BRUCH, DONALD WILLIAM, JR.
Remains identified May 2016

Name: Donald William Bruch, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit:
Date of Birth: 27 August 1941
Home City of Record: Montclair NJ
Date of Loss: 29 April 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 213258N 1055100E (WJ880831)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 1
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D
Refno: 0322
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 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 2016.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: The F105 Thunderchief ("Thud"), in its various versions, flew more
missions against North Vietnam than any other U.S. aircraft. It also suffered
more losses, partially due to its vulnerability, which was constantly under
revision. Between 1965 and 1971, the aircraft was equipped with armor plate, a
secondary flight control system, an improved pilot ejection seat, a more
precise navigation system, better blind bombing capability and ECM pods for the
wings. The D version was a single-place aircraft. 

Eighty-six F-105Ds fitted with radar homing and warning gear formed the
backbone of the Wild Weasel program, initiated in 1965 to improve the Air
Force's electronic warfare capability. Upon pinpointing the radar at a missile
site, the Wild Weasel attacked with Shrike missiles that homed on radar
emissions. The versatile aircraft was also credited with downing 25 Russian
MiGs. Thirteen of these modified F's were sent to Southeast Asia in 1966.

On April 29, 1966, 1Lt. Donald W. Bruch Jr., was the pilot of an F105D sent on
a combat mission over North Vietnam. As his aircraft was about 12 miles
northeast of the city of Hanoi, it was struck by antiaircraft fire while making
an attack on the target. Lt. Bruch was instructed to climb and as he did the
aircraft went out of control, entered a steep dive, and crashed. No parachutes
were seen and no beepers were heard. Donald Bruch was not recovered.

Public records available from the U.S. Air Force indicate only that 1Lt. Bruch
was killed on April 29, 1966 on a combat mission. The Defense Intelligence
Agency further refines the classification of Killed/Body Not Recovering by
adding an enemy knowledge qualifier of Category, concluding that the enemy
definitely knows his fate.

When the war ended, and 591 American Prisoners of War were released from
communist prisons, Bruch was not among them. Military officials expressed their
dismay that "hundreds" of suspected prisoners were not released. Then-Secretary
of State Henry Kissinger gave the Vietnamese a list of these so-called
"discrepancy cases" requesting further information and clarification.
Inexplicably, 1Lt. Bruch's name did not appear on the list, and although
evidence apparently exists to prove otherwise, the Vietnamese deny knowledge of
1Lt. Donald W. Bruch.

Since 1975, when American involvement ended in Southeast Asia, nearly 10,000
reports relating to the Missing and Prisoner in Southeast Asia have been
received by the U.S. Government. Many who have seen this classified information
believe that hundreds of Americans remain alive in captivity today.

Although 1Lt. Bruch is evidently not among them, his death, as well as the
deaths of nearly 60,000 young Americans can have no honor or meaning as long as
even one American fighting man is abandoned to enemy hands. It's time we brought
an end to the Vietnam war and brought our men home.

May 24, 2016

http://argunners.com/usaf-pilot-missing-since-vietnam-war-finally-accounted/

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Donald W. Bruch, Jr., 24, of Montclair, New Jersey, will be buried May 29 in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania.
On April 29, 1966, Bruch was assigned to the 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, as a pilot of an F-105D aircraft. Bruch was flying
en route to attack a target north of Hanoi, ...
 

News Releases

Airman Missing From Vietnam War Accounted For (Bruch)

16-031 | May 23, 2016

The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Donald W. Bruch, Jr., 24, of Montclair, New Jersey, will be buried May 29 in East Petersburg, Pennsylvania. On April 29, 1966, Bruch was assigned to the 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, as a pilot of an F-105D aircraft. Bruch was flying en route to attack a target north of Hanoi, Vietnam, when his aircraft was struck by enemy anti-aircraft artillery. Witnesses saw Bruchís aircraft impact the ground, and no ejection or parachute was noted. Bruch was declared missing in action after the crash. On May 4, 1966, a military review board amended his status to deceased.

After numerous joint U.S./Socialist Republic of Vietnam (S.R.V.) investigations dating back to 1988, excavation of a crash site believed to be Bruchís began during a joint U.S./S.R.V. mission in October and November 2011, finding some human remains and material evidence. Subsequent recovery missions were necessary in October and November 2012, and November and December 2013, to complete the excavation of this difficult crash site and a burial site.

To identify Bruchís remains, scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory used mitochondrial DNA analysis, which matched his sister, as well as circumstantial and material evidence.

The support from the government of Vietnam was vital to the success of these recovery missions.

Today there are 1,620 Americans that are still unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

For additional information on the Defense Departmentís mission to account for Americans who went missing while serving our country, visit the DPAA website at www.dpaa.mil or call (703) 699-1420.