John Franklin Stuart

Lieutenant Colonel
United States Air Force
26 July 1933 - 08 August 1978
Indianapolis, Indiana
Panel 01W Line 097

B-52 Stratofortress

307th Strategic Wing
USAF Senior Pilot

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

The database page for John Franklin Stuart

A memorial from
Robin A. Lawson
5 May 2001

On the night of 20/21 December 1972 99 B-52s from U-Tapao RTAFB and Guam conducted bombing raids on a number of targets in North Vietnam. Six of the B-52s and one supporting Navy A-6 were shot down.

LTC John F. Stuart's B-52 (tail number 56-0622) first received minor damage from a MiG fighter and then was hit by at least one surface-to-air (SAM) missile northeast of Hanoi. Two of the six men aboard the aircraft were able to bail out, were captured, and later released (Captain T. J. Klomann and 1Lt P. L. Grainger); the other four died in the crash (LTC Stuart, Major R. A. Perry, Captain I. S. Lerner, and MSgt A. V. McLaughlin).

Two of the six B-52s were able to make it to Laos or Thailand before the crews had to abandon their aircraft; the other four B-52s and the A-6A went down in North Vietnam. At dawn on 21 December, eleven B-52 crewmen had been picked up but there were 26 B-52 and two A-6A aircrew missing in action.

Even when the POWs were released in February and March 1973, the situation wasn't fully clarified. Eleven live POWs were released (9 B-52, 2 A-6A) and the remains of LTC Keith R. Heggen, who died after capture, were repatriated. The North Vietnamese denied knowledge of the remaining 16 men, who were continued in MIA status.

The seven aircraft and the ultimate disposition of their aircrews by tail number were

  • B-52G 57-6496, 72nd Strat Wing, Guam: 2 killed in action, 4 POWs
  • B-52G 57-6481, 72nd Strat Wing, Guam: 6 survived (Thailand)
  • B-52D 56-0622, 307th Strat Wing, U-Tapao: 4 killed in action, 2 POWs
  • B-52D 56-0669, 43rd Strat Wing, Guam: 1 killed in action, 5 survived (Laos)
  • B-52G 58-0198, 72nd Strat Wing, Guam: 4 killed in action, 2 POWs released, 1 POW died
  • B-52G 58-0169, 72nd Strat Wing, Guam: 5 killed in action, 1 POW
  • A-6A 155594, VA-196, USS Enterprise: 2 POW
The Secretary of the Air Force approved a Presumptive Finding of Death for LTC John Stuart on 08 August 1978, changing his status from Missing in Action to Died while Missing. Similar action was taken for the other missing men. While the remains of some have been repatriated, John Stuart and one of his crewmates - SMSgt McLaughlin - have not yet come home (24 Dec 2004; check the PM-SEA Lists for current status).

Additional information is available on the
POW Network

01 August 2001

He is sadly missed and always in our thoughts - a terrific and gallant pilot.

He always insisted on every mission -
"Remember, I can't leave until all of you guys leave."
LTC Stuart was a very brave man.

God Bless him, always. Regards to his family.

26 Jul 2004

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand,
and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee, Jr
Pilot Officer, Royal Air Force
Killed in flight 11 Dec 1941, aged 19

Larry R. DeLong
307th Strategic Wing Staff
U-Tapao RTNAB, Thailand 1971-72
E-mail address is not available.
20 December 2002

With the deepest respect for John's family and his closest friends, with the highest honor for John, Paul L. Granger, Thomas J. Klomann and those crewmen who are still missing with him, I must tell the following event as I believe that John gave it to me to do so.

I "saw" John for the first time on October 26, 2002. I awoke early that morning after experiencing the most vivid dream in my life.

I awoke that morning around 6:00 A.M. from a vivid dream about an American POW in Viet Nam, in a camp situation. I have never had a dream about POW's before and was very taken by the clarity of the scene. I was looking down into the camp where there were a number of men and guards; one of the men looked directly at me and let me know his name was John Stuart. I also saw a building with a very tall smoke stack surrounded by jungle. The rank of LT and the year 1968 were also etched in my mind. The picture of a factory in the jungle seemed so strange as my picture of Viet Nam was quite different. I got up immediately and started looking at POW sites on the web. As I know now, LTC John F. Stuart was on a bombing mission between Hanoi and Haiphong as part of Operation Linebacker II when his plane was shot down.

I found John's bio and other memorials to him from Robin Lawson and Larry DeLong on The Virtual Wall site. Larry's remembrance of John's comment before every mission - "Remember, I can't leave until all of you guys leave." - is now a part of my daily thoughts of this great man who I never knew but who is now a part of my life forever.

Paul L. Granger's and Thomas J. Klomann's vivid accounts of their mission on 20 December 1972 remind us all of the sacrifices all of these men have made for our freedom.

I put up the POW/MIA flag for John F. Stuart today and for his crew members who are still missing:

  • Arthur V. McLaughlin
  • Irwin S. Lerner and
  • Randolph A. Perry Jr.
because John wants us to remember ... they all want to come home.

Robert F. Blahnik
Korat RTAB, Thailand 1971-72

23 Dec 2004

From a son who will never forget his father's love. His family misses him dearly, he was taken from us too soon. The wound has never healed. Our lives have been lost, since he has been gone. I have always had the most respect for him and others who have fallen.

Please: If there is someone that knew him, or was a crew member, I would like to correspond.

With love and respect for my father,
Joseph Bryan Stuart
Senior Aircraft Tech

A Note from The Virtual Wall

B-52D tail number 56-0622 carried six men. Their status as of 24 Dec 2004 follows:
  • Major John F. Stuart, pilot; remains not repatriated
  • Major Randolph A. Perry, radar navigator; remains identified 13 Jan 2004
  • Captain Thomas J. Klomann, navigator; released POW
  • Captain Irwin S. Lerner, Electronic Warfare officer; remains identified 30 Oct 2003
  • 1st Lt Paul L. Granger, co-pilot; released POW
  • CMSgt Arthur V. McLaughlin, Jr, gunner; remains not repatriated

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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