The symbol on the Wall next to the name of James Branch was changed from a cross (MIA) to a star (KIA) April 30, 1994. Remains were identified. BRANCH, JAMES ALVIN Name: James Alvin Branch Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 6233rd Combat Support Group, Ubon RTAFB Date of Birth: 06 April 1934 Home City of Record: Park Forest IL Date of Loss: 04 September 1965 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 190457N 1053657E (WE666169) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 1 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C Refno: 0135 Other Personnel in Incident: Eugene M. Jewell (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 1998. REMARKS: SURVIVAL UNLIKELY SYNOPSIS: Capt. James A. Branch and 1Lt. Eugene M. Jewell probably thought they were fortunate to have been selected to fly the F4 Phantom fighter jet. 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. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around. On September 4, 1965, Branch and Jewell comprised the crew of an F4C assigned a bombing mission over North Vietnam. The mission target was in Nghe An Province, near a railroad about halfway between the cities of Tho Trang and Phu Dien Chau. During a low-altitude strafing run, the aircraft was shot down, crashed and exploded. No parachutes were observed departing the crippled aircraft. The U.S. Air Force placed both men in the category of Missing in Action. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) further refined that category according to enemy knowledge. Category 1, for instance, was reserved for those men on whom it was certain the enemy had knowledge - such as prisoners of war. Category 2 generally included men involved in loss incidents with others who were known to be captured, or who were lost in populous regions where the enemy would more than likely know their fates. Inexplicably, Branch is listed as Category 1, and Jewell is listed as Category 2. Both men are coded as pilots, so it is unclear who was flying the aircraft and who was operating the bombing/navigation equipment from the rear seat. Ordinarily, the rear seater ejects from the aircraft first in a bail-out situation. Since 1975, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans still missing in Southeast Asia, convincing many authorities that hundreds of Americans are still held in captivity. James A. Branch and Eugene M. Jewell could be among them. It's time we brought our men home.