Robert Douglas Hauer
Missing In Action
|SYNOPSIS: The Cessna O2 served as a stopgap replacement for the O1 until the North
American AV10A arrived in Vietnam. The Bird Dog had lacked adequate armor, and so
did the O2. The O2, however, had greater range and double the number of target
marking rockets as the Bird Dog, making it more desirable for its intended missions.
The O2A served a number of forward air controllers in Southeast Asia. Either flying
along or carrying a second crewman, these pilots searched out targets, marked them,
determined the location of friendly troops, and directed air strikes. Their missions
frequently brought them over enemy troops at low altitude and slow speeds, making
them vulnerable to ground fire.
1Lt. Robert D. Hauer was the pilot of an O2A on a mission over South Vietnam on
September 5, 1970. At a point about 25 miles west of the city of Nha Trang in Khanh
Hoa Province, Hauer's aircraft went down and he was listed Missing in Action.
The Defense Intelligence Agency further expanded Hauer's Missing in Action class-
ification to include an enemy knowledge ranking of 4. Category 4 indicates "unknown
knowledge" and includes individuals whose time and place of loss incident are unknown
(e.g. aircrew members downed at unknown locations or ground personnel separated from
their unit at an unknown time or place), and those individuals who do not meet the criteria
of Categories 1 and 2 ("confirmed" and "suspect" knowledge).
Hauer is one of nearly 3000 Americans who remained unaccounted for at the end of
the Vietnam War. Of this number, many remains have been returned, and others have
been otherwise accounted for. In early 1990, 2309 remained unaccounted for.
Since American involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, nearly 10,000 reports relating
to Americans missing, prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in Indochina have been
received by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having examined this largely classified
information, have reluctantly concluded that many Americans are still alive today, held
captive by our long-ago enemy.
Whether Hauer survived the crash of his aircraft to be captured by the enemy is not
known. It is not known if he might be among those thought to be still alive today. What
is certain, however, is that as long as even one American remains alive, held against his
will, we owe him our very best efforts to bring him to freedom.