CAPLING, ELWYN REX Remains Returned 18 March 1977 Name: Elwyn Rex Capling Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 15 July 1930 Home City of Record: Detroit MI Date of Loss: 19 September 1968 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 170300NN 1065500E (YD120920) Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F105F Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 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. REMARKS: SRV RET REMS TO PCOM 770318 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. Maj. Elwyn R. Capling was the pilot of an F105F aircraft sent on a mission in North Vietnam on September 19, 1968. During the mission, Capling's aircraft was shot down over Quang Binh Province. Other pilots in the flight observed Maj. Capling's successful ejection and landing on the ground. By radio, Capling reported his leg was broken and requested help. Because of the heavy concentration of North Vietnamese forces in the immediate area, rescue attempts were impossible. Records on American military personnel were maintained in various government agencies. Raw intelligence data from Southeast Asia frequently first found its way into the files of the organization which came to be known as Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC). Many analysts believed JCRC records were the most complete and authoritative, since they contained largely raw data without benefit of much analytical "muddling". In November 1973, JCRC received a cable from Defense Intelligence Agency which was copied to various high stations, including CIA, the Secretary of State and the White House. The cable stated JCRC should "take necessary action to delete any references pertaining to PW [Prisoner of War] status and place members in a new MIA code" the files of Capling and several others. Whether JCRC had positive intelligence that indicated Capling had been captured is unknown. Since American involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in Indochina have been received by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having examined this largely classified information, have reluctantly concluded that many Americans are still alive today, held captive by our long-ago enemy. Whether Capling was actually captured by the enemy is not known. However, it is clear that someone knows what happened to him between September 19, 1968 and the time his remains were returned nearly 11 years later. It is also certain that as long as even one American remains alive, held against his will, we owe him our very best efforts to bring him to freedom.