Dennany, James Eugene, Col

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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
1525B-Aircraft Observer B-47
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1968-1969, United States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)
Service Years
1957 - 1969

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by James Dennany, Jr.-Family to remember Dennany, James Eugene (Vespa 03), Col.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address

Casualty Date
Nov 12, 1969
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery - Dallas, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
16W 063

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 Military Association Memberships
American Battle Monuments CommissionVietnam Veterans Memorial
  2010, American Battle Monuments Commission
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

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Navigator Observer (Senior)

 Unit Assignments
13th Tactical Fighter Squadron432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing7th Air ForceUnited States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)
  1968-1969, 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1968-1969, 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing
  1968-1969, 7th Air Force
  1968-1969, United States Pacific Air Forces (PACAF)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1965-1973 Vietnam War
 My Aircraft/Missiles
F-4 Phantom  
  1967-1968, F-4 Phantom
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Nov 12, 2014, Other/Notes/Link(s)
  May 19, 2019, General Photos1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
On the night of 11/12 November 1969 Captain Robert L. Tucci, pilot, and Major James E. Dennany, WSO, launched from Udorn RTAFB in F-4D tail number 66-8718 for a strike mission along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. While attacking a truck convoy under observation of a Forward Air Controller, Tucci's F-4 was hit by antiaircraft fire, crashed, and exploded. There was no evidence that the crew escaped the aircraft before ground impact and the crash itself was not survivable. In the absence of proof of death both men were classed as missing in action. Both were promoted while in that status.

An annual Air Force review board concluded that all evidence indicated the two had died in the crash, and the Secretary of the Air Force accepted their conclusion with respect to Major Tucci; his status was changed to Killed in Action 12 Nov 1969, Body not Recovered. Denanny was continued in MIA status until 21 June 1978, when the Secretary approved a Presumptive Finding of Death, changing Colonel Dennany's status to Died while Missing, Body not Recovered. As of 27 Oct 2005 their remains have not been repatriated.

Major Tucci was on his second tour of duty in Southeast Asia; he had flown 181 missions out of Danang on his first tour.


On 12 November 1969, Capt. Robert L. Tucci, pilot, and then Major James E. Dennany, navigator, comprised the crew of an F4D, call sign "Vespa 03." They departed Udorn Airfield as the #2 aircraft in a flight of 3 on a night escort/strike mission. Their mission identifier was "Steel Tiger," and the aircraft they were escorting was a C130 gunship. The target area was approximately 10 miles south of Ban Phan Hop, Khammouan Province, Laos.

After Vespa flight rendezvous with the gunship, the pilot of the C130 instructed them to attack two burning trucks in the target area and for them to make their bombing pass runs from north to south. At 0040 hours, Capt. Tucci radioed the other flight members that he was "in" on his attack run, then answered an instruction from the C130 within seconds of his "in" call. As Vespa 03 proceeded with its pass, the crew of the C130 saw 6 rounds of 37mm anti-aircraft artillery fire directed at the F4D followed by Vespa 03's CBUs (Cluster Bomb Units) detonating in the target area. An explosion and large fire were also observed about 500 to 1000 meters north of the target on level terrain.

Even though it was a clear night with stars clearly visible and the outline of the ground terrain could be seen, the crew of the C130 did not see Capt. Tucci's attack run and did not see the aircraft impact the ground. The C130 continued to orbit the area until 0100 hours, but could not establish contact with either of the downed crewmen. No formal search and recovery operation was initiated because of the lack of a valid target. Both Robert Tucci and James Dennany were immediately listed Missing in Action.



The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

Air Force Col. James E. Dennany (left) & Maj. Robert L. Tucci



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