|Birth: ||Mar. 5, 1935|
Van Buren County
|Death: ||Nov. 12, 1969, Laos|
In Memory of ....... Col. James Eugene Dennany.
** Colonel James Dennany and Major Robert Leon Tucci have been found and are now being returned home to Texas and their families. There will be a full military service for Colonel James Dennany and Major Robert Leon Tucci on Friday January 14, 2011 at the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery.
** They will be buried together January 14 in the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
*** Colonel Dennany was a member of the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Udorn Airfield, Thailand. On November 12, 1969, he was the co-pilot of a McDonnell Douglas Phantom II Fighter (F-4D) on a mission near Mahaxay village, Khammouane Province, Laos about 30 miles east of Nakhon Phanom, when his aircraft was struck by hostile fire, crashed and exploded. His remains were recovered and identified on September 8, 2010. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.
You may be gone, no longer living on this earth; but you will live on - in the memories of your family and friends. There will always be a part of you living in those who knew you. You will live on because we remember you!
JAMES EUGENE DENNANY - Air Force - COL - O6
Age: 43 per "Wall" Actual - 33
Date of Birth Mar 5, 1935
From: MATTAWAN, MI
Religion: ROMAN CATHOLIC
Marital Status: Married - Jim left behind, a wife, Emily Hon Dennany (Married Aug. 22, 1956 in Brownsville,Tx)Born 1933 and Died 2002 in Brownsville, Tx. They had seven children.
Parents: Leo Joseph Dennany, birth: 8 January 1911, Kalamazoo, Michigan-death: April 12, 1954. Katherine M. Aleksich Dennany, birth: 9 February 1914, Bovey, Minnesota - death: 13 August 1997, Mattawan, Van Buren, Michigan.
Richard Joseph Dennany, birth: 24 October 1864 and death: 14 March 1938 and Mary Agnes McCaffery, birth: 8 January 1875 and death: 7 September 1955. AND Nicholas Aleksich and Katherine Pecharich Aleksich, Both born in Yugoslavia.
Maternal Grandparents: Marion Edward Hon & Pilar Padilla Hon. Marion Edward Hon, Born 1884 and Died Oct. 31, 1977 in Brownsville, Tx & Pilar Padilla Hon, Born 1900 and Died 1989. Their children are, Ann Hon 1921 - 1999, Alice Hon 1926 - 2007 FAG #28141425, Robert Hon 1923 - 2002, Sarah Hon 1931 - 2000, Emily Hon 1931 - 2002 and Marion E. Hon 1936 - 1992.
* Maternal Great Grandparents: James Hon and Emily Virginia Dwyer Hon. AND Apolonio Padilla and Antonia C. Padilla.
***** James E. Dennany Jr.
Humble, Texas 77338
To whoever writes about my Father, know it means a lot to my family. He died for his country. Because of this my Mother and six brothers and sisters lives' were changed. Something like this is healing and God Bless you!
***** Jim Dennany - son
Humble, tx., 77338, usa
to my Father
Know, that I always, think of you and cherish, your memory! Love, your son, Jim
***** United States Census, 1920
Name: Leo Dennany - YOUR DADDY..............
Titles and Terms: Jr
Event Type: Census
Event Year: 1920
Event Place: Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo, Michigan, US
Marital Status: Single
Can Read: Yes
Can Write: Yes
Relationship to Head of Household: Son
Birth Year (Estimated): 1911
Immigration Year: 1883
Father's Birthplace: Ireland
Mother's Birthplace: Michigan
Household Role Gender Age Birthplace
Richard Dennany Head M 55 Ireland
Mary Dennany Wife F 48 Michigan
Joseph Dennany Son M 26 Indiana
Mildred Dennany Daughter-in-law F 22 Pennsylvania
Richard Dennany Jr. Son M 25 Illinois
Margaret Dennany Daughter F 23 Illinois
Michel Dennany Son M 18 Michigan
Loretta Dennany Daughter F 16 Michigan
Francis Dennany Son M 14 Michigan
Walter Dennany Son M 11 Michigan
Leo Dennany Son M 9 Michigan - YOUR DADDY ........
Casualty was on Nov 12, 1969
In LZ, LAOS
Hostile, died while missing, FIXED WING - CREW
AIR LOSS, CRASH ON LAND
Body was not recovered
Panel 16W - Line 63
Other Personnel in Incident: Robert L. Tucci(missing)
Capt. Robert L. Tucci was the pilot, and Maj. James E. Dennany the co-pilot of an F4D Phantom fighter jet dispatched from Udorn Airfield in Thailand on November 12, 1969.
The two were assigned an operational mission over Laos.
