McDOW, Richard H. Name: Ricahrd H. McDow Rank/Branch: United States Air Force/O2 Unit: Date of Birth: Home City of Record: Columbia AL Date of Loss: 27 June 1972 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 210000 North 1043000 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E Flew the A10 in Desert Storm Missions: Other Personnel in Incident: REFNO: 1885 Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. REMARKS: 730328 RELEASED BY DRV
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). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO RICHARD H. McDOW First Lieutenant - United States Air Force Shot Down: June 27, 1972 Released: March 28, 1973 I am a relatively short-timer both in time in service and time in captivity. I came on active duty in February of 1970 after graduating from the University of Alabama in January of the same year. I was released from Hanoi March 28 1973 after 9 months and l day of imprisonment. The three years of military service I have seen have been marked with many enjoyable experiences and needless to say, some rather horrifying times also. I greatly enjoyed the year and a half that I spent in training as a Navigator and later in the F4 in California and the many different areas of the U. S. that I saw in my Air Force travels. I will also look back with pride and satisfaction on my tour of duty with the "Gunfighters," the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing, at DaNang and Tahkli. The "not so enjoyable times" began on June 27, 1972. Our four F4s were flying as a Mig Cap for a SAR (Search and Rescue) mission after we had completed our primary mission of escorting two flights of F-4s into the Hanoi area for a chaff drop. We were searching an area approximately 70 miles almost due west of Hanoi. During our search, two Migs got behind us without our seeing them and fired at least two air-to-air missiles. The aircraft that I was in and our number four aircraft were hit. Our plane went out of control immediately and was tumbling and vibrating quite severely. There was no hope of regaining control so we (the pilot and I) ejected at approximately 5000 feet above the ground. The crew of number four also ejected. We were fortunate that all four crew members were able to eject and reach the ground safely. The pilot of number four was severely injured, but he, along with my pilot, were rescued. The other navigator, Capt. Tom Hanton, and myself were captured. It took about three days to reach Hanoi - the first day and a half I walked, the last half of the trip, I rode in a jeep-type vehicle. During the trip, we stopped and I was put on display in about ten different villages. The reaction of the people varied from a seeming indifference, to curiosity, and to open hostility. Fortunately, the militia that were with me saw fit to keep the more hostile elements of the populace away from me. The general treatment of the POW's had changed for the better in 1969. This, in my opinion, was the result of the mass pressure applied to North Vietnam by the millions of concerned people in the United States and elsewhere who demanded by petitions and letters, that the treatment of the POW's be improved. During my stay, there were still occasional incidents of torture and "roughing up" but nothing on the scale that had existed previous to 1969. I learned much during my internment - about myself, others, and especially about our enemy- Communism. I came home greatly valuing the friendships formed in prison, with a greater love for my family and country, and a stronger faith in God. Thank you all, each and every one of you, because of the role that you played in bringing us home. God Bless You.
Richard McDow retired from the United States Air Force as a Lt. Colonel. He lives in South Carolina.