ROBBINS, RICHARD JOSEPH
09/27/96 REMAINS RETURNED

Name: Richard Joseph Robbins
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit:
Date of Birth: 31 October 1931
Home City of Record: Cleveland OH
Date of Loss: 19 April 1966
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 173257N 1054147E (WE742403)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A1E
Refno: 0306

Other Personnel in Incident: Joseph O. Brown (missing from nearby O1F)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1990 with the assistance
of 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: In Southeast Asia, all tactical strike aircraft had to be under
the control of a FAC, who was intimately familiar with the locale, the
populous, and the tactical situation. The FAC would find the target, order
up U.S. fighter/bombers from an airborne command and control center, mark
the target accurately with white phosphorus (Willy Pete) rockets, and
control the operation throughout the time the planes remained on station.
After the fighters had departed, the FAC stayed over the target to make a
bomb damage assessment (BDA).

The FAC also had to ensure that there were no attacks on civilians, a
complex problem in a war where there were no front lines and any hamlet
could suddenly become part of the combat zone. A FAC needed a fighter
pilot's mentality, but but was obliged to fly slow and low in such unarmed
and vulnerable aircraft as the Cessna O1 Bird Dog, and the Cessna O2.

The Douglas A1 Skyraider ("Spad") is a highly maneuverable, propeller-driven
aircraft designed as a multipurpose attack bomber or utility aircraft. The H
and J models were single seat aircraft, whereas the E model generally
carried two crewmen. The A1 was first used by the Air Force in its Tactical
Air Command to equip the first Air Commando Group engaged in
counterinsurgency operations in South Vietnam, and later used the aircraft
as escort for rescue units.

On April 19, 1966, an O1F Bird Dog and a A1E Spad were lost near Na Pho in
Khammouane Province, Laos. Their precise missions are not clear from public
records, and in fact, the Air Force cannot determine the unit assignment of
the O1F pilot, Capt. Joseph O. Brown. Both Brown and the A1 pilot, Capt.
Richard J. Robbins were lost in hostile situations, and both are listed as
Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered.

The Air Force reports that Brown's aircraft was on a FAC mission when his
aircraft was struck by hostile fire. Brown then radioed that part of the
right horizontal stabilizer had been blown off, and that he was going to a
higher altitude. The aircraft was observed to roll twice while in a steep
dive and crash. No parachute was seen, but white smoke was seen to rise from
the crash site. Unspecified evidence was received by the Department of the
Air Force on April 24, 1966 to confirm that Capt. Brown died at the time of
the incident.

Brown and Robbins are among nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos. Even though
the Pathet Lao stated publicly that they held "tens of tens" of American
prisoners, not one American held in Laos was ever released -- or negotiated
for. Tragically, since U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War ended, nearly
10,000 reports have been received by the U.S. Government relating to
Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many authorities have reluctantly
concluded that hundreds are still alive in captivity today. There is every
indication that the Lao can account for Robbins and Brown -- dead or alive.
It's time we brought our men home.


                                                [BITS0928.96 09/29/96]
NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF FAMILIES
FOR THE RETURN OF AMERICA'S MISSING SERVICEMEN
WORLD WAR II - KOREA - COLD WAR - VIETNAM

DOLORES ALFOND - 206-881-1499          BITS 'N' PIECES
LYNN O'SHEA ---- 718-846-4350
E-MAIL PGGK94A@PRODIGY.COM             SEPT. 28, 1996     

################

THE PENTAGON ANNOUNCED THE REMAINS IDENTIFICATION OF AIR FORCE CAPT.
RICHARD J. ROBBINS, OF PHOENIX, AZ.  CAPT. ROBBINS WAS LOST APRIL 19,
1966 DURING A SEARCH AND RESCUE MISSION OVER LAOS.  A JOINT U.S. -LAO
TEAM EXCAVATED THE CRASH SITE IN MAY OF 1995.  RECOVERED WERE "PERSONAL
EFFECTS, AIRCRAFT WRECKAGE AND HUMAN REMAINS."

TO THE ROBBINS FAMILY WE OFFER OUR PRAYERS AND SINCERE HOPE THAT YOU NOW
HAVE YOUR ANSWERS.