Arthur Massucci

When Art Massucci thinks of his brother Marty, an F4C fighter co-pilot missing in action for forty-five years in North Vietnam, he comes to an equally painful realization:
“My mother was an unrecorded casualty of the Vietnam War.”

A thoughtful and emotional man, Massucci has spent the years since his brother’s disappearance coming to grips with the many struggles of such a situation. 

“We know so little,” he laments.  “He’s gone, but we don’t know where.  He’ll come home, but we don’t know when.  We could talk about it, but there’s nothing to talk about—it’s like, you’re speaking to someone on the phone; you step away to answer the doorbell, come back, and they’re gone… ”

He’s convinced that the reprehensible mystery is responsible for his mother’s death, two years after Marty vanished.   Details around the downing of the jet are sketchy, but what’s known is that on October 1, 1965, Capt. Charles J. Scharf was the pilot of the lead aircraft in a flight of four jets assigned a road reconnaissance mission about 79 miles west-northwest of Hanoi, near  Ban Puoi Airfield.   Massucci, then a 1st Lieutenant, was Scharf's bombardier/navigator.  At least one parachute was seen, but neither pilot was ever heard from again.

As the eldest child in an extended family, Art Massucci believes that the shock of receiving the news placed an insurmountable burden on his mother’s health.

“We’d been an extremely close family,” Massucci shares.  “After we received the telegram , Mom began a slow decline; she took, ultimately had a stroke and passed away two years later.  I have always numbered her among the uncounted casualties of Vietnam.”

Indeed, the peculiar agony weighed heavily on his father as well.  The elder Massucci, who lived to be ninety, never gave up a search for answers as the what actually happened to his eldest son.  His ultimate conclusion was, “We’ll know if we are meant to know…”

Among the things that have helped Art cope with his brother’s MIA status were the bracelets worn by nearly half a million Americans in solidarity with missing servicemen.   
“I received between five hundred and a thousand letters from Americans who wore Marty’s name on their wrists.  I tried to answer them all, tell them a bit about Marty, send them a photo.”

Additionally, POW/MIA Recognition Day and the 24-hour vigil held annually at Oakland Hills Memorial Gardens has proven a source of strength for Massucci, who still has his brother’s wallet, intact—even down to the loose change he’d left in his locker before his final flight.

“It’s something to hold on to,” says Massucci, “but the real meaning in all this to me is Marty’s life.  What he left me was not mementos, but himself…”



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