DAVIS, ROBERT CHARLES
REMAINS IDENTIFIED 10/30/96
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Name: Robert Charles Davis
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 609th Special Operations Squadron
Date of Birth: 23 May 1937
Home City of Record: Burlington NJ
Date of Loss: 23 March 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 170900N 1055200E (WD910980)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A26A
Refno: 1413
Other Personnel in Incident: James W. Widdis (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 1998.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: The Ban Karai Pass was one of several passes through the mountainous
border of Vietnam and Laos. U.S. aircraft through them regularly, and many
aircraft were lost. On the Laos side of the border coursed the "Ho Chi Minh
Trail", a road heavily traveled by North Vietnamese troops moving materiel and
personnel to their destinations through the relative safety of neutral Laos. The
return ratio of men lost in and around the passes is far lower than that of
those men lost in more populous areas, even though both were shot down by the
same enemy and the same weapons. This is partly due to the extremely rugged
terrain and resulting difficulty in recovery.

The Douglas A26 was a twin-engine attack bomber with World War II service. In
Vietnam, it served the French in the 1950's and also the U.S. in the early years
of American involvement in Southeast Asia. In 1966, eight A26s were deployed to
Nakhon Phanom (NKP) to perform hunter-killer missions against truck convoys in
southern Laos.

Some of these A26s were assigned to the 609th Special Operations Squadron at
NKP. On March 23, 1969, an A26A departed NKP on a combat mission with a crew
consisting of Capt. James W. Widdis Jr., pilot, and Capt. Robert C. Davis,
navigator. As the two were about 15 miles west of the Ban Karai Pass, the
aircraft was struck by hostile fire.

No parachutes were seen and no beepers were heard, but the opportunity existed
for the two to safely eject, and they were listed missing in action. Davis was
determined presumed dead in 1975, and Widdis in 1978. During the period they
were listed missing, Widdis was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and
Davis to Major.

Davis and Widdis are among nearly 2500 Americans who remain missing in
Indochina. Unlike "MIAs" from other wars, most of these men can be accounted
for. Tragically, over 10,000 reports concerning Americans prisoner, missing or
unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. since the end
of the war. Experts say that the evidence is overwhelming that Americans were
left behind in enemy hands. Widdis and Davis could be among them.


DEFENSE POW/MIA WEEKLY UPDATE -
OCTOBER 30, 1996

AIR FORCE LT. COL. JAMES W. WIDDIS OF NEWARK, N.J.; AIR FORCE MAJ. ROBERT C.
DAVIS OF BURLINGTON, N.J.; LOST MARCH 23, 1969 - LAOS.  JOINT FIELD
ACTIVITIES IN 1994 AND 1995 RESULTED IN THE RECOVERY OF "AIRCRAFT WRECKAGE
AND HUMAN REMAINS.  THE REMAINS OF DAVIS WERE INDIVIDUALLY IDENTIFIED AND
REMAINS OF BOTH MEN WERE INCLUDED IN A GROUP REMAINS IDENTIFICATION.
MITOCHONDRIAL DNA TESTING AIDED IN CONFIRMING THE IDENTIFICATION OF DAVIS."