F4 Pilot over
1965 – 1966
Search and Rescue (SAR) position in the Tonkin Gulf
was such that we could view on radar the entire northern area of the
gulf, including North of Haiphong and Hainan up to the Chinese border.
During one raid, one of the F-4’s had made a run on a target near
Hanoi, but failed to turn back south to come back to the carrier after the raid.
He was headed almost due East, and would overfly the coast of Hainan at
25,000 feet within 20 minutes or so when we started monitoring his flight.
Efforts by the other F-4 pilots to contact the pilot were futile. They were
calling to him on the radio, but could get no answer.
One pilot tried to catch up to him and get a visual, but had to give up
the chase when he was bingo fuel, and would not have been able to catch up
before making landfall over Hainan.
continued trying to wake him up and get him to turn South, but could get no
response. All we could do was watch
as he continued East past the coast, maintaining his altitude and heading.
Shortly after he made landfall over Hainan,
he disappeared from the radar screen. We
never heard any further particulars. We were sure that he must have been killed
or badly injured over Hanoi, then his plane shot down as he crossed the coast of
Hainan, a propaganda vistory for the Chinese.