PAINTER, JOHN ROBERT JR. Name: John Robert Painter, Jr. Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy Unit: Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 130, Detachment 3 Date of Birth: 15 March 1945 Home City of Record: Vineyard Haven MA Date of Loss: 18 June 1971 Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water Loss Coordinates: 185559N 1072457E (YF544950) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 5 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: EKA3B Refno: 1755 Other Personnel In Incident: Barry A. Bidwell; Raymond V. DeBlasio (both 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. REMARKS: CRASH IN WATER - N RADI - N SURV - J SYNOPSIS: Lt. John R. Painter, Jr. was a pilot assigned to Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 130, Detachment 3. On June 18, 1971, he launched in his EKA3B Skywarrior aircraft on an operational flight. The other crew onboard the aircraft that day consisted of LTJG Raymond V. DeBlasio and ADJ2 Barry A. Bidwell. The A3 Skywarrior is a three-place light bomber, reconnaisance plane, electronic warfare craft or aerial tanker, depending upon its outfitting. The Skywarrior flown by Painter aircraft was outfitted to serve as the tanker aircraft, prepared to render valuable assistance to other aircraft returning to the ship with very little fuel. This was an extremely important job, as some types of fighter aircraft launched with a minimum amount of fuel in order to accomodate a heavier bomb load, and sometimes arrived back at ship low on fuel. Upon launch, Painter's aircraft had some mechanical failure and crashed into the Gulf of Tonkin. No remains were recovered for the crew. They were listed as Reported Dead/Body Not Recovered and as a Non-Battle casualty. The three-man crew were listed as killed, body not recovered. They are among over 2300 Americans who remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam war. The cases of some, like Painter, DeBlasio and Bidwell seem clear - that they perished and cannot be recovered. Unfortunately, mounting evidence indicates that hundreds of Americans are still captive, waiting for the country they proudly served to secure their freedom. In our haste to leave an unpopular war, it now appears we abandoned some of our best men. In our haste to heal the wounds of this same war, will we sign their death warrants? Or will we do what we can to bring them home?