BEELER, CARROL ROBERT
Name: Carrol Robert Beeler Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy Unit: Date of Birth: 24 July 43 Home City of Record: Frisco TX Date of Loss: 24 May 1972 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 205800N 1064800E (XJ889144) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8J Refno: 1864 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 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 2008.
REMARKS: 730328 RELSD BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: The Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of Tonkin reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively by the Navy and Marine air wings (although there is one U.S. Air Force pilot reported shot down on an F8) and represented half or more of the carrier fighters in the Gulf of Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The aircraft was credited with nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam.
The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were the C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie carried only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions as CAP (Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a heavier reinforced wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were used to attack ground targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo version launched with less fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and frequently arrived back at ship low on fuel. The RF models were equipped for photo reconnaissance.
The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar fighters. Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader pilots were recovered; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and released. The other 43 remained missing at the end of the war.
Capt. Carrol R. Beeler was the pilot of an F8J assigned a mission over North Vietnam on May 24, 1972. When Beeler was in the Haiphong Harbor region of North Vietnam, his aircraft was shot down and he was captured by the North Vietnamese.
For the next 10 months, Beeler was held in various prisoner of war camps, including the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" complex in Hanoi. He was released in the general prisoner release in 1973.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive today. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly held. It's time we brought our men home.
Carroll Beeler retired from the United States Navy as a Captain. He and his wife Scottie resided in Texas until his sudden death.
================== April 27, 2003
Carroll crashed during flight testing of a new design business jet on the afternoon of April 26. He had been working as engineering test pilot and chief test pilot for the past 6 years for a company in San Antonio called Sino Swearingen Aircraft Company. They had designed and built a business jet, SJ-30, (possibly a joint venture with a Chinese corporation.)
Extensive testing had been completed and Carroll had 550 hours in the SJ-30. They were near the milestone of FAA certification which would then move them into production. Carroll was alone in the plane and the other test pilot was in a chase T-38. They were doing the high speed flutter tests and the flight on Friday had gone well. Things had gone smoothly the day before and Carroll has just completed the tests, including the required test point. Suddenly his aircraft was observed to yaw/roll sharply to the right and from that point, and then "straight down at full power" to impact in a remote rugged area.
Carroll is survived by his wife Scotty, daughter Lee (21) top scholastic achievement in college and his mother, who is living with the family. A requiem mass will be held Wednesday, April 30th at the local church.