Panel 12 W · Line 22
Major Dennis Gerard Pugh was born on February 10, 1944 in Hutchinson, Kansas. He attended grade school at New Cambria, KS and high school in Salina, KS, where he graduated in 1962. He attended Boy's State in Wichita and went to the University of Kansas for one year before being appointed to the United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs.
Pugh graduated from the Academy in 1967 and attended UCLA where he completed his master's degree in qualitative analysis-mathematical methods. From UCLA, Pugh went to Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento where he took navigator's training. He attended Combat Crew Training and Survival schools before he went overseas.
On September 15, 1969, Pugh was sent to Ubon, Thailand, to fly F4's, something he had always dreamed of doing. While flying as weapons/systems officer on a Forward Air Controller mission on March 19, 1970 with Captain Richard A. Rash, Pugh, aboard an F-4D on a combat mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in the Khammouane Province, Laos, received hostile ground fire and ejected from their aircraft in an area approximately 15 kilometers south of Mu Gia Pass. He and his pilot ejected safely from the aircraft. Rash was injured, but Pugh was in good shape.
Airborne search and rescue forces established contact with both of them on the ground but were unable to recover them due to darkness. The next day SAR forces reestablished contact with Pugh who reported that hostile forces were within ten meters of his position. He requested the SAR forces place ordnance on his position and he then held down the transmit key on his radio. Then excited Asian voices were heard followed by 15 or 20 shots being fired followed by silence. Ordnance was placed on his position as he requested and there was no further contact from him.
Rash was rescued on March 21st and reported hearing the sound of small arms fire from Pugh's location after which he lost radio contact with him. Further efforts to locate Pugh were unsuccessful and he was declared missing in action.
Returning U.S. POW's had no information on the eventual fate of Pugh. He was later declared killed in action, body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death.
In 1984, U.S. intelligence received information from a source describing the shoot down of an aircraft in which one pilot was rescued and one was taken prisoner. This report was believed to possibly correlate to this loss incident although Rash and the SAR pilots believed Pugh had died.
There has been no future word of Major Dennis Pugh. His family has worked to obtain more information on him since he went missing. As there is increasing evidence that Americans are alive in Southeast Asia, Pugh's family wonders if he is still alive.
Pugh was posthumously promoted to Major.
(This information was received from the P.O.W. NETWORK)
"Moving Wall" - Panel 12W
This panel is from the original "Moving Wall" and lists approximately 1,300 names from about 54 days of combat. The panel was acquired by Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 809. It was donated to St. Johns Military School at the request of the Pugh family.
"The Moving Wall" is the half-size replica of the Washington, DC Vietnam Veterans Memorial and has been touring the country since 1984. The "Moving Wall" was originally built by Vietnam Combat Veterans Ltd. members John Devitt, Norris Shears, and Gerry Haver.
When the Wall comes to a town, it brings people out from all over. It's about remembering 58,000 people who died in service to their country.