BROWN, THOMAS EDWARD Name: Thomas Edward Brown Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy Unit: Fighter Squadron 211, USS HANCOCK (CVA-19) Date of Birth: 21 September 1941 Home City of Record: Danville IL Date of Loss: 29 April 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 204458N 1070757E (YH220957) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8E Refno: 0324 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled 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 in 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: The Vought F-8 "Crusader" represented half or more of the carrier fighters in the Tonkin Gulf in the first four years of the Vietnam war. The Crusader sometimes played the role of decoy in battles against SAMs (surface to air missiles), tricking the radar controlled SAM battery to follow the F8 and allow following fighter/bombers to reach their targets. On these type missions the F8 carried no external armament, to attain better maneuverability and airspeed. The F8 also did much work in Vietnam in the ground attack role, and were used in the myriad attacks against strategic targets in North Vietnam (Rolling Thunder). The Crusader was also a MiG fighter, either escorting strike and reconnaissance aircraft or patrolling sectors in hope of engaging MiGs enroute to intercepting U.S. formations. The Crusader was credited with nearly 53% of all MiG kills during the war. From 1964 to 1973, 83 Crusaders were either lost or destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 aircraft needed major rebuilding. On April 29, 1966 LtJG Thomas E. Brown launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hancock in his F8E Crusader fighter aircraft with others from his squadron on a strike mission against targets in North Vietnam. Lt. Brown's aircraft was engaged in a strafing run on a surface vessel when his aircraft was seen to collide with a karst rock jutting out of the water 300 yards past the target. No ejection was seen by the wingman. Brown and the rest of the flight were striking in the vicinity of Haiphong Harbor, near the coastal city of Pho Cat Ba in North Vietnam. LtJG Brown was classified Killed/Body Not Recovered. The Defense Intelligence Agency further expanded the KIA/BNR classification to include an enemy knowledge ranking of 3. Category 3 indicates "doubtful knowledge" and includes personnel whose loss incident is such that it is doubtful that the enemy wound have knowledge of the specific individuals (e.g. aircrews lost over water or remote areas). Brown's name is carried on the rolls of the missing because his body was not found to be returned home. His family can be as certain as it is possible to be that he died a swift death on April 29, 1966. Other families of the missing, however cannot be so consoled. They are taunted by nearly 10,000 reports received which have convinced many authorities that hundreds of Americans remain alive in enemy hands in Southeast Asia. Brown may not be among those said to be alive, but what would he think of our efforts to bring these American fighting men home?