On September 11, 1970, a mid-Missouri Vietnam War soldier disappeared when the plane he was in was shot down during a night mission. Rep. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, co-sponsored a resolution this year urging a federal agency (POW/MIA) in charge of recovering missing U.S. soldiers to prioritize and resolve the cases of 15 missing Vietnam War soldiers, including Bernard Plassmeyer’s. He is from Freeburg in Osage County.
Bernskoetter says Plassmeyer’s brother and former state Rep. Norb Plassmeyer, R-Westphalia, did the legislation’s “heavy lifting”.
“He was instrumental because he sat down with me and Rep. Hurst,” says Bernskoetter. “We discussed it and thought it was a worthy thing to do a resolution about.”
Rep. Tom Hurst (R-Meta) sponsored the measure that unanimously passed in the Missouri House. Although there’s been no update from the POW/MIA agency about the cases, Bernskoetter hopes the resolution will make a difference.
“When I do a piece of legislation, I don’t want it to just be for show,” says Bernskoetter. “I want it to carry some weight. We’re going to continue working on the issue, even though the resolution was just for this year.”
Norb Plassmeyer has been a behind the scenes fixture in the measure’s process. Norb Plassmeyer has put Jeanie Hasenbeck front and center about her life mission to try and find out what happened to her brother, Paul. He praises her determination to look for answers for the past 50 years. Bernskoetter also credits her help and story being key in the legislation’s success.
Paul Hasenbeck vanished 50 years ago in a Vietnam jungle with three of his Army comrades. On the 50 year anniversary this year of Paul Hasenbeck’s disappearance, Osage County declared it as Paul A. Hasenbeck Day. Norb Plassmeyer orchestrated that event and helped to present Jeanie Hasenbeck with a resolution to mark the occasion.
Norb Plassmeyer continues his efforts to bring attention to the missing soldiers and the importance to give the families of these heroes some closure. He’s helping to organize a ceremony this Friday, Sep. 15 at the Missouri Capitol. A proclamation will designate Jefferson City as a POW-MIA City. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Capitol Rotunda.