National POW MIA Recognition Day 2015
Friday, 18 September 2015. National POW MIA Recognition Day in the United States.
“Observances of National POW/MIA Recognition Day are held across the country on military installations, ships at sea, state capitols, schools and veterans’ facilities. It is traditionally observed on the third Friday in September each year. This observance is one of six days throughout the year that Congress has mandated the flying of the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag. The others are Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day.
The flag is to be flown at major military installations, national cemeteries, all post offices, VA medical facilities, the World War II Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the official offices of the secretaries of state, defense and veterans affairs, the director of the selective service system and the White House.”
Sam Samurai remembers the POWs and MIAs of the 14th in all designations, PRS, TRS, TFS and FS. Remember the following six former prisoners of war, listed alphabetically:
Acosta, Hector M. On 9 December 1972, First Lieutenant Hector M. Acosta, 14TRS, was a Photo Systems Operator in the back seat of RF-4C 68-0597 was shot down on his 90th mission by a surface-to-air missile just north of Vinh, North Vietnam was captured and spent some months in the Hanoi Hilton before being repatriated on 29 March 1973.
Dixon, Robert J. Circa 15 February 1945, Capt. Robert J. Dixon, 14PRS Commander, shot down by flak on a recon mission in Spitfire PR Mk XI, serial number PL866 (MACR 12324) to Merseburg, Germany. He stayed in the Air Force after the war and eventually rose to four-star rank, and saw combat again in Korea and Vietnam.
Gauntt, William A. On 13 August 1972, RF-4C pilot Captain William A. Gauntt, 14TRS, was nearly done with his combat tour and on a recon mission in RF-4C 68-0604 over the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) when he was shot down by anti-aircraft artillery. He was repatriated on 27 March 1973.
Hillborn, Robert B. On 5 September 1944, Lt. Robert B. Hillborn, 14PRS, was shot down by a Luftwaffe Me-262 jet fighter while flying Spitfire PR Mk XI PL782 (MACR 6687) on a mission to obtain bomb damage assessment pictures of Stuttgart, Ludwigshafen and Karlsruhe. He was attacked by two Me-262’s near Stuttgart, hit, and bailed out of his stricken aircraft near Feurbach. He was a POW at Luft Stalag I, Barth, Germany.
Ruhling, Mark J. On 3 November 1968, RF-4C recon systems operator Captain Mark J. Ruhling, 14TRS, was shot down in RF-4C 66-0445 near Dong Hoi while on a recon mission against a Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) site in North Vietnam.
Van Wart, Franklin I. On 1 March 1944, Lt. Franklin I. Van Wart (or Franklyn K. Van Wart), 14PRS, was shot down in Spitfire PR Mk XI MB945, named “Lu Mar II.” (MACR 2744)
The squadron also remembers the following 14 aircrew who remain missing in action to this day:
Bergevin, Charles L., 1Lt, 14TRS. MIA on 23 Aug 1968 in RF-4C 66-0466; shot down by fighter at night over Route Pack I, NVN. Postwar determined dead.
Brown, Donald A., Capt, 14TRS. MIA on 29 Jul 1970, in RF-4C 66-0436; shot down by fighter over Laos. Postwar determined dead.
Chavez, Gary A., Capt, 14TRS. MIA on 29 Jul 1970, in RF-4C 66-0436; shot down by fighter over Laos. Postwar determined dead.
Edgar, Robert J., 1Lt, 14TRS. MIA on 4 Feb 1968, in RF-4C 66-0443; shot down by fighter at dawn over Laos. Postwar determined dead.
Gist, Tommy E., Capt, 14TRS. MIA on 18 May 1968 in RF-4C 66-0442; shot down by fighter during day over Route Pack I, NVN. Postwar determined dead.
Hicks, Terrin D., Capt, 14TRS. MIA on 15 Aug 1968 in RF-4C 66-0447; shot down by AAA during day over I Corps, SVN. Postwar determined dead.
Ott, William A., Capt, 14TFS. MIA on 8 Oct 1970 in RF-4C 68-0610; shot down by fighter at dusk over Laos. Postwar determined dead.
Palmer, Gilbert S., Jr., Maj, 14TRS. MIA on 27 Feb 1968 in RF-4C 66-0431; shot down by fighter during day over Route Package I, NVN. Postwar determined dead.
Potter, William T., 1Lt, 14TRS. MIA on 4 Feb 1968 in RF-4C 66-0443, shot down by fighter at dawn over Laos. Postwar determined dead.
Setterquist, Francis L., 1Lt, 14TRS. MIA on 23 Aug 1968 in RF-4C 66-0466; shot down by fighter at night over Route Pack I, NVN. Postwar determined dead.
Shay, Donald E., Jr., Capt, 14TRS. MIA on 8 Oct 1970 in RF-4C 68-0610; shot down by fighter at dusk over Laos. Postwar determined dead.
Sneed, Warren B., Capt, 14FS. Lost at sea on 13 Nov 2000 in Misawa-based F-16C 90-0801; in mid-air collision with another F-16 west of Hokkaido, Japan, during Exercise Keen Sword.
Townsend, Francis W., 1Lt, 14TRS. MIA on 13 Aug 1972 in RF-4C 68-0604; shot down by AAA during day over Route Pack I, NVN. Postwar determined dead.
Wright, Thomas T., Capt, 14TRS. MIA on 27 Feb 1968 in RF-4C 66-0431; shot down by fighter during day over Route Package I, NVN. Postwar determined dead.
Let us always remember the brave warriors of the 14th Fighter Squadron from all eras who fought for our country against totalitarian forces. On this day we honor the six former POWs and 14 missing men of the Samurai, who have the lineage and honors of its predecessors, and this the responsibility to remember them on days such as this. May we always honor them as well as those who serve and sacrifice for our country today, because freedom isn’t free. Hand Salute!
National POW/MIA Recognition Day, poster, at: http://www.dpaa.mil/Families/Posters.aspx
American Battle Monuments Commission Database, at: https://www.abmc.gov/search-abmc-burials-and-memorializations