HOLLEY, TILDEN STEWART Name: Tilden Stewart Holley Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Da Nang Date of Birth: 04 June 1935 Home City of Record: Cameron TX Date of Loss: 20 January 1968 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 174000N 1062900E (XE573537) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C Refno: 0998 Other Personnel in Incident: James A. Ketterer (missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 with the assistance of 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: EJECTED; KILLED IN SHOOTOUT 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. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around. Capt. Tilden S. Holley was the pilot of an F4C in a flight of two aircraft dispatched from Da Nang on a night armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. An armed reconnaissance mission's purpose was to seek out enemy targets and strike them. Holley's backseater on the mission was 1Lt. James A. Ketterer, whose responsibility was to operate the bombing equipment and other technical equipment onboard the aircraft. While striking a target near the city of Quang Khe in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam, flight members observed an orange streak of light through the clouds while Holley's aircraft was making passes over the target. A brief beeper was heard after the light was seen, but no radio transmissions were received and no parachutes were observed. Evidently, the aircraft had been hit by enemy fire. Even though the Air Force states that no parachutes were seen, and no emergency radio beepers were heard, subsequent information is included in the Defense Department raw data which may reveal the fates of Ketterer and Holley. The DIA notation on Holley's incident indicates that he successfully ejected from the aircraft, but was killed in a shootout with enemy troops in the area. Ketterer's DIA remarks simply state he is dead, and list the report code numbers. Because these men were not found presumptively dead until 1978, it must be concluded that the DIA reports relating to the two were not confirmed. If they had been confirmed reports, these two men would have had timely status changes to Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered. The possibility exists, therefore, that the two did not die at the point they reached the ground. The possibility exists, also, that the two were captured alive. Since American involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in Indochina have been received by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having examined this largely classified information, have reluctantly concluded that many Americans are still alive today, held captive by our long-ago enemy. All the information on Holley, Ketterer, and hundreds of other Americans is not yet in. As long as reports continue to be received, the hope that some of them are still alive will persist. Until Vietnam is totally forthcoming with information -- or live prisoners -- and until the U.S. makes the return of these men a priority item, there can be no end to the war. It's time we brought our men home.