McDANIEL, EUGENE BAKER "RED"
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Name: Eugene Baker "Red" McDaniel
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: VA 35, USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN-65)
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Kinston NC (resides 1989 VA)
Date of Loss: 19 May 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 204537N 1052539E (WH445955)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Category:
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A
Missions: 81
Other Personnel In Incident: James K. Patterson (captured)
Refno:

Source: Compiled 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 in 1998.

REMARKS: 730304 - RELEASED BY DRV

SYNOPSIS: When nuclear powered USS ENTERPRISE arrived on Yankee Station on
December 2, 1965, she was the largest warship ever built. She brought with
her not only an imposing physical presence, but also an impressive component
of warplanes and the newest technology. By the end of her first week of
combat operations, the ENTERPRISE had set a record of 165 combat sorties in
a single day, surpassing the KITTY HAWK's 131. By the end of her first
combat cruise, her air wing had flown over 13,000 combat sorties. The record
had not been achieved without cost.

When the ENTERPRISE arrived in Vietnam on its second combat cruise, two of
its pilots were LtCdr. Eugene B. "Red" McDaniel and Lt. James K. Patterson,
an A6 "Intruder" team. The Intruder pilots were known to have, in the words
of Vice Admiral William F. Bringle, Commander Seventh Fleet, "an abundance
of talent, courage and aggressive leadership", and were sent on some of the
most difficult missions of the war.

On May 19, 1967 McDaniel was the pilot and Patterson the backseater aboard
an A6A with a mission to bomb a truck repair facility at Van Dien, Hai Duong
Province, North Vietnam. The aircraft was shot down, but both crew members
ejected safely from the aircraft and established voice radio contact with
other aircraft in the area.

Lt. Patterson badly broke his leg upon landing, but maintained radio contact
with rescue forces for a period of four days. On May 21, he reported that
enemy forces had taken a recovery kit which had been dropped to him and that
he had moved up a hill for safety. LtCdr. McDaniel was taken prisoner by the
North Vietnamese and taken to Hanoi.

During the nearly six years he was a prisoner of war, McDaniel never saw his
backseater. He continually asked about him, and was given conflicting
stories. In late 1967, he was told by a guard that Lt. Patterson had
recovered from his injuries. Partly because the Vietnamese seemed to be
toying with him by changing the story on Patterson, and partly because he
never saw or heard of his backseater, McDaniel finally came to the belief
that his backseater and friend had not been captured, but was dead.

McDaniel is noted for three things as a prisoner - his honor, his optimism
and faith in his country, and also for having been the prisoner who received
the most brutal torture at the hands of the Vietnamese.

"Red" McDaniel was released March 4, 1973 believing that Patterson and the
others who were not released were dead. It was not until he served the Navy
as a liason to Congress that he began to see evidence that Americans were
still alive in Southeast Asia. It was a heartbreaking realization.

When Captain McDaniel left the Navy, he formed The American Defense
Institute in order to foster patriotism in America's youth and to share with
other Americans what he learned about communism and why it must be fought at
every level. One of ADI's most important issues is that of missing Americans
in Southeast Asia.

In late 1986, a former NSA intelligence analyst stated that backseaters like
Patterson, who possessed technical knowledge surpassing that of the pilot
were singled out. The analyst stated that in the intelligence community
these men were dubbed, "MB", or "Moscow Bound". They would make valuable
trades to the Soviet Union for a heavily indebted Vietnam.

The same year, a Congressional team visiting the Central Identification
Laboratory learned that certain identification belonging to Patterson had
been given to the U.S. by the Vietnamese. This was clear evidence that the
Vietnamese knew what happened to James K. Patterson.

Today McDaniel does not know if James K. Patterson is alive or not, but he
is absolutely convinced that many Americans are alive, still held captive in
communist prisons in Southeast Asia, and has been a tireless leader in the
effort to force action leading to their honorable return.
 
McDaniel says, "It's a matter of our national honor to bring these men home.
We went to Vietnam prepared to be wounded or even to die. We went prepared
to be captured. But we were never prepared to be abandoned."


SOURCE: WE CAME HOME  copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
spelling errors).

EUGENE B. McDANIEL
Commander - United States Navy
Shot Down: May 19, 1967
Released: March 4, 1973

Commander Eugene "Red" McDaniel is a native of Kingston, North Carolina. He
graduated from Campbell Junior College and Elon College and entered the
Navy's flight program in 1955. He served with Attack Squadron 65, Attack
Squadron 42 at NAS Oceana, Virginia; served as Carrier Control Approach
Officer aboard the USS Independence. In November 1966, Commander McDaniel
deployed for Southeast Asia aboard the USS Enterprise with Attack Squadron
35. On May 19,1967, while flying his 81st combat mission over North Vietnam,
his A6A Intruder was shot down by a SAM missile 30 miles southwest of Hanoi.
For three years he was missing in action. In March 1970 the North Vietnamese
acknowledged that Commander McDaniel was a prisoner of war. On March 4, 1973
he was released by the North Vietnamese.

Commander McDaniel lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia, with  his wife,
Dorothy, and their three children, Mike, 16, David, 14, and Leslie, 11. He
has resumed his Navy career and has returned to flying, this time in a "more
friendly sky."

Of his experience as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese for six years,
Commander McDaniel says: "Even in my darkest moments, I never lost faith in
my God, country, and family. It was this faith that sustained me during
those long and difficult years. God was with us in Hanoi and I learned to
trust Him. I learned early in the game not to ash God to perform great
miracles, not to serve as a way of mental "escape," but I learned to ask Him
for patience and for the necessary strength to meet each day. I found God
adequate to supply that patience and strength. I thank God for sustaining me
and my fellow POW's. Now I pray that I shall never forget to praise Him and
that I shall have the courage to seek His will for my life.

"It was a long war, but I always knew my country and my fellow Americans
would not let us down. Despite a constant barrage of Communist propaganda, I
never lost faith in our great America. I believe our long captivity was
necessary to buy time for the South Vietnamese Army to gain the strength to
hold against Communist takeover. I consider it essential to our national
security for our allies in Southeast Asia to withstand Communist aggression.
I am proud to have had a part in that stand for freedom. In my opinion
President Nixon demonstrated great courage and skill in ending the Vietnam
War. The North Vietnamese told us we would never return, but I always knew
America would not allow that to happen. We wanted to return sooner, but most
of all we wanted to return with honor. The support of millions of Americans
made our return with honor possible, and never have I been prouder to be an
American. I have dedicated myself to work in any way I can to make our
nation even greater and stronger because my life as a POW made me love and
appreciate America more than ever before.

"My family is a tremendous joy to me on my return. I am proud of the way  my
wife and my three children "carried on" while I was away, and I am thankful
for their help in making my re-entry into the world a smooth one. The
knowledge of their love and support was a source of great strength to me
during the lonely days in my POW cell.

"My joy in my return is tempered by the knowledge that 5O,OOO Americans gave
their lives and cannot know the joy I now experience. I pray that their
families will know God's love in a special way - and that America will never
forget and will always honor their sacrifice."

Eugene McDaniel retired from the United States Navy as a Captain. He runs a
"think tank", the American Defense Institute in Virginia, where he and Dorothy
live. He is a firm believer Kelly Patterson is alive in the old Soviet
Union.

 

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