SMITH, HOWARD HORTON
Name: Howard Horton Smith
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Unit:
Date of Birth: 25 June 1930
Home City of Record: Oklahoma City OK
Date of Loss: 30 September 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 172700N 1063200E (XE631311)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F105F
Refno: 1295
Other Personnel In Incident: Clifford W. Fieszel (missing)
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 2000 with information from George Fieszel.
REMARKS:
SYNOPSIS: The F105 Thunderchief (or "Thud") performed yoeman service on many
diversified missions in Southeast Asia. F105s flew more combat missions over
North Vietnam than any other USAF aircraft and consequently suffered the
heaviest losses in action. They dropped bombs by day and occasionally by
night from high or low altitude and some later versions (F105D in Wild
Weasel guise) attacked SAM sites with their radar tracking air-to-ground
missiles. This versatile aircraft was also credited with downing 25 Russian
MiGs.
Capt. Clifford Fieszel the pilot and Maj. Howard H. Smith was the
Electronic Warfare Officer of an F105 assigned a combat mission over North
Vietnam on September 30, 1968. During the mission, about 50 miles north of
the DMZ near Quang Khe, the aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire. Fieszel's
wingman had just been hit and headed out to sea, and did not see the plane
hit.
Search and rescue units monitored beeper signals for 24 hours after
Fieszel's plane went down, but were unable to rescue him or Smith. On the
following day, Radio Hanoi announced that two F105's had been shot down in
the Quang Khe and the pilot of the second plane had been captured. On
October 7 a Hanoi newspaper repeated the story. It was thought that the
Vietnamese believed the wingman's plane had also gone down since it was on
fire when it headed out to sea. No mention was made of Smith in either
report.
When the last American troops left Southeast Asia in 1975, some 2500
Americans were unaccounted for. Reports received by the U.S. Government
since that time build a strong case for belief that hundreds of these
"unaccounted for" Americans are still alive and in captivity.
Until the fates of the men like Fieszel and Smith are known, their families
will wonder if they are dead or alive .. and why they were deserted.
Howard H. Smith was promoted to the rank of Colonel and Clifford W. Fieszel
to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the period they were maintained
Missing in Action.