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.