BLOODWORTH, DONALD BRUCE REMAINS RETURNED/ID'D 02/04/98
Name: Donald Bruce Bloodworth Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force Unit: 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Ubon AF TH Date of Birth: 28 December 1944 Home City of Record: San Diego CA Date of Loss: 24 July 1970 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 193031N 1031928E (UG242578) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 1 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D
Other Personnel In Incident: James W. "Bill" Reed (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 2003 with information provided by Daryl White.
SYNOPSIS: Capt. James W. "Bill" Reed was a pilot assigned to the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Ubon Airfield, Thailand. On July 24, 1970, he and his navigator, 1Lt. Donald B. Bloodworth were assigned an operational mission over Laos in their F4D Phantom fighter/bomber.
Their mission that day took them over the Plaine des Jarres (Plain of Jars) region of northern Laos in Xiangkhoang Province. As the aircraft was making a strafing pass over a communist truck convoy, it took enemy fire. The crew of a C123 observed the Phantom crash after it had made its pass over the target, but no one saw parachutes before seeing a huge explosion, and no recognizable aircraft parts were found. No emergency radio beeper signals were heard. Nevertheless, there remained the possibility that the men safely ejected.
Bloodworth was listed Missing In Action, Category 1, which means that the U.S. is certain the enemy knows what happened to him. As backseater, he would have been first to eject from the crippled plane, so he would not necessarily land close to his pilot. Bill Reed is Missing In Action, Category 2, meaning there is strong reason to suspect the enemy knows his fate.
Reed and Bloodworth are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos during the Vietnam war. As Laos did not take part in the agreements that ended American involvement in Indochina, no prisoner release was ever negotiated with Laos. Although the Pathet Lao stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, not one man held in Laos has ever been released, and no agreement has been reached to free them.
Over the years since the war ended, thousands of reports have been received which have convinced many that hundreds of Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia, held against their will. Bill Reed and Donald Bloodworth could be among them. If so, what must they be thinking of us?
Donald B. Bloodworth was promoted to the rank of Captain and James W. Reed was promoted to the rank of Major during the period they were maintained missing.
Defense POW/MIA Weekly Update February 4, 1998
REMAINS OF U.S. SERVICEMEN FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA IDENTIFIED
The remains of two American servicemen previously unaccounted-for from Southeast Asia have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial in the United States.
They are identified as Col. Paul G. Underwood, of Goldsboro, N.C.; and Capt. Donald B. Bloodworth, of San Diego, Cal., both U.S. Air Force.
On March 16, 1966, Col. Underwood was leading a strike mission over Lai Chau Province, Vietnam. As he released his payload, he reported that his F-105 Thunderchief was on fire. Col. Underwood’s wingman reported observing the F-105 crash but he saw no parachute.
In 1994 and 1995, joint U.S-Vietnamese search teams interviewed local villagers and investigated a suspected crash site believed to be that of Col. Underwood. In 1996, the crash site was excavated and human remains, pilot- related artifacts, and personal effects, including Col. Underwood’s military identification tags were recovered. The remains were repatriated to the U.S. Army’s Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii and identified as those belonging to Col. Underwood.
On July 24, 1970, Capt. Bloodworth and his pilot were flying an F-4D aircraft as escort on an armed, night reconnaissance mission over Laos. The pilot radioed that he had lost sight of the markers indicating the target location. That was the last contact received from the crew.
Joint U.S.-Lao teams investigated this incident twice in 1991 and 1993. In 1991, the teams surveyed the site, and in 1993, excavated a suspected crash site recovering aircraft wreckage and human remains. These remains were repatriated and subsequently identified as Capt. Bloodworth’s. His crewmate is still unaccounted- for.
With the identification of these two servicemen, 2,097 Americans remain unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War.
The San Diego Union Tribune North Country February 3, 1998
By Dwight Daniels, Staff writer
Two days before Air Force Capt. Donald Bloodworth climbed into an F-4D fighter-bomber in July 1970 for a mission over Laos, he'd gotten good news from home: his wife, Tami, had given birth to their only child, a son......
From: Darryl.White@wpafb.af.mil April 17, 2003
I was the crew chief for the aircraft that left that fateful night with Capt "Wild Bill" Reed and Lt Bloodworth. I did not know Lt Bloodworth real well but spent a month on alert pad with Capt. Reed before I put his name as pilot on the gear door of my aircraft.
A little correction is necessary to the listing. The base was Udon Thani or Udorn as we knew it. We were having a squadron party with maintenance (flight line troops) and the pilots that evening. The mission was scheduled for take off at just about dusk so they (or I) did not get to partake in the festivities for very long. I remember launching the aircraft just like always except that because of the party I stayed over and launched it for night shift so they could stay at the party.
The next day when I came back in I noticed my aircraft was not there. I asked someone if they turned it around for an early flight, but that is when I got the bad news, it had crashed. Crew chiefs had an undying love for their pilots and plane that can't be explained. I was devastated but even more so when they told me that they couldn't go in for a search and rescue because of their crash site location. Myself and a couple of the other crew chiefs said we would volunteer to go search for them if they needed more men. Of course that was out of the question. I was told that the mission was AC-119 gunship escort and when the gunship ran out of ammo they targeted the trucks for the F-4 crew. Capt Reed turned in for the bomb run, and according to the AC-119, crew never pulled out. I remember walking back through the squadron office which was the pilot briefing room and office also and Lt Bloodworth's cigars were still on the counter for most of the day.
To this day I always wonder was there something I missed that caused the aircraft to crash. I will never know. There was a saying in the movie Josie Wales that I always remember because it pertains to all the men and women of all wars, Clint Eastwood ends the movie by saying "I guess we all died a little in that damn war." Well I guess I did too. Hopefully they will bring Capt (Maj) Reed home someday also.
God Bless all our troops past and present.
Darryl H White D155, D220, G064 Functional System Manager D143C DLIS-KF User Access Equipment Custodian Computer Support/TASO AFMC LGISM DSN 932-5271 269-961-5271 Fax -5157