Samuel Larry James

United States Air Force
24 July 1945 - 11 April 1975
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Panel 01W Line 117

USAF Navigator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, and Vietnam Campaign medals
Captain S L James

The database page for Samuel Larry James

10 Mar 2001

I have worn Captain James' MIA/POW bracelet for over 23 years. I have visited the Moving Wall at Fort Hood, Texas, several times and honored his name. Our MIA/POW servicemen are the real forgotten heros. I would be honored to return Captain James' bracelet to his family if they wish.

Thank you to Captain James, for when I was serving in the Army there were many times I sat on lonely outposts on the East/West German border, the DMZ in Korea, and during Desert Storm and have been reminded why I was there at those times just by feeling your bracelet on my arm.

Never again shall we leave our own behind!

Dennis Biehl
8014 W. Hwy 84, #1097, Waco, Texas 76712

12 Mar 2005

I have proudly returned Captain James's bracelet to his family, I'm sorry it took so long. God bless them and all the service men and women who have fought, served, sacrificed and who are serving now in harm's way, and God bless their families.

Dennis Biehl
1700 Breezy #285, Waco, Tx 76712

20 Feb 2007

I have also worn Captain James' MIA/POW bracelet for over 12 years. It has provided me inspirational motivation multiple times through three deployments to the 'desert' during my USAF career.

When I first purchased the bracelet I did some research to find his story, but hadn't updated myself on it in some time. Recently, I took the time to visit this site and get an update on his story. Unfortunately I was unaware of all that occured between 1997 and 1999.

His story had once again affected me significantly. His and his family's sacrifice continues to motivate me in my service to our great country. I will continue to wear his bracelet as an honor to that sacrifice.

I hope this message finds his family well. God bless!

Captain Steven L. Watts II
2130 Mobeetie Trail, San Antonio, Texas 78245

Notes from The Virtual Wall

Captain Douglas K. Martin (pilot) and Captain Samuel L. James (weapons system officer), flying F-4E 67-0281, were marking a target in Cambodia with a smoke rocket on April 18, 1973. Radar contact was lost with the aircraft during the mission and no radio contact was made with the crew. Wingmen observed no explosion or parachutes, and no emergency radio signal "beepers" were heard. The wingmen did not see the plane go down, but they did observe a new swath cut through dense jungle nearby.

A subsequent 700-square-mile search was conducted for the aircraft. During the search for Martin and James, aerial photographs were taken of a probable crash site which revealed an ejection seat, wing debris and one main landing gear.

From the
POW Network Site

The Aftermath

In 1999, remains identified by the Government as those of Captains Martin and James were returned to the United States. Captain Martin's widow and the widow and daughter of Captain James accepted the identifications and the remains were interred, with honors, in a common grave at the United States Air Force Academy (both men were graduates of the USAFA). However, Captain James' parents and sister did not accept the identification as conclusive.

Captain Samuel Larry James is remembered by his sister Barbara at

A 10 May 2000 article in the Chattanoonga (TN) Times & Free Press read as follows:

Defense Official Searching for POWs, MIAs
by Clint Cooper
Staff Writer

Robert Jones says in looking for missing servicemen that a tooth filling is as good as a fingerprint.

Working with just such body and bone fragments, Mr. Jones' Department of Defense office was responsible in 1999 for identifying and returning the remains of 67 U.S. servicemen who had been listed as missing in action.

Mr. Jones, deputy assistant secretary of defense for prisoners of war and missing persons, was in town Tuesday to address JROTC cadets at Red Bank High School and observe their yearly awards ceremony. He came at the request of Red Bank senior ROTC instructor James Penny, who was his close friend when they were in Special Forces together during the Vietnam War.

A combat veteran himself, Mr. Jones knows the importance of closure for families of missing servicemen.

"We will do everything we possibly can to bring them home," he said.

Sam James of East Brainerd wishes he could believe that.

Mr. James' son, Air Force Capt. Samuel Larry James, was piloting a two-man F-4 when he was shot down on a bombing raid to Cambodia on April 18, 1973. He was listed as missing until 1999, when the government informed Mr. James that bone fragments and three teeth had been found and identified as his son's.

Mr. James requested DNA proof, but the Air Force turned him down.

"They said they had all the proof they needed," Mr. James said.

The remains of Capt. James were subsequently buried at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., after authorization was given by his former wife. Mr. James, his wife and their daughter did not attend. Today, the Jameses fly a prisoner of war flag and an American flag in their yard. They cling to the hope their son's body will be found.

"We're saying they did not prove to us that it was him," said Mr. James, himself a veteran of World War II.

Mr. Jones said he understood the Jameses' plight, but he said the next of kin has primary responsibility for direct disposition of remains.

"There's a difference of opinion," he said. "It's one of the terrible things we're confronted with. We understand the emotionalism and the difficulties it causes. We respect that. We really do."

Mr. Jones' office lists 78,000 servicemen missing from World War II, 8,216 from the Korean War, 124 from the Cold War and 2,028 from the Vietnam War.

The assistant secretary says it is the country's "moral obligation" to do its utmost to bring home the remains of as many as possible.

© Chattanooga (TN) Times-Free Press
10 May 2000
Reproduced under 17 USC �107

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his MIA bracelet,
Dennis Biehl
1700 Breezy #285, Waco, Tx 76712

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 10 Mar 2001
Last updated 11/13/2010