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Missing Vietnam War veteran’s items returned to family after 50 years (photos)

Items belonging to Capt. Fielding Wesley Featherston III, were returned to his family in a ceremony in Veterans Park in Mentor, Ohio on Wednesday morning, August 5, 2020. Fielding, along with Doug Ferguson, was aboard one of five F4D aircraft on a mission into the Plaine des Jarres region of Laos on December 30, 1969, when the plane was hit by enemy fire and went down. The items were found in a warehouse in Cleveland. Featherston's son, is handed the briefcase belonging to his dad by Tech Sergeant Victor Walker from Wright Paterson AFB. (David Petkiewicz/ cleveland.com/TNS)

Items, and medals, belonging to Fielding Wesley Featherston III were returned to his family, more than 50 years after his plane went down in Laos, during a ceremony in Veterans Park in Mentor on Wednesday morning.

The items were returned to Featherston’s son, Fielding Wesley “Wes” Featherston IV, after they were found in a warehouse in Cleveland and ultimately ended up in the office of Congressman Dave Joyce’s office. Devin Wilgus, Rep. Dave Joyce’s Wounded Warrior Fellow, was instrumental in finding the Featherston family and making arrangements to get the items back to the family.

Items belonging to Capt. Fielding Wesley Featherston III, were returned to his family in a ceremony in Veterans Park in Mentor, Ohio on Wednesday morning, August 5, 2020. Fielding, along with Doug Ferguson, was aboard one of five F4D aircraft on a mission into the Plaine des Jarres region of Laos on December 30, 1969, when the plane was hit by enemy fire and went down. The items were found in a warehouse in Cleveland. (David Petkiewicz/ cleveland.com/TNS)

Rep. Joyce spoke to the family before before two members of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Honor Guard presented to Featherston IV, who then came up to speak.

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“We were glancing through some of the stuff, it was not stuff we had seen before as a family,” said Featherston as he addressed the small gathering of people.

Items belonging to Capt. Fielding Wesley Featherston III, were returned to his family in a ceremony in Veterans Park in Mentor, Ohio on Wednesday morning, August 5, 2020. Fielding, along with Doug Ferguson, was aboard one of five F4D aircraft on a mission into the Plaine des Jarres region of Laos on December 30, 1969, when the plane was hit by enemy fire and went down. The items were found in a warehouse in Cleveland. Featherston’s son, Wes
(David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com/TNS)

“It’s going to be really great to go through it and look at some of the other stuff that we have not seen before,” he added.

Items belonging to Capt. Fielding Wesley Featherston III, were returned to his family in a ceremony in Veterans Park in Mentor, Ohio on Wednesday morning, August 5, 2020. Fielding, along with Doug Ferguson, was aboard one of five F4D aircraft on a mission into the Plaine des Jarres region of Laos on December 30, 1969, when the plane was hit by enemy fire and went down. The items were found in a warehouse in Cleveland. (David Petkiewicz/ cleveland.com/TNS)

The senior Featherston was aboard one of five F4D aircraft on a mission into the Plaine des Jarres region of Laos on December 30, 1969. Their ship was hit by enemy fire and exploded in a fireball. There were no parachutes seen, nor were emergency radio “beeper” signals heard that day by other aircraft. Also lost in the incident was Douglas D. Ferguson, and the two are part of the more than 600 Amercans considered lost in Laos during the Vietnam War according to a press release.

Items belonging to Capt. Fielding Wesley Featherston III, were returned to his family in a ceremony in Veterans Park in Mentor, Ohio on Wednesday morning, August 5, 2020. Fielding, along with Doug Ferguson, was aboard one of five F4D aircraft on a mission into the Plaine des Jarres region of Laos on December 30, 1969, when the plane was hit by enemy fire and went down. The items were found in a warehouse in Cleveland. (David Petkiewicz/ cleveland.com/TNS)

The release also stated that voluminous evidence exists that Americans still survive, captive, in Indochina. Until serious steps are taken to resolve the fate of these men, the families of Ferguson and Featherston must wonder if their men are alive, abandoned by their country.

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© 2020 The Plain Dealer