A military hero whose ultimate fate was uncertain for more than 44 years is finally coming home to rest.
Air Force Captain Douglas D. Ferguson, a Tacoma native, will go to his final resting place Friday, May 2nd, at Mountain View Funeral Home, Memorial Park & Crematory in Lakewood.
The Vietnam War hero’s homecoming will include vehicle processions Thursday and Friday that drivers in Lakewood might notice.
Ferguson graduated from Tacoma’s Wilson High School in 1963 and from the United States Air Force Academy in 1967. He flew with the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron out of Thailand.
During the war, after carrying out three successful bombing missions over a heavily fortified region, his F-4D Phantom II aircraft was shot down over Houaphan Province, Laos. He was 24 years old at the time and was a first lieutenant.
A reconnaissance mission was conducted the day after his plane went down. Searchers spotted in the trees what appeared to be a pair of parachutes that had been deployed. Still, they couldn’t conduct a ground search because the area was heavily defended. Ferguson and another airman were declared Missing-In-Action, a designation that left his family, friends and the military without answers for some four decades.
At least that was the case until approximately two months ago, when Ferguson’s remains were positively identified through DNA analysis. Ferguson was, in fact, killed in battle, and now he will be honored accordingly.
Joint Base Lewis-McChord, the City of Lakewood and several Pierce County Fire Departments -- including West Pierce Fire & Rescue, JBLM, Central Pierce Fire and Rescue, and Tacoma Fire Departments -- will be honoring Captain Ferguson and his family Thursday and Friday.
On Thursday, Captain Ferguson will arrive at Sea-Tac International Airport and a procession will follow to Mountain View in Lakewood. The procession is scheduled between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. A Joint Civilian/Military fire service apparatus display and garrison will be honoring him on the north side of the 56th Street Interstate 5 overpass.
On Friday, West Pierce and JBLM Fire Departments will honor Ferguson and his family with a joint Civilian/Military fire service apparatus display and garrison at the North Gate of McChord Field and the entrance to Mountain View in Lakewood. The procession to McChord Field is scheduled between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. The return procession back to Mountain View is scheduled between 11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
The City of Lakewood, West Pierce Fire & Rescue and Joint Base Lewis-McChord ask that drivers take note of these procession times and to please show respect for Captain Ferguson, his family and friends as the procession passes.