Tucci and Dennany were assigned to the 13th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Udorn.
At a point near Mahaxay village in Khammouane Province, about 30 miles east of Nakhon Phanom, the aircraft flown by Tucci and Dennany was struck by hostile fire and seen to crash and explode on impact.
No parachutes were observed and no emergency beeper signals were heard.
Tucci and Dennany were not heard from again.
Mattawan war hero finally coming home: James Dennany, shot down over Laos in 1969, to be buried Friday
Published: Thursday, January 13, 2011, 8:30 AM Updated: Thursday, January 13, 2011, 5:42 PM
By Dave Person | Special to the Kalamazoo Gazette
James Eugene Dennany, a Mattawan native and graduate and Vietnam veteran listed as MIA in 1969 (later changed to killed in action in 1978) will at long last have a funeral ceremony on Friday, Jan. 14, in Texas.
DALLAS — A graduate of Mattawan High School whose fighter plane was shot down over Laos in 1969 during the Vietnam War will be laid to rest on Friday.
Col. James E. Dennany Sr., who graduated from Mattawan High School in 1953, was a decorated Air Force major serving as a navigator on a Phantom F-4D fighter jet that was downed by anti-aircraft fire during a night-time attack on an enemy truck convoy.
Dennany, 34, a married father of seven children whose family was living in Brownsville, Texas, and the plane's pilot, Capt. Robert L. Tucci, were listed as missing in action after their plane went down on Nov. 11, 1969.
Their status was changed to killed in action nine years later, but it wasn't until 1999 that a joint team of United States and Laotian investigators found a crash site that was believed to be that of Dennany's and Tucci's plane.
Excavations of the site that took place during 2008 and 2009 turned up human remains, life-support items and aircraft pieces that continued to point toward the site of where the Americans' plane went down.
Although positive identification couldn't be made, the Air Force concluded largely through circumstantial evidence last August that the remains were those of Dennany and Tucci and that they had died on impact.
The remains were scheduled to be flown from Hawaii to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport early today and then be taken to the Laurel Oaks Funeral Home in Mesquite, Texas, to lie in state throughout the day.
A funeral procession was slated to go from the funeral home to Dallas/Fort Worth National Cemetery on Friday morning for a service that was to include a fly over, weather permitting, and a flag ceremony honoring both Dennany and Tucci.
Dennany's son, James E. Dennany Jr., of Humble, Texas, near Houston, said he and at least three of his four sisters, all of whom still live in Texas, where Dennany met and married his wife, Emily, would be in attendance at Friday's ceremony.
Dennany's two other sons, Brian and Sean, died in 1983 and 1985, respectively, and Emily Dennany died of cancer in 2002.
Dennany, who also now has 12 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, still has cousins in the Kalamazoo area and elsewhere in Michigan, James Dennany Jr. said.
The senior Dennany was among 32 members of the class of 1953 at Mattawan High School, where he played varsity football and was a member of the student council. He joined the military out of high school and qualified for officer's training and to become a pilot, said Marie Lara, one of Dennany's daughters.
While taking classes in Harlingen, Texas, Dennany met Emily Hon. They were married in August 1956 and began their family of seven children. Meanwhile, Dennany was being transferred to Riverside, Calif., K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base in Michigan, Laramie, Wyo., where he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering in 1968 from the University of Wyoming, and Florida.
Dennany was then promoted to major and sent to Vietnam, Lara said. His promotion to colonel, and Tucci's promotion from captain to major, occurred posthumously. Just weeks before his fateful mission, Dennany had been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery during earlier missions.
In 1986, several of Dennany's former Mattawan classmates presented a plaque in his memory to the school board, which displayed it in the central hallway, alongside his senior class picture, of what was then the high school.
Current Mattawan High School Principal Colin Ripmaster said the plaque and picture are still on display there in what is now known as the district's Center Building.
Airmen killed in Vietnam crash to be buried with honors in Dallas
By JOE SIMNACHER, Staff Writer
Published: 12 January 2011 11:06 PM
Maj. Robert Leon Tucci and Col. James Eugene Dennany will be buried together Friday at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery — more than 41 years after they were shot down in combat over Laos during the Vietnam War.
The men — both with Texas roots and whose remains are scheduled to arrive in Dallas this morning from Honolulu — were declared missing in action after their F-4 Phantom was hit by antiaircraft fire while strafing a convoy on the Ho Chi Minh Trail on Nov. 12, 1969. The damaged fighter plane immediately crashed and exploded.
