Washington, D.C.--U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) received news from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) that it had made progress on locating and identifying the possible wreckage site of Filer, Idaho, native First Lieutenant (Lt.) Frank P. “Bud” Hayes. The DPAA is the agency primarily responsible for conducting research and recovery efforts for America’s prisoners of war (POW)s and missing in action (MIA).
“While there are still no guarantees that the crash site being explored by the DPAA will yield positive identification of Lt. Hayes and his co-pilot, Lt. Jack Leonard, the Agency’s recent discovery is a positive step forward in the hope of bringing them home,” said Crapo. “No effort to bring home America’s missing servicemembers is easy, but every one of those efforts is critical to respecting their service and supporting military families. I continue to pray that the ongoing search will allow Lt. Hayes’s family to return him back home to Idaho and finally lay him to rest peacefully.”
“Along with our extended family, we have been in touch with co-pilot Jack Leonard’s family. On behalf of the Hayes and Leonard families we are all extremely grateful for the incredible dedication and invaluable assistance Senator Crapo and his office have provided over the years. And we are proud of the work of DPAA in locating the aircraft with hopes of soon bringing our loved ones home for full hero military honors,” said Carla Grabert-Lowenstein, Lt. Hayes’ niece.
Image of First Lieutenant Frank “Bud” P. Hayes provided courtesy of the Hayes family
At the end of World War II, Lieutenant Bud Hayes was on a PBY-Catalina, a “flying boat,” retrieving an Army reconnaissance unit off the coast of the Philippines when his aircraft was hit by a rogue wave, broke apart and sank. He, his co-pilot and another soldier are still classified as unaccounted for. Hayes and his emergency rescue team, during the final years of WWII, rescued over 700 downed airmen.
The DPAA recently shared an update with Senator Crapo’s office indicating that a DPAA partner had conducted an underwater research in May of this year and may have discovered Lt. Hayes’s wreckage. Senator Crapo and his staff have been in regular contact with the Hayes family since the Missing Air Crew Report (MACR) was found in Lt. Hayes’s Official Military Personnel File. The MACR provided crucial information to DPAA and served as a catalyst to the recently-completed mission. The Agency plans to return sometime in 2024 to conduct further analysis. Details of the of search and recovery mission are limited in order to protect the security and safety of the mission. Senator Crapo and his office acknowledge that while there is good news and hope on the horizon, recovery of the missing Idaho soldier is still not guaranteed.
Senator Crapo launched a social media campaign, #MilitaryMonday, on Veterans’ Day 2019 to honor Idaho’s veterans and servicemembers. He expanded his recognition to #MIAMonday this year to honor those still missing in action. This year’s campaign featured Lt. Hayes in February 2023.
Senator Crapo has made an enduring commitment to account for those missing, including his sponsorship of the Bring Our Heroes Home Act, which would eliminate obstacles preventing families and caseworkers from accessing the records needed for recovering America’s POWs and MIA.