MILLER, ROBERT LESTER

Name: Robert Lester Miller
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit:
Date of Birth: 11 August 1938
Home City of Record: Salinas CA
Date of Loss: 07 March 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 193000N 1064900E (XG906570)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8E
Refno: 0609
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 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.

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS: The Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in
Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of Tonkin
reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North Vietnam during
Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively by the Navy and
Marine air wings (although there is one U.S. Air Force pilot reported shot down
on an F8) and represented half or more of the carrier fighters in the Gulf of
Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The aircraft was credited with
nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam.

The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were the C,
D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie carried only
Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions as CAP (Combat
Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a heavier reinforced
wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were used to attack ground
targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo version launched with less
fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and frequently arrived back at ship
low on fuel. The RF models were equipped for photo reconnaissance.

The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar fighters.
Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or destroyed by
enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader pilots were
recovered; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and released. The
other 43 remained missing at the end of the war.

Lt. Robert L. Miller was the pilot of an F8E conducting a combat mission over
North Vietnam on March 7, 1967. At a point about 65 miles east of the city of
Thanh Hoa, Miller's aircraft crashed in the Gulf of Tonkin. It is surmised,
since his loss is listed as hostile, that Miller's aircraft had been hit by
enemy fire and was headed out to open sea to facilitate rescue. There was little
hope that Miller survived the crashof his aircraft and he was listed Killed/Body
Not Recovered.

Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans
missing, prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the
U.S. Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive
today. Fighter pilots in Vietnam were called upon to fly in many dangerous
circumstances, and were prepared to be wounded, killed, or captured. It probably
never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they proudly
served.