Donald Emerson Shay, Jr

United States Air Force
16 March 1946 - 28 January 1981
Linthicum Heights, Maryland
Panel 07W Line 120



USAF Navigator

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

The database page for Donald Emerson Shay, Jr

20 Nov 2005

I am the proud owner and and wearer of an MIA bracelet with this young man's name on it.

I have been wearing this bracelet for 33 years. I received it as a gift for my 16th birthday from my best friend. I am now 49 years old. I have only removed it from my wrist twice in 33 years.

In those 33 years I can't tell you how many times I have been asked what kind of bracelet it was and why I was wearing it, mostly from young people who had no idea they even had bracelets honoring these fine men and women.

After explaining how I received it, I then would tell them why I'm still wearing it. Because this young man has still not been found, either dead or alive. And until his family is notified of his whereabouts, I will continue to wear it proudly.

So, even though I did not know this young man personally, I have probably spoken of him a couple hundred times. I look at this bracelet every day and still I wonder why there hasn't been any information received on his whereabouts. I can't even imagine what his family goes through every day, every holiday, every special event in their lives, knowing he could have been part of all this had it not been for that war.

But I know he went and served his country proudly and with dignity. I think this country owes all those men and women still left unaccounted for the decency of finding them or their remains so their families can have some sort of peace.

I thank you and this web site for allowing me to write this.

Thank you,
Debra-Ann Mailman
Manchester, NH

A Note from The Virtual Wall

On 08 Oct 1970 an RF-4C (tail number 68-0610) of the 14th Tac Recon Squadron launched from Udorn RTAFB on a twilight photo recon mission over southern Laos - and did not return. Search and rescue efforts failed to locate wreckage or crew, and both crewmen were classed as "Missing in Action". Eventually the Secretary of the Air Force approved Presumptive Findings of Death for the two men on the dates indicated below:
  • Col William A. Ott, Livermore, CA, pilot (06/21/1978)
  • Major Donald E. Shay, Linthicum Heights, MD, navigator (01/28/1981)
Their remains have not been 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