Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Da Nang
Date of Birth: 18 April 1943
Home City of Record: St. Petersburg FL
Date of Loss: 24 April 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 173600N 1062800E (XE562479)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: Bobby G. Vinson (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Copyright 1991 Homecoming II Project.
SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.
LtCol. Bobby G. Vinson was the pilot and 1Lt. Woodrow W. Parker II the bombardier/navigator, of an F4D Phantom sent on a scramble mission with another aircraft from Da Nang Airbase, South Vietnam on April 24, 1968.
Vinson was orbiting the area looking for targets over Quang Binh Province, a few miles southwest of the city of Quang Khe and radioed he was decreasing altitude for a better sighting of ground targets. Shortly thereafter, a fireball was seen on the ground by the crew of the other aircraft. Radio contact with Parker and Vinson was unsuccessful. However, the possibility existed that the two were able to safely eject from the aircraft, and they were not listed as killed in action but missing in action.
Alarmingly, evidence continues to mount that Americans were left as prisoners in Southeast Asia and continue to be held today. Unlike "MIAs" from other wars, most of the nearly 2500 men and women who remain missing in Southeast Asia can be accounted for. If even one was left alive (and many authorities estimate the numbers to be in the hundreds), we have failed as a nation until and unless we do everything possible to secure his freedom and bring him home.
Bobby G. Vinson was promoted to the rank of Colonel and Woodrow W. Parker to the rank of Major during the period they were maintained missing.
"All Biographical and loss information on POWs provided by Operation Just Cause have been supplied by Chuck and Mary Schantag of POWNET. Please check with POWNET regularly for updates."
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