Steven Morris Hastings

Staff Sergeant
Army of the United States
11 October 1948 - 13 June 1974
Baldwin Park, California
Panel 50W Line 044


Army Aircrew

Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Steven Morris Hastings

21 Aug 2004

I will wear your bracelet until you come home.

12 Aug 2005

I've worn an MIA bracelet inscribed with your name since around 1973.
May you rest in peace.

Steven Jones-D'Agostino

13 Aug 2005

I flew with Steven Hastings and Donald Fowler. Donald often flew with me as Doorgunner. 1LT Peter Russell had just arrived at the 240th AHC from another unit -- I met him for the first and only time the evening of August 1, 1968.

These men definitely survived the crash. Documents I obtained from the National Archives refer to open first aid kits and unfastened seat belts.

"In April 1991 the US government released a list of Prisoners of War and Missing in Action who were known to be alive in enemy hands and for whom there is no evidence that he or she died in captivity. This list, commonly referred to today as the USG's "Last Known Alive" list, included all three of the missing crewmen from Mad Dog 36."

I too wear the MIA bracelet bearing the name Steven Morris Hastings.

Freedom is not Free!

We must never forget these brave soldiers!

From a friend who served in 240th AHC and wears Steve's Bracelet,
Morris Miller

25 Jul 2007

Hi all ... I didn't really know Steven M. Hastings - but he is my uncle. I am very honored to wear my uncle's bracelet and to be in his family. Thanks to everyone.

Emma Hastings

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On 01 Aug 1968 a UH-1C (tail number 66-15154) of the 240th Assault Helicopter Company was flying a combat support mission when it inadvertently entered instrument conditions. Although the crew tried to home on the command and control aircraft's radio, contact was lost. Search and rescue efforts failed to locate the wreckage and the four crewmen were classed as Missing in Action.

Three years later, on 06 Aug 1971, woodcutters came across the wreckage of a helicopter and notified authorities. A recovery team visited the crash site on 21 Aug 1971, identified the aircraft as 66-15154, and recovered remains identified as CWO William Fernan. Nothing was found of the other crewmen, and the condition of the aircraft led the Army to believe they survived the crash - but they were never located and they did not return with the POWs in Feb/Mar 1973. After the US withdrawal, the Secretary of the Army approved Presumptive Findings of Death for the three men on the dates shown in parentheses below:

  • CWO William Fernan, Seattle, WA, pilot; remains recovered 08/21/1971
  • CPT Peter J. Russell, New York, NY, copilot (10/31/1973)
  • SP6 Donald R. Fowler, Athens, GA, gunner (11/17/1975)
  • SSG Steven M. Hastings, Baldwin Park, CA, crew chief (06/13/1974)
Their remains have not been repatriated.

The "Last Known Alive" list mentioned by Mr. Miller is greatly misunderstood. What became the "LKA list" began development after President Ronald Reagan appointed Gen. John W. Vessey, Jr., US Army (Ret), in 1987 as the President's Special Emissary to Vietnam on the POW/MIA issue. At General Vessey's direction, a list of 380 MIA personnel was compiled in order to provide a focus for U.S. field investigations in Vietnam. The list was expanded in November 1989 (the "Vessey II" list), and has been further expanded as field investigation arrangements in Laos and Cambodia have been agreed with those governments.

As stated, the original purpose of the Vessey lists was to identify cases in which the Vietnamese government could be expected to have knowledge of what happened to the missing serviceman, thereby focusing recovery efforts on cases likely to produce results. On 01 December 1992 Senator Bob Smith, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, released a list which included many (but not all) of the men carried in the "Vessey II" list. It is this listing which generally is called the "Last Known Alive" list.

Many of the men included in Smith's LKA list really were known to have been alive on the ground after being shot down, or had been identified by released POWs as having been captured alive. A number of others, though, fall into the same category as the three MIAs from 66-15154 - in their case, evidence as cited by Mr. Miller above led to the conclusion that one or more of the three men survived the crash. It would be misleading to conclude that their inclusion on the Smith list represents proof positive that they survived without major injury, that they were captured alive, or that the present governments of Vietnam, Laos, or Cambodia know what happened to them.

In example, on 19 April 1966 Air Force 1stLt Lee A. Adams was shot down over North Vietnam while flying F-105D tail number 62-4330. Other pilots in Adams' flight watched as he failed to pull out of his bomb run, crashed, exploded, and burned. There was no evidence that Adams survived the crash - no radio contact, no sighting of a parachute, nothing - but he still ended up on the LKA list. Adams was included in the Smith list based on hearsay, second hand reports of his survival provided by POW returnee Michael Brazelton. In 1993, during the first of a series of investigations which continued until November 2004, a bone fragment was recovered which reportedly came from the body of a pilot who died in the crash of his aircraft. Mitochondrial DNA analysis led to the positive identification of the bone fragment as the mortal remains of 1stLt Adams, an identification made public on 17 March 2005.

On the other hand, when LtCol Robert D. Anderson and 1stLt George F. Latella were shot down on 06 Oct 1972 (F-4E 69-7548) two good parachutes were spotted by other aircrew and radio contact was made with LtCol Anderson after he was on the ground. 1stLt Latella was captured and released four months later. Nothing more was heard of LtCol Anderson until his remains were repatriated on 13 Sep 1990 (with positive identification announced on 22 Oct 1998). LtCol Anderson certainly fits the description of "last known alive".

There is good reason to believe CPT Russell, SP6 Fowler, and SSG Hastings survived the crash of 66-15154. There is some circumstantial evidence that one of the three may have been captured. Anything beyond that is speculation - in truth, there is no hard evidence of what became of the three men.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet. 

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 21 Aug 2004
Last updated 03/05/2008