ROBERTSON, JOHN LEIGHTON Name: John Leighton Robertson Rank/Branch: O4/USAF pilot Unit: Ubon, Thailand 555th TFS Date of Birth: 11 October 1930 Home City of Record: Seattle WA Date of Loss: 16 September 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 211157N 1062558E (XJ487447) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C Other Personnel In Incident: Hubert E. Buchanan (released POW) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Update by the P.O.W. NETWORK March 1997 REMARKS: IN INTERROG PO60 TOLD SUBJ DIED SYNOPSIS: Maj. John L. Robertson was a highly valued member of the Inspector General's team that checked combat readiness of the nation's air bases when he wrote a 28-page letter requesting Vietnam service. When his request was granted and he was assigned to Ubon Air Base, Thailand, he was so elated that he did cartwheels and back flips around the family pool. On September 16, 1966, a four-plane squadron headed from Ubon for a railroad bridge in the Red River Delta. Robertson's plane was in the number three position designated "Moonglow 3", and his systems operator on the flight was 1Lt. Hubert E. Buchanan. The squadron came under heavy fire, Robertson's plane was hit and went down. Buchanan successfully ejected, and was taken prisoner. John Robertson's fate is unknown. When he was released in 1973, Buchanan supplied more information about the events of September 16, 1966. During his descent after ejection, Buchanan could not see above his parachute (the back-seater ejects first) to verify that Robertson had also ejected. He saw a large fire about one half mile away, but could not say with certainty that it was the plane or jettisoned fuel that was burning. Buchanan later reported that because the Vietnamese did not display any strong reaction to the lies he told them regarding his mission, he presumed that they were only hearing one (his) story. Further, another returned prisoner, Maj. Douglas B. Peterson, was shown Robertson's ID card during an interrogation session. If Robertson went down in a burning plane, how did his ID card survive? If he survived the crash, what happened to him? The Vietnamese have certain knowledge of the fate of John Robertson. Robertson's wife and four children still work to find information that will answer their questions. They wait as sightings of live Americans mount into the thousands. Barbara Robertson says, "I don't think about if it's Johnny (that's alive), but rather that there are live prisoners over there. My husband is so special, but each one of those men is so special, and each one is someone's husband or father or son." John L. Robertson was promoted to the rank of Colonel during the period he was maintained Missing in Action. Hubert E. Buchanan was promoted to the rank of Captain during his captivity.