GILCHRIST, ROBERT MICHAEL Name: Robert Michael Gilchrist Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 27 November 1940 Home City of Record: Littleton CO Date of Loss: 07 October 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 174800N 1062900E (XE572685) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 3 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: RF4C Refno: 0486 Other Personnel In Incident: Eugene M. Pabst (missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 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 F4 Phantom served a variety of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two-man craft was very 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 all altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around. 1Lt. Robert M. Gilchrist was an Air Force pilot who flew a reconnaissance version of the Phantom, the RF4C. On October 7, 1966, Gilchrist and his backseater, 1Lt. Eugene M. Pabst were sent on a reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam near the city of Ba Don. During the mission, Gilchrist's aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed. Both men were listed as Missing In Action. The U.S. believes that the Vietnamese could account for both of them. Since the fall of Saigon in 1975, tens of thousands of refugees have fled Southeast Asia bringing with them stories of Americans still held in communist prisons. To date, the U.S. Government maintains that none of the reports can be verified, although intelligence assets are "fully focused" on the region. Whether Gilchrist and Pabst survived to be captured is unknown. But it seems clear that hundreds of Americans are still alive, waiting to come home. Men like Gilchrist and Pabst become the leaders of our nation. We must find the formula to free them. We cannot afford to abandon our best. Robert M. Gilchrist graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1963. Robert M. Gilchrist and Eugene M. Pabst were promoted to the rank of Major during the period they were maintained Missing in Action.