ARCURI, WILLIAM YOUL
|Name: William Youl Arcuri
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force, co-pilot
Unit: 307th Strat Wing, Anderson Air Base, Guam
Date of Birth: 07 August 1947
Home City of Record: Satellite Beach FL
Date of Loss: 20 December 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 210500N 1054000E (WJ692313)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Other Personnel In Incident: Terry M. Geloneck; Roy Madden Jr.; Michael R.
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or
|REMARKS: 730212 RELSD BY DRV - INJ
SYNOPSIS: Frustrated by problems in negotiating a peace settlement, and
The Christmas Bombings were of the most precise the world had seen. Pilots
The operation had its costs, however, in loss of aircraft and personnel.
During the month of December 1972, 62 crewmembers of B52 aircraft were shot
down and captured or went missing. Of these 62, 33 men were released in
1973. The remains of roughly a dozen more have been returned over the years,
and the rest are still missing. At least 10 those missing survived to eject
safely. Yet they did not return at the end of the war.
On December 20, 1972, three B52 aircraft -- Quilt Cell -- departed Anderson
Air Base, Guam for a bombing mission over Hanoi. One of the aircraft was
flown by Capt. Terry M. Geloneck. The crew consisted of 1Lt. William Y.
Arcuri, co-pilot; Capt. Craig A. Paul, Electronic Warfare Officer; Capt.
Warren R. Spencer, the radar navigator; 1LT Michael R. Martini, navigator;
and SSgt. Roy Madden, the gunner.
Approaching the initial point where the bombing run was to begin, the EWO
(Paul) reported SAM signals. The aircraft instituted evasive maneuvers while
calmly running through their checklist in preparation of releasing the
twenty-seven 750-pound bomb load.
About 30 seconds to target, three or four SAMs were sighted. The crew could
do nothing but watch their progress until the "bombs away" was called and
evasive action could be taken. After releasing the bomb load, the aircraft
had been in a hard turn about 10 seconds when the loud metallic bank of an
exploding SAM hit them, accompanied by a bright white flash. The aircraft
was still airborne and in its post-target turn.
Martini reported that he, Arcuri and Spencer were okay, but that they had
sustained a fuel leak in the left main fuel tank, and that cabin
pressurization was lost. Paul had been hit and was bleeding heavily. There
were four six-inch holes in the fuselage next to Madden, and his leg was
As the aircraft began losing altitude, the crew prepared for bailout.
Geloneck, Arcuri, Martini and Madden successfully ejected from the aircraft
and were captured immediately. It is not known whether Spencer and Paul
When they were released in mid-February, 1973, Madden, Martini, Arcuri and
Geloneck were all injured; Madden's leg was still in dangerous condition,
and he was brought home on a litter. The leg was later amputated. The
Vietnamese returned the remains of Paul and Spencer on September 30, 1977,
despite earlier protestations that they knew nothing about the two.
One thing that amazed analysts about the B52 bombers that were shot down
over Hanoi during this period was the high survival rate of the crewmembers.
Many more were returned as POWs than was expected. The B52s that were shot
down were downed in extremely hostile territory with little or no chance of
rescue. However, they were fortunate to be captured during a period in which
little or no harassment and torture was being experienced by American POWs.
In fact, the Vietnamese were "fattening them up" for their imminent release.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that all the prisoners were returned in
1973 at the end of the war. Since the end of the war, thousands of reports
have been received by the U.S. Government relating to Americans still alive
in captivity. U.S. experts have stated they believe Americans are still
being held prisoner in Southeast Asia. The question is no longer whether any
are alive, but who are they, and how can we bring them home?
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
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
WILLIAM Y. ARCURI
Captain - United States Air Force
Shot Down: December 20, 1972
Released: February 12, 1973
I was born in Tallahassee, Florida on August 7, 1947. I have been in the
military all my life, as my father was an officer in the Air Force. I spent
a year in the Air Force as an enlisted man attending the USAF Academy
Preparatory School. I received an appointment to the US Military Academy and
entered in July 1966 in the class of 1970. I met my wife, Andrea, while I
was attending West Point and we were married after graduation on June 26,
1970. I received a commission into the Air Force and started Flight School
in August 1970. Upon graduation from Flight School in July 1971, I went to
Castle AFB, California for B-52 training and then to Beale AFB, California
for my first PCS in January 1972.
In May 1972 I received my orders sending me TDY to Andersen AFB, Guam for
B-52 operations in Southeast Asia. I spent five months on Guam and then home
for a 28 day leave. I was starting my second five months TDY when the
December raids were ordered. I was shot down on the third night of raids
over Hanoi and captured on December 20, 1972. I was injured during the shoot
down and captured on the ground by the local villagers. I was then turned
over to the military and taken to the "Hilton" complex. I spent less than
two months as a POW and was released with the first group of POWs because of
my injuries. I hope to return to the B-52 at Beale AFB, and I am looking
forward to flying the new B-1 bomber. My wife, Andrea, and I hope to start a
The following expresses our sentiments exactly:
Thanksgiving is the all encompassing word which expresses what is in our
hearts and in our minds. Our Thanksgiving is a time for caring, for loving,
and for the sheer joy of being together. We would not have a Thanksgiving if
it were not for the many prayers and for the never-ending moral support
which we received from you. We thank you for your love which gave us the
inspiration to deal with our lives from day to day. We were blessed as our
time of pain was short. We ask that you continue to pray and to show concern
for those who were less fortunate. Your faith will surely help those who are
in need. We thank you for the most precious gift on earth-the giving of
William Acuri left the Air Force after his return home. He and Andrea reside