MILLS, JAMES BURTON
Name: James Burton Mills Rank/Branch: O2/U.S. Navy Unit: Fighter Squadron 21, USS CORAL SEA (CVA-43) Date of Birth: 31 August 1940 (Stigler OK) Home City of Record: Bakersfield CA Date of Loss: 21 September 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 191858N 1054300E (WG753358) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 4 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B Refno: 0465
Other Personnel In Incident: James R. Bauder (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 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.
SYNOPSIS: James Mills was the all-American boy. In high school, he earned letters every year in football, basketball and track and was selected as a class officer a number of times. While studying for his degree in Business Administration at the University of California at Berkeley, he participated in intramural sports and held offices in his fraternity, Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
Mills' naval training took him to Rhode Island, Florida, Georgia and California. His first tour of duty was onboard the USS MIDWAY as a radar intercept officer on an F4B Phantom, and he completed 148 missions over North Vietnam. He began a second tour onboard the USS CORAL SEA in 1966.
Lt.Cdr. James R. Bauder was a pilot assigned to Fighter Squadron 21 onboard the USS CORAL SEA (CVA 43). On September 21, 1966, Bauder and Lt.JG James B. Mills, the Naval Fighter Officer, launched with another F4B fighter jet from the USS CORAL SEA on a night armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. Bauder was the flight leader of the flight. The assigned route was from Cua Can to Thach Luyen along a river adjacent to Highway 1A.
Bauder briefed the mission for the two aircraft to penetrate the coast. The wingman, Lt. Hanley, was in a 4-5 mile radar trail. Capt. Bauder dropped his six flares at 3500 feet to illuminate the river for barges. His aircraft then executed a starboard turn to watch for flak and surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) as the wingman bombed targets of opportunity under the illumination of the flares. The wingman was then to proceed straight ahead off the target for 45 seconds and drop his flares. Bauder and Mills would follow him north in a 4-5 mile radar trail with the intention of bombing targets illuminated by the second series of flares.
The wingman attempted to contact Bauder by radio, but was unsucessful. He then checked with the USS CHICAGO and the E2A air control aircraft to see if they had radar contact with the leader's aircraft, but they did not. At no time were any flak or SAM firings observed by the crew of the wing aircraft. Neither crew member observed any explosions in the air or on the ground. No signals were detected from the emergency radios carried by both Bauder and Mills. An extensive search was conducted in the area during the night and early morning with negative results. Bauder and Mills and their aircraft disappeared. The two were placed in a Missing In Action category.
When 591 Americans were released in 1973, Bauder and Mills were not among them. They are two of nearly 2500 Americans who did not return from Indochina at the end of American involvement there. Unlike MIAs from other wars, most of the missing in Southeast Asia can be accounted for.
Tragically, over 1200 eye-witness reports have been received that indicate that some of these "MIAs" are actually held prisoner today. Whether James Bauder and James Mills are among them is unknown. But their families would like to know...and have them home, one way or another.
From - Wed May 17 12:16:29 2000
You may want to add the following:
Jim's immediate family has been involved in the National League of Families of American Prisoners and Missing in Southeast Asia since it's inception in 1970. His father, E.C. "Bus" Mills, was a board member for several years and the League Executive Director for one year in 1974. His mother, Lois, was Regional Coordinator for several years. His sister, Ann Mills Griffiths, had served on the board for several years and then has been Executive Director for over 20 years, currently serving in that capacity. His other sister, Judie Mills Taber, served as California Coordinator and Regional Coordinator for many years. His family remains committed to the return of all POWs, the fullest possible accounting of the missing, and the return of all recoverable remains. They appreciate the concern and active involvement of so many people who have stood firm in their commitment to this issue through the 33+ years that Jim has been MIA. There are over 150 relatives of Jim's who await word on his fate.
Judie Mills Taber