RINGSDORF, HERBERT BENJAMIN
DEACEASED
Name: Herbert Benjamin Ringsdorf
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 47th TFS
Date of Birth: 16 September 1939
Home City of Record: Elba AL
Date of Loss: 11 November 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 170000N 1065800E (YD108825)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Category:
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C
Missions: 90
Other Personnel in Incident: Richard L. Butt (remains returned); nearby F4C
same day: Robert I. Biss; Harold D. Monlux (both released)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project  01 April 1991 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 with information from Lillian Ringsdorf.  2011
REMARKS: RELSD 730218 BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served
a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2),
and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission
type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and
high altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes
around.
On November 11, 1966, two F4C aircraft were shot down about 5 miles west of
the city of Vinh Linh in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. The crew of one
consisted of pilot 1Lt. Herbert B. Ringsdorf and weapons/system operator
1Lt. Richard L. Butt. Of this crew, both were apparently captured, but only
Ringsdorf was released at the end of the war. The Department of Defense
received intelligence that Butt was dead, but evidently did not feel it was
compelling enough to declare Butt Killed in Action, as he remained in
Prisoner of War status for several years.
On April 10, 1986, Butt's remains were "discovered" and returned by the
Vietnamese and positively identified. For twenty years, Richard L. Butt was
a prisoner of war - alive or dead.
The crew of the second F4C to be shot down on November 11, 1966 was 1Lt.
Harold D. Monlux and Capt. Robert I. Biss. Both men were captured and
released at the end of the war.
There is some confusion as to the location of the loss incidents of these
four individuals. While the loss coordinates place all four in Quang Binh
Province, certain records indicate that Biss and Monlux were lost in the
next province to the north, Ha Tinh. Their grid coordinates (YD108825 and
YD093804) are close enough to be all in Quang Binh Province.
Since the war ended, over 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. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned
American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return
unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the
honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly
held. It's time we brought our men home.
Richard Butt, Herbert Ringsdorf and Harold Monlux were promoted to the rank
of Captain during the period they were maintained Prisoner of War. Robert
Biss was promoted to the rank of Major.
 
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
HERBERT B. RINGSDORF
Captain - United States Air Force
Shot Down: November 11, 1966
Released: February 12, 1973
                    
Captain Ringsdorf was shot down in his F4C aircraft on a combat mission over
North Vietnam on November 11,  1966. He joined the Air Force in 1963 shortly
after graduating from the University of Alabama with a degree in Chemistry.
Until his return from North Vietnam, Captain Ringsdorf had remained a
bachelor. Then, Governor and Mrs. George Wallace introduced him to Gloria
Gayden. On May 3, 1973 they were married in the Maxwell Air Force Base
Chapel, Montgomery, Alabama with Governor Wallace and his wife, Cornelia
Wallace, as members of the wedding party.
 
February 1998
Dr. Herbert Ringsdorf, MD resided in Alabama until his death from a heart
attack in February of 1998. He is survived by his daughter, Lillian.

Letter to the editor)
                       Dr. Ben treated patients for free
     I am writing in response to the Feb 20 article about Dr Herbert
Benjamin Ringsdorf, the Vietnam veteran who was found dead of an apparent
heart attack...Dr. Ben had a side to him that the article failed to
recognize.  He was an outstanding, caring physician.
     17 years abo when Dr Ben opened his practiced, he became our family
doctor and friend.  My son was 1 year old at the time and very ill.  Dr Ben
left a party one night to make a house call to see my son.  I didn't find
out until later that it was his own party of congratulations for opening his
own private practice.
     Several years later I helped in his office one week while his secretary
was on vacation.  He had me bill numerous patients $3 or no charge.  I asked
him why.  He told me they were on fixed incomes or that they just couldn't
pay.  How many doctors do that?
     This man was an outstanding doctor in too many ways to even begin to
write about.  I know many Mobilians will remember him in this way, not as
the POW who owed the government money.
Vicki L. Stambuk
Mobile

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