DAVIS, EDGAR FELTON Name: Edgar Felton Davis Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Udorn Airfield, Thailand Date of Birth: 15 December 1935 Home City of Record: Goldsboro NC Date of Loss: 17 September 1968 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 162900N 1061500E (XD380370) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: RF4C Refno: 1279 Other Personnel in Incident: (pilot rescued) 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 RF4C was a modification of the McDonnell Douglas Phantom II fighter/bomber jet used extensively in Souteast Asia. The RF4C was equipped with photographic and electronic detection equipment and used for reconnaissance. Inherent hazards were the twin vapor trails enabling the craft to be seen from a distance, and ejecting photo flash cartridges, which gave necessary light, but also signalled the position of the aircraft. Ed Davis was the "backseater" on such an aircraft when it was shot down during an operational mission about 15 miles south of the city of Sepone in Savannakhet Province, Laos on September 17, 1968. The pilot of the aircraft ejected successfully and was subsequently rescued, but Davis was not located. Ed Davis had special electronic training that made him particularly valuable to the Air Force. It also made him potentially valuable to the enemy. Statistical research shows that in similar flight teams, the survival and release rate of the pilots far exceeds that of their specially trained backseathers. It is thought that many of these men were captured and held beyond the end of the war for their technical ability, and that some were transferred to other countries, such as the Soviet Union in trade for enormous war debts. Certain U.S. Government analysts called these men "MB" or "Moscow Bound". Whether Ed Davis survived to be captured and saved for his technical ability is not known. He is one of nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos who never returned. Although the Pathet Lao stated on several occasions that they held American POWs, they insisted that the U.S. deal directly with them for their release. The U.S. has never negotiated with the Pathet Lao for the freedom of Americans held there.