Norman Dale Eaton

United States Air Force
11 August 1925 - 28 June 1978
Weatherford, Oklahoma
Panel 35W Line 082

The database page for Norman Dale Eaton

13 Jan 2004

On the 35th anniversary of my father's loss over Laos, together with his navigator Paul Getchell , I honor both of them for their courage, bravery and dedication to this great country.

God bless them both.

Frank Eaton
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5 Nov 2004

I wore Colonel Norman D. Eaton's bracelet for two years. I was in Junior High at the time and could only afford one bracelet. I wore it proudly. Throughout the years I wondered if he'd ever been found. I wrote to the White House and received a letter back saying there wasn't any information on him as yet. Thank you for posting this website. At least now I know.

God Bless.

Veronica Hass

13 Nov 2004

I also wore a POW-MIA bracelet bearing the name of Col. Norman D. Eaton in high school. I sold POW bracelets and distributed literature about VIVA (Voices in Vital America) during my college years to raise money for this cause. One day, the newspaper published a list of MIA's who were officially declared dead. Col. Norman D. Eaton was on that list. Even though I never met him, I wept for him and his family, and buried his bracelet in my backyard. A few months ago, I discovered his name on the Virtual Wall and learned about him. All those years, and I never knew what the "D." in his name stood for. But I knew what he stood for: freedom, America, and honor. I ordered a new POW bracelet with his name engraved on it, and I proudly display it with my POW "holy bear" in my car window. I will always remember the sacrifice he made for America and our people, and he and his family will always be in my prayers.

Joyce Carpenter

31 Jan 2005

I proudly wore Colonel Eaton's MIA bracelet for two years, beginning in 1971, when I was thirteen. Two years ago, I had the privilege of finding his name on the Moving Wall, the half size replica of the Washington D.C. Vietnam Veterans Memorial, when it came to St. Louis. What an intensely moving symbol of the ultimate sacrifice made by so many individuals and their families.

Last week, my thirteen year old daughter was in Washington, D.C. on a school trip. When they visited the Vietnam Memorial there, she found his name, and brought home a picture of that section of the wall for me. Having this connection, via the MIA bracelet that I had worn, helped make Norman Eaton's sacrifice, and that of so many others, more relevant for her.

Kathy Sedovic
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10 Apr 2005

I am in the United States Navy and recently was on a recovery mission for MIAs in the Peoples' Democratic Republic of Laos. It was my honor and privilege to be a part of the noble effort to bring the fallen heroes home. Captain Getchell and Colonel Eaton are a part of my life, a reminder of why I joined the service. From being there and taking part, I know that the young men and women who continue to bring those who are missing home will not stop or be deterred until they are all home.

God Bless our Fallen Heroes and those who return them home to us.

From one of many who work to bring them home.

05 Apr 2007

I also wore a POW bracelet with Colonel Eaton's name on it. I found it a box of keepsakes several years ago and did some research on the bracelets and the Memorial Wall. I posted a comment on another website in 2004 and on a trip to Washington in 2005 I left the bracelet at the Wall. I recently received a message from his son Frank Eaton with the following info:

"I am happy to report that in December 2006, the USAF advised us that they confirmed that bone fragments recovered in Laos matched my father's DNA. A full military funeral at Arlington is scheduled shortly."

Thankfully, for his family the wait is over. I only hope that we continue with our search for the missing till they are all returned home.

Renae Gromatzky

03 May 2007

Welcome Home, Colonel Eaton

From another Vietnam Veteran,
Dennis Vanill
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29 May 2007

To the Eaton Family,

I have been in prayer for Colonel Eaton since the 8th grade at the same junior high which produced this great hero. May his family know that he was an inspiration to all of his fellow Weatherford, Oklahoma natives and especially the school children. He and his family were mentioned in prayer in our high school renunion this past weekend and we are forever grateful for his service to make our country free.

Dennis Kelly
Weatherford Oklahoma High Class of 1972
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04 Jul 2007

Today I had time on my hands. I was grateful for the beautiful Fourth of July and looking forward to spending the evening with my daughters for the celebration. I had a quiet moment to sort through all my old jewelry when I came upon a bracelet that I bought in high school to honor one of the POW-MIAs of Vietnam. The bracelet bore the name of Col. Norman Eaton. I had bent the bracelet to fit my wrist, and I remember wearing it in hopes that somehow the man behind the name would be found.

Today I looked up his name on the Internet. I read today that it was just this year that Colonel Norman Eaton's remains were identified, and that his funeral with honors took place on Wednesday, April 25th. I never realized how much it would mean to finally find out that he was found and what happened to him. I never knew that I would feel so much sorrow. It was a privilege to be able to wear a bracelet with his name and I am thankful for his sacrifice to this country. I pray that someday we will not have to lose any more of our loved ones in war. To know that Colonel Eaton's family can finally have him home makes this Fourth of July even more special.

Patti Barila-Wilmot
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A Note from The Virtual Wall


On 13 Jan 1969 Lt Col Norman Dale Eaton, pilot, and Capt Paul E. Getchell, bombardier, flying a B-57B (tail number 52-1561), were lost on a night interdiction mission about 10 miles south of the western end of the A Shau Valley in Savannakhet Province, Laos. Although the aircraft was seen going down in flames, there were no signs that the crew ejected and no contact was made with them on the ground.

Lt Col Eaton was promoted to Colonel while in MIA status. On 28 June 1978 the Secretary of the Air Force approved a Presumptive Finding of Death for Colonel Eaton, changing his status to "Died while Missing". The remains of the two men have not been repatriated.

Norman Dale Eaton was a member of the United States Military Academy Class of 1949. The photo is taken from the USMA 1949 yearbook, The Howitzer.

While there have been press reports regarding the excavation of the crash site, including mention of the recovery of possible human remains and Col Eaton's dog tag, as of 10 Apr 2005 the Department of Defense has not announced the positive identification of either Col Eaton's or LtCol Getchell's remains.

Airmen Missing In Action From Vietnam War Are Identified

April 24, 2007

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are Col. Norman D. Eaton, of Weatherford, Okla., and Lt. Col. Paul E. Getchell, of Portland, Maine, both U.S. Air Force.Eaton will be buried April 25 at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington, D.C., and Getchell will be buried later this spring at Arlington.

On Jan. 13, 1969, Eaton and Getchell crewed a B-57B Canberra bomber participating in a nighttime attack on targets in Salavan Province, Laos.The target area was illuminated by flares from a C-130 aircraft; however, the flares dimmed as the B-57 began its third bombing run on the target.The crew was low on fuel, but decided to continue the attack run without illumination.The C-130 crew received a radio transmission indicating that the B-57 was off target and seconds later, the plane crashed.Eaton and Getchell could not be recovered at the time of the incident.

In 1995, a joint U.S.-Lao People's Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), investigated the incident and interviewed a Laotian citizen who recalled the crash.Another joint U.S.-L.P.D.R. team surveyed the site and found wreckage and crew-related materials consistent with the citizen's report.

In 2003, a joint U.S.-L.P.D.R. team excavated the crash site and recovered Eaton's identification tag.The team was unable to complete the recovery and subsequent teams re-visited the site five more times between 2004 and 2005 before the recovery was complete.As a result, the teams found Getchell's identification tag, human remains and additional crew-related items.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of the remains.

Arlington National Cemetery
Wednesday, April 25, 2007

. . .
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The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his son,
Frank Eaton
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 16 Jan 2004
Last updated 10/11/2007