International Missing Persons Wiki

Rodger Alan Fees was a United States Airman who disappeared alongside 15 other United States servicemen during Typhoon Emma on September 10, 1956, over the Sea of Japan. He is the only serviceman from Arizona who remains unaccounted for during the Cold War, not including the Korean and Vietnam Wars.


Rodger Fees was born on March 19, 1919 in Ajo, Arizona as the second of three children to Roy and Nancy Fees. At some point in his life, he married Virginia W. Douglas. Later in life, he joined the United States Air Force. His service number was AO2084831. At the time of his disappearance, he was ranked as a Captain with a paygrade of O3 and was a crewmember of a sixteen-man RB-50 Super Fortress reconnaissance aircraft.

On September 1, 1956, Typhoon Emma formed and brought 140 miles per hour (230 kilometers per hour) winds and 22 inches (560 millimeters) of rain to Okinawa Island and South Korea. On September 10, 1956, Fees' crew was sent up to study wind velocities in the storm's right front quadrant. At some point over the Sea of Japan, the plane got caught in the storm and presumably crashed. It has been speculated that either the winds of the typhoon caused the plane to tailspin or that low pressures caused the plane's altimeters to give a false reading, causing the pilots to assume that they were flying much higher than they actually were, and making them fly lower until they crashed.

Typhoon Emma ended on September 11, 1956, after killing seventy-seven people and causing over eight million dollars in damage. It was also one of the few tropical cyclones to bring down a plane. Fees, his crew, and his plane were never located. He was posthumously awarded the National Defense Service Medal. Additionally, he has been memorialized at the National Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix, Arizona.

Rodger Alan Fees is one of the remaining 126 servicemen who went missing during the Cold War, not including the Korean and Vietnam Wars. The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has since listed his case as being under Non-recoverable.