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.