Mark Lane Stephensen

United States Air Force
29 May 1930 - 21 August 1975
Salt Lake City, Utah
Panel 18E Line 116



USAF Command Pilot

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

The database page for Mark Lane Stephensen

28 May 2002

COL Mark L Stephensen, USAF, MIA/KIA
Remains returned April, 1988
Command Pilot, RF-4C, Udorn RTAFB
Hometown: Riverton, Utah

My father was a loving husband, brother, son and father. We still miss him terribly. There are times when I wonder if this nation is worthy of his sacrifice.

My sister, Kyler, wrote an eulogy, saying in part, "He died defending democracy at a time when it was considered hypocrisy."

He has 5 grandchild whom he has never seen. He has 2 daughters-in-law and a son-in-law, none of whom will know his sense of humor.

They do know, from us, his children, his sense of duty and honor.

My family and I are forever indebted to the National League of POW/MIA Families whose courage and persistence facilitated his return to the nation he loved to be buried with full military honors as he was promised.

May God bless my father and may God Bless America.

Mark L. Stephensen II, son
846 Dogwood Place, Eagle Id 83616

30 Jun 2003

My father was a hero.
Let no man or woman say otherwise.
He gave his life for me and for you.
Do not forget that very important fact.
My father was larger than life.
He remains so to this day.
I miss him deeply even after 36 years.

Please do not forget this brave and heroic man who was loved by a caring and patient wife and four bright children who knew that their husband and father knew where his duty lie. He loved us and he loved his country. He is greatly missed.

Take care to inform those whom you love that you love them dearly because there may not be a second chance. Enjoy your freedom and remember who gave their life so that you could enjoy freedom.

Never forget.

Thanks, Dad.

Written by Kristen Rathbun, loving daughter.
God bless you and God bless America.

4626 West Second Street, Greeley, CO 80634

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On 29 April 1967 Air Force F-105 bombers from the bases in Thailand staged another strike against the bridges at Hanoi. Although all of the bombers returned safely to base, two of their supportiung aircraft were less fortunate.

Four F-4C Phantoms from the 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Danang had been tasked to provide combat air patrol for the heavily laden F-105s. One of the F-4s, tail number 64-0670 flown by 1st Lt Loren H. Torkleson and 1st Lt George J Pollin, was hit by antiaircraft fire about 15 miles west of Hanoi. Torkleson ejected and was captured; he came home on 4 March 1973. Pollin either could not eject or was killed during or after ejection. He came home in 1990.

Post-strike reconnaissance was conducted by an RF-4C (tail number 65-0872) of the 11th Tac Recon Squadron from Udorn RTAFB, scheduled to arrive over target after nightfall. As the RF-4C approached Hanoi it was locked up by a surface-to-air missile control radar. The pilot, Major Mark L Stephensen, took the only possible action: he descended to minimum altitude and began evasive maneuvers to break radar lock. As the aircraft popped over a ridgeline it flew through several treetops with enough violence so the backseater, 1st Lt Gary R Sigler, immediately ejected. As Sigler swung in his parachute he saw the RF-4 hit a hillside; he did not see Major Stephensen eject. Sigler was captured after two days on the run; he too came home on 4 March 1973. Major Stephensen's remains were repatriated in April 1988 and positive identification was announced on 29 July 1988.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009