DOWNING, DONALD WILLIAM Name: Donald William Downing Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron Date of Birth: 17 March 1934 Home City of Record: Janesville WI Date of Loss: 05 September 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 171100N 1065400E (YE021007) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C Refno: 0829 Other Personnel in Incident: Paul D. Raymond; on another F4C nearby: Thomas P. Hanson; Carl D. Miller (all 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 Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around. 1Lt. Paul D. Raymond and Maj. Carl D. Miller were F4 pilots who were sent on a combat mission over Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam on September 5, 1967. Raymond's bombardier/navigator on the flight was Capt. Donald W. Downing, while Miller's was 1Lt. Thomas P. Hanson. Both aircraft crashed on their missions near the coast of Vietnam. Raymond and Downing went down about 10 miles north of the city of Vinh Linh, while Miller and Hanson went down about 20 miles north of Vinh Linh. All four were classified Missing in Action, and it is believed the Vietnamese could account for them, alive or dead. 591 American Prisoners of War were released in 1973, but nearly 2500 were not. Thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. Government that indicate hundreds of Americans are still alive and held captive in Southeast Asia, yet the government seems unable or unwilling to successfully achieve their release. Policy statements indicate that "conclusive proof" is not available, but when it is, the government will act. Detractors state that proof is in hand, but the will to act does not exist. Whether the four airmen missing on September 5, 1967 survived to be captured is not known. Whether they are among those believed to be still alive today is uncertain. What cannot be questioned, however, is that America has a moral and legal obligation to secure the freedom of those who may still be illegally held by the communist governments of Southeast Asia. It's time we brought our men home. During the period they were maintained missing, Miller was promoted to the rank of Colonel, Downing to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Hanson to the rank of Major and Raymond to the rank of Captain. Paul D. Raymond graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1965.