Paul Everett Getchell

Lieutenant Colonel
United States Air Force
12 October 1936 - 21 March 1979
Portland, Maine
Panel 35W Line 082

7TH AF B-57 Canberra 8TH BOMB SQD
USAF Navigator/Bombardier

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Paul Everett Getchell

10 Nov 2002

You are greatly missed by all.

From a distant relative and MIA Bracelet wearer,

29 May 2006

On this Memorial Day, we honor all who have answered freedom's call, including you. The silver band around my wrist, the daily reminder of your suffering - of your family's suffering - will always be a reminder. You will not be forgotten. As long as the metal stays wrapped around my arm, and the arms of those who bear America's heros, we'll never forget.


13 Jan 2004

Paul was my Dad's navigator on January 13, 1969 when they both perished. It has been 35 years to the day since that tragic incident. I thought it fitting to remember them both this day and their heroism and dedication to this great country.

From Dale Eaton's son and a friend of Paul's family,
Frank Eaton

7 Feb 2004

Thanks to the family of Paul Getchell for giving us this HERO.

I have an orginal silver bracelet with Paul Getchell's name on it that my Mother wore for many many years. She kept it close to her after she could no longer wear it. I have it now and keep it where I can see it and daily I give thanks and say a prayer for all of those who died, those who are still missing and those who by some miracle made it home. They are all true and lasting Heros.

I have been to 3 traveling Walls and every time I visit Paul Getchell and obtain a rubbing. Just my way of honoring this fallen Hero.

Cherry Smith
9529 Vicksburg Drive, El Paso, Texas 79924

17 Sep 2004

I have had a POW/MIA bracelet for Major Paul Getchell since about 1971. I have recently started to wear it again and I was sad to read about his missing status resulting in his death.

Julie Jackson Solomon

24 Mar 2005

I received Major Paul Getchell's bracelet in the early 1970s. I wore it every day for several years. I recently got it out of my jewelry box to show my sons. I never knew what happened to him, but was hoping he survived. I am proud to have worn his bracelet and am also proud of what he did for his country.

Lana Dicus

09 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 in their efforts until they are all home. God Bless our Fallen Heroes and those who will return them home to us.

From one of many who help to bring closure to the families of those who have fallen.
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

17 May 2005

I wore Major Getchell's silver MIA bracelet in the late 70's, while I was in high school. I recently visited the Wall in Washington, D.C. and sadly for me, did not have the panel number on which his name appeared. I am sad to learn that his MIA status has changed and that there has not been a recovery of his remains. I am forever grateful for his unselfish sacrifice.

T. (Giambattista) Griffin
Portland, Me 1975-1981, Now In Storrs, Ct

25 Sep 2005

I received my POW bracelet in 1971 when I was in Girl Scouts. They told us we were to wear our bracelet until ALL POW's/MIA's were accounted for or brought home. Since that day in 1971, I have been proud to wear Maj. Paul E. Getchell's name around my wrist.

Although the bracelet has been replaced twice due to wear and tear, it has been a part of me and my life for 34 years (I even insisted it not be removed during surgery, and they taped it to my arm).

The sacrifice of his and his family is enormous. God bless and thank you.

Kristie D. Knerr
E-Mail will be forwarded by the

13 Jan 2007

Uncle Paul,
you are never far from our thoughts,
especially on this anniversary.

From his niece.

08 Apr 2007

My name is John Murray and I am the General Manager of Jillian's in Boston, MA. We recently found a silver bracelet honoring LtCol Paul E. Getchell. No one has come to claim it yet but we are keeping it protected in our safe. If you may know the person this belongs to, please alert them to its whereabouts. We would love for the bracelet to find its owner again!

John Murray

07 Mar 2007

Paul was a close friend in Vietnam. He was my navigator for several months and we were roommates. Paul and I had many adventures together, not only in aerial combat but on the ground as well. As an example, late one night, while awaiting refueling at Chu Lai Marine Base, the VC cut us off from the rest of the base as they attacked the main flight line. We survived.

Paul was articulate with a perceptive mind, and he was well informed on many subjects. Our conversations ranged from religion to world affairs. But we always ended talking about our wives and children.

Paul disappeared a week after I returned home in January 1969. I later visited his wife in Massachusetts. As I approached their home, one of his children asked his Mother, "Is that man bringing Daddy home?" Sadly, Paul did not come home, but he is fondly remembered by those who knew him. He was someone who stood head and shoulders above everyone else.

Michael Patterson

25 Mar 2007

I have Paul Getchell's niece as a history teacher and recently went to the Vietnam Memorial to photograph his name for her. I know that she is touched by people who honor his memory. I keep him in my memory and my prayers.

Debra McGrath

01 Jun 2007

I watched a local news story tonight about the remains of a soldier being laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery today. They said the name of the soldier was Lt Col Paul E Getchell. That's "my guy" on the MIA bracelet I've had for 37 years. I haven't worn it for a very long time, but have had it in a safe for years. I didn't need to have it on to remember the name that is engraved in my heart and mind. I live in Mount Vernon, Maine, so I was surprised to find out he was a Portland, Maine boy. Thank you to the family of Lt Col Paul E Getchell for your sacrifice ... and his. God Bless you.

Laurie Wyman

07 Aug 2007

I wore Paul's bracelet for many years starting around 1970 I believe. Once the internet started to thrive, I would occasionally check to see if I could find any information on him. Until today, all I knew is he was flying with Dale Eaton in a B-57B and was unaccounted for as of January 13, 1969.

Although I was very saddened to read of his recent identification, I hope this brings some closure to his family and all who knew him. He was a true hero who served his country and, even though I never met him and many years have passed, will always be a very personal hero to me.

Scott Hiestand

28 Feb 2008

I am obviously a bit behind on the news... It is now February 2008. I typed in LtCol Getchell's name in my computer tonight. Something I have done periodically over the last several years.

I remember the day I received my bracelet, while on active duty in the Air Force, stationed at Keesler AFB. It is a name I have never forgotten. A date, a time and a place that is etched word for word in my memory, without having to look at my bracelet.

It was a random draw out of the bracelet box and I felt it was fate that he was from New England. I grew up in Massachusetts.

I can't begin to tell you the emotion I felt tonight knowing that he is home. As tears flow for a man I never knew, I am so thankful that he is now at peace.

Rest in Peace, LtCol Getchell. Thank you for your service to our Great Nation. Your sacrifice will never be forgotten.

Welcome Home!

Arline Grant
USAF Veteran,

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.

The Secretary of the Air Force approved a Presumptive Finding of Death for Lt Col Paul Getchell on 21 March 1979. Although there have been press reports regarding crash site excavations, as of 25 May 2005 the Defense Department has not announced recovery of the two crewmen.

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.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
a distant relative and MIA Bracelet wearer,

Top of Page

Virtual Wall icon

Back to
To alpha index G
ME State Index . Panel 35W

With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 10 Nov 2002
Last updated 03/15/2008