BURDETT, EDWARD BURKE Remains Returned 740306
Name: Edward Burke Burdett Rank/Branch: O6/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 10 March 1921 Home City of Record: Macon GA Date of Loss: 18 November 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 210500N 1063400E (WJ063312) Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War Category: 1 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D Refno: 0912
Other Personnel in Incident: From nearby F105s: Edward W. Lehnhoff; Leslie J. Hauer; Oscar M. Dardeau, Jr. (all remains returned)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 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 2008.
REMARKS: 740306 DRV RET REMS
SYNOPSIS: The F105 Thunderchief (or "Thud") performed yoeman service on many diversified missions in Southeast Asia. F105s flew more combat missions over North Vietnam than any other USAF aircraft and consequently suffered the heaviest losses in action. They dropped bombs by day and occasionally by night from high or low altitude and some later versions (F105D in Wild Weasel guise) attacked SAM sites with their radar tracking air-to-ground missiles. This versatile aircraft was also credited with downing 25 Russian MiGs.
On November 18, 1967, three F105s were shot down over Vinh Phu Province. It is likely that the three were part of a multi-plane strike on military targets around Hanoi.
The first F105 to be shot down, a D model, was flown by Col. Edward Burke Burdett. The aircraft was shot down about 20 miles from Hanoi. Burdett was captured by the Vietnamese, but, according to a list provided by the Vietnamese, died in captivity the same day he was shot down. Whether Burdett was so severely injured in the bail-out or was tortured to death is unknown. His remains were not returned until March 6, 1974.
The second F105 was an F model and was flown by Maj. Oscar M. Dardeau, Jr. His co-pilot on the flight was Capt. Edward W. Lehnhoff, Jr. Their aircraft was shot down about 10 miles north of the city of Phy Tho. The fate of these two remains uncertain, but they were classified Missing in Action, and there were indications that the Vietnamese knew their fates. The Vietnamese "discovered" and returned their remains on November 25, 1987.
Maj. Leslie J. Hauer was the pilot of the third F105 to be shot down at Vinh Yen. Maj. Hauer was declared Missing in Action. In June, 1977, the Vietnamese told U.S. officials they would return Maj. Hauer's remains in September. In September, thirteen years later, they did just that.
Whether all the four airmen shot down on November 18, 1967 survived to be captured is uncertain, but the notion is not unreasonable. Although the Vietnamese have conducted site excavations in an effort to show "good will" in recovering U.S. remains, they are known to have stockpiled hundreds of American bodies awaiting politically expedient moments to return them, a few at a time.
Mounting evidence indicates that some Americans are still alive being held prisoner of war in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese pledged to return all prisoners of war and provide the fullest possible accounting of the missing in the peace accords signed in 1973. They have done neither, and the U.S. has not compelled them to do so.
The United States government pledged that the POW/MIA issue is of "highest national priority" but has not achieved results indicative of a priority. Mitchell and the nearly 2500 Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia deserve our best efforts to bring them home, not empty rhetoric.
Edward W. Lehnhoff, Jr. was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Oscar M. Dardeau, Jr. and Leslie J. Hauer were promoted to the rank of Colonel, during the period they were maintained Missing in Action.