The Dallas ceremony, complete with a flyover by three F-16 Falcons and a now-vintage F-4 aircraft, was years in the making. The U.S. government, using case leads from wartime reporting, started their search for remains in the mid-1990s. Eventually, the men were identified using forensic tools and circumstantial evidence.
For family and friends, the service at 11 a.m. on Friday will at long last provide the final chapter. But the homecoming is too late for others. Tucci’s father, Leon J. Tucci, died in 2009.
“My husband’s last words were ... ‘I’m just sorry that I won’t find out about Robert,’ ” said Tucci’s mother, Jean Tucci of Austin. “That’s all he kept thinking about, ‘Will I find out about my Robert?’ ”
The last flight
On its last flight, the F-4 crew was on a night reconnaissance mission that included escorting an AC-130 gunship. U.S. officials knew the plane had been shot down but had no access to the wreckage because of the conflict.
Fighting even continued in Laos after the United States and Vietnam ended the war. With reports of American POWs in Laos, Dennany wasn’t listed as presumed dead until June 21, 1978.
The men were lost but never forgotten.
The village of Schoolcraft, Mich., dedicated the second Monday of each month to Dennany, leaving a chair empty in his honor in hope that he might one day return.
By the fall of 1995, a U.S. team for the first time was able to search the area where the F-4 went down. Those results were inconclusive.
Searches continued, and finally there was a breakthrough in 1999: A pistol issued to Tucci was recovered.
“Having obtained this last bit of information, you would think that they would immediately start looking for the remains,” Jean Tucci said. “Unfortunately that was not to be ... not for another three to four years.”
Initially, villagers wanted money from the Americans for any remains, according to Jim Dennany Jr. of Humble, Texas, Dennany’s son.
Eventually, the remains and items linked to the crew were obtained. The identification was made without the use of DNA technology, said Dennany’s daughter Melissa Harrington of Dallas.
“They excavated the crash site,” she said. “With that thorough excavation, they were able to retrieve bone fragments, but there was no ability to obtain a DNA sequence,” she said. “When there is a crash, very often, our military conducts joint burials.”
The search for missing Americans is handled by the U.S. Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command based in Hawaii, which has conducted 116 field investigations in Laos. Most recently, the group completed a 35-day search that excavated three aircraft crash sites and one ground site in search of 12 Americans in the Khammouan, Savannakhet and Xekong provinces.
Both born in Michigan
Tucci and Dennany were both natives of Michigan, but each established Texas roots through military ties.
Tucci, a 27-year-old pilot, was born in Detroit. But he grew up in Fort Worth and Del Valley, Texas, near Austin, where his father, an Air Force pilot, was stationed.
“He spent a lot of time here,” Jean Tucci said. “He only spent about seven or eight years of his life in Michigan. We spent most of our lives down here.”
Tucci graduated from Del Valley High School and received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Texas at Austin in January 1966.
An ROTC cadet, he received a commission in the Air Force and was called to active duty.
Tucci had flown 181 missions as a co-pilot and weapons officer out of Da Nang Air Base during his first tour of duty.
He then took training in Florida to become an F-4 commander, finishing at the top of his class, his mother said.
Tucci then volunteered for a second duty tour in Vietnam. He was based at Udorn Airfield in Thailand and had completed 32 missions before beginning his last assignment.
His co-pilot and weapons systems officer was Dennany. The 34-year-old was born in Mattawan, Mich., where he was on the varsity football team and was a member of the student council in high school. Shy and soft-spoken, he was one of 32 members of his 1953 graduating class.
Dennany entered the University of Michigan but had to leave school after his father died. He joined the Air Force and met his wife-to-be, Emily Hon of Brownsville, while he was training in Harlingen, Texas. The couple had seven children. Emily Dennany died in 2002.
Dennany continued his college studies in the Air Force and received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Wyoming.
'What an honor'
Despite the pace of the investigation, Jean Tucci is pleased with the work done to locate her son.
“The casualty department in San Antonio keeps me apprised of everything,” she said. “I can’t say enough about them. They have just been wonderful to me.”
Harrington said it is a great honor to have the U.S. government and military officials to take the steps necessary to find and return lost service members.
“It is just incredible ... to bring Dad’s and Maj. Tucci’s remains back home and give them such a dignified burial,” she said. “What an honor.”
In addition to his mother, Tucci is survived by his wife, Sharon Tucci of Benbrook.
In addition to his son and daughter, Dennany is survived by three other daughters, Elizabeth Marchan, Marie Lara and Pamela Tabares, all of Brownsville, Texas; 12 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Leo J. Dennany (1911 - 1954)
Emily Hon Dennacy (1933 - 2002)
Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery
Created by: Eddieb
Record added: Oct 29, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 60794746