McDANIEL, EUGENE BAKER "RED" 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.