CONLEY, EUGENE OGDEN Remains Returned 06/22/89 ID 07/15/2002
Name: Eugene Ogden Conley Rank/Branch: O5/US Air Force Unit: 354th Tactical Fighter Squadron Date of Birth: 24 October 1927 Home City of Record: Akron OH Date of Loss: 21 January 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 213059N 1054659E (WJ794812) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D Refno: 0579 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 2002.
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. They dropped bombs by day and occasionally by night from high or low altitude and some later versions (F105D in Wild Weasel guise) attacked SAM sites with their radar tracking air-to-ground missiles. This versatile aircraft was also credited with downing 25 Russian MiGs.
LtCol. Eugene O. Conley was the pilot of an F105D which was on a combat mission over North Vietnam on January 21, 1967. About 5 miles from Thai Nguyen in Bac Thai Province, Conley's aircraft encountered hostile ground fire and was observed to exit a large fireball, go into a dive and impact the ground in a near-vertical attitude. Observers saw to parachute and no beeper was heard.
For Conley, death seems a certainty. For hundreds of others, however, simple answers are not possible. Adding to the torment of over 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia is the certain knowledge that some Americans who were known to be prisoners of war were not released at the end of the war. Others were suspected to be prisoners, and still others were in radio contact with would-be rescuers when last seen alive. Many were known to have survived their loss incidents, only to disappear without a trace.
The problem of Americans still missing torments not only the families of those who are missing, but the men who fought by their sides, and those in the general public who realize the full implication of leaving men unaccounted for at the end of a war.
Tragically, many authorities believe there are hundreds of Americans still alive in captivity in Southeast Asia today. What must they be thinking of us? What will our next generation say if called to fight if we are unable to bring these men home from Southeast Asia?