bone fragments in boxes 1988-233 and 1988-234 proved to be from the same person and subsequently combined under the identifier 1988-233. These remains did not include teeth or parts of teeth. The bones are fragmentary, but include portions of long bones that show signs of fracturing at the time of loss. Through mt-DNA comparison, the remains of James Huard were positively identified on 17 January 1997. They were returned to his family shortly thereafter for burial.
While the family of James Huard finally has the peace of mind of knowing where their loved one lies, there are no answers to the fate of Samuel O'Donnell. If he is also dead, he has the right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country. However, if he survived, there is no doubt he would have been captured and his fate, like that of other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, could be quite different.