AUSTIN, WILLIAM RENWICK II

Name: William Renwick Austin II
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Ubon AF TH
Date of Birth: 18 December 1937
Home City of Record: Simpsonville SC
Date of Loss: 07 October 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 204000N 1050800E (WH156796)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Category:
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D
Missions: 81 North Vietnam
Other Personnel In Incident: Ivan D. Appleby (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 31 April 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
NETWORK.

REMARKS: 730314 RELSD BY DRV

SYNOPSIS: Major Ivan D. Appleby was the pilot of an F4D aircraft flying a
photo reconnaissance escort mission over North Vietnam in October 1967. His
backseater was Capt. William R. Austin II. Austin and Appleby were onboard
the lead aircraft in a flight of F4D Phantom fighter jets.

When the flight was over Hoi Binh Province about 25 miles southwest of the
city of Hoi Binh, it encountered intense hostile fire which inflicted heavy
damage to the lead aircraft. The aircraft began burning and went out of
control. One parachute was observed prior to the aircraft crashing into a
hill.

The U.S. later learned that Austin had been captured, but Appleby's fate
remained uncertain. He was listed Missing in Action.

When American prisoners were released in 1973, Austin was among them, but
Appleby was not. In late 1976, based on no information to indicate he was
alive, Appleby was presumptively declared dead.

Nearly 2500 Americans did not come home from the war in Vietnam. Unlike
"MIAs" from previous wars, most of these men and women can be accounted for.
Some hundred were known to be held as prisoners, and some were photographed
in captivity. Others were alive and well the last time they were heard from,
describing an advancing enemy.

Years after our military involvement ended, reports of Americans held
captive continue to mount. Thousands of reports have been received related
to Americans missing in Southeast Asia, and many government officials now
believe that hundreds are still being held prisoner. The U.S. Government
continues to press the Vietnamese for information, as it has for nearly 20
years. The U.S. views the problem as humanitarian, while the Vietnamese are
concerned with reconstruction aid promised by the United States in signed
agreements, but not delivered. Until we are willing to negotiate for their
release, these Americans will die in communist prisons wondering why their
country abandoned them.

Ivan D. Appleby was promoted to the rank of Colonel during the period he was
maintained missing.


SOURCE: WE CAME HOME  copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR
Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St.,
Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original
publication (including date and spelling errors).
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO

WILLIAM R. AUSTIN, II
Major - United States Air Force
Shot Down: October 7, 1967
Released: March 14, 1973
         
I married Myrtle Looper in 1960 and we have two children, Molly born
November 28, 1961 and Billy, born December 19, 1963. Myrtle and the children
lived at Route 1, Simpsonville, South Carolina while I was in Vietnam.
         
I joined the Air Force in June 1960, and received my commission three months
later after completing officer training school. Upon completion of
Navigation Training at Harlingen AFB, Texas, I was awarded my wings in July,
1961. Keesler AFB, Mississippi was my next assignment. While there, I
completed Electronic Warfare Officer's School. My first operational
assignment was the 55th Strat Recon Wing, Forbes AFB, Kansas. I reported
there in July, 1962. While I was there, I was accepted for pilot training at
Laughlin AFB, Texas in 1965. After receiving my pilot rating in June, 1966,1
attended F4 Training at Davis Monthan AFB, Arizona. From there I was
assigned to Ubon RTAFB, Thailand, with Wild Weasel and Survival Training
enroute. I arrived at Ubon in May 1967 and was shot down on October 7, 1967,
after having successfully completed 80 missions.
         
My awards include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with an Oak
Leaf Cluster, Air Medal  with nine Oak Leaf Clusters and the Armed Forces
Expeditionary Medal. I plan to remain in the Air Force and I hope to attend
the Air Force Command and Staff School and return to flying.
         
Confidence--That's what kept me going while I was in prison. Confidence in
God, country, family, fellow man, and self gave me the extra strength to
keep going when things really got tough. I knew God was  always there, and
that He would answer my prayers if I made them reasonable. I prayed for
strength to go on, and guidance in helping me use my abilities to outwit the
enemy. After thinking about Christ's Crucifixion, I couldn't bring myself to
ask God, "Why me?" or ask God to free me. God was there, and that's a large
part of why I'm here. Good old United States of America! I knew it was
backing me up and trying to do what was right, and if I did my part I would
be back to freedom someday.
         
I was confident that Myrtle would raise our children and take care of
everything at home as near as possible to the way we would have done
together. Also, I knew she would support me as she always had, and that our
children would follow her example. I was sure my family, church, community
and friends were behind me with prayers and other support. I had confidence
in myself that I could survive and  overcome almost anything with a team
like that to help. Sure enough, the whole team was there--God, country,
family, friends.

=======================
William Austin II retired from the United States Air Force as
a Colonel. He and Myrtle still live in South Carolina.
 
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