SMITH, VICTOR ARLON
Name: Victor Arlon Smith Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 28 February 1943 Home City of Record: Silver Spring MD Date of Loss: 17 January 1969 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 164600N 1062100E (XD315435) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 1361
Other Personnel in Incident: James Fegan; pilot - rescued
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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 2002.
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. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.
Capt. Victor A. Smith was trained to serve as systems operator in the Phantom. Smith, who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1965, had served a tour in the U.S. Marine Corps before attending the Academy and joining the Air Force.
On January 17, 1969, Smith was sent on a mission over Laos. When his aircraft was about 10 miles northeast of the city of Sepone in Savannakhet Province, it was shot down. Smith, the rear-seater, would, according to procedure, have ejected from the aircraft first. Thus it would not be unusual for him to be separated from his pilot by some distance.
Nearly 600 Americans were shot down in Laos by the same missiles and anti-aircraft fire used in Vietnam. The percentage of survival should have been roughly the same. Yet, because of our unwillingness to negotiate with a government faction we did not recognize, these men were abandoned.
Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. While many authorities, having examined this largely-classified information have concluded that hundreds of them are still alive, the U.S. Government cannot seem to make up its mind.
Meanwhile, men like Victor Smith may be alive wondering why the country they proudly served has not come for them.
============================== Date: Sat, 23 Mar 2002 12:36:52 +0000 Subject: SOCIETY OF COMBAT SEARCH AND RESCUE SEMINAR
TO: All of our CSAR members associates and friends (Sandys, Jollys, Nails, Hobos, Spads, Crowns, Survivors, or anyone else that has been, and/or supports, the CSAR mission).
YOU ARE INVITED TO OUR 2002 MEETING AND SAR PRESENTATIONS AT THE USAF MUSEUM, DAYTON OHIO.
SITUATION: We unfortunately did not get any support from the Fighter Weapons School at Nellis this year, but we do have a great opportunity to assemble at Dayton/Wright Patterson AFB, USAF Museum, for the briefings by the participants of two very interesting rescues, and again share in our common CSAR comradery. The USAF Museum, through the efforts of Darrel Whitcomb, has warmly invited Darrel to be the narrator for the Oyster 01B (Roger Locher) debrief, see below. The USAF Museum there at Wright Patt, if you've not visited, has many aviation artifacts, to include Bernie Fisher's A-1 - a great opportunity in addition to our CSAR. With the Oyster Briefing and George Marrett's briefing of Stormy 02 (see below), should be a day to remember.
A tentative schedule looks like this: Thursday, 30 May - Arrive and Register - Sandy Box Friday, 31 May - Tour AF Museum Sandy Box Business Meeting
Saturday, 1 Jun - Briefings; Oyster and Stormy, at Museum Banquet @ 1900 Sandy Box Sunday - 2 Jun - Windup and departures.
As we get closer to the date, we will be providing more details on costs, who to contact on hotel accommodation options, but now, we urgently need a head count for planning. We would greatly appreciate some feed back if you think you can make the gathering - even if not sure, a maybe helps. Please let me, return mail at Gmccormac@knology.net or John Carlson at firstname.lastname@example.org soonest.
RESCUES BEING PRESENTED
Oyster 02B: On May 10th, 1972, a large force of USAF fighter aircraft attacked targets in the Hanoi area. It was the first day of OPERATION LINEBACKER. In a large air battle northwest of Hanoi, a USAF F-4, call sign Oyster 02, was shot down. The WSO, Capt. Roger Locher, was able to eject. He landed near the Yen Bai Airfield, home to numerous MiG 21s and Capt. Locher evaded for 22 days before making contact with another flight of USAF aircraft. A rescue task force of A-1s and HH-53s was immediately dispatched. But enemy SAMS, AAA and MiGs drove off the force. The next Day the commander of 7th Air Force, General John Vogt, personally authorized a massive rescue operation. Another large force of A-1s and HH-53s, this time supported by waves of F-105s, F-4s and numerous other support aircraft were able to penetrate to within sight of Hanoi and bring the young Captain back to freedom. It is an epic story of bravery and heroism.
Stormy 02B: On January 17, 1969 an F-4, Stormy 02, was shot down west of Tchepone. The front seater, Capt Victor Smith, did not get out, but the back seater, Lt James Fegen, did successfully eject. Early during the rescue efforts , the 602nd (Sandy Sqdn) Deputy CO, Lt. Col. Pete Morris was shot down. The following day, January 18th, there were now two separate SARs going on. Stormy 02B was satisfactorily rescued, but the rescue of Sandy 2 became more challenging. During Sandy 2's rescue, Sandy 10, "Wild Bill" Coady crashed and did not survive as witnessed by Jolly Green 17, "Tiny" Bill Warwick who was holding in a SAR orbit. Now the SAR force is Sandys 13 and 14, along with Jolly Green 67; this team went in and picked up Pete Morris, but on the climb out, Jolly Green 67 was hit by ground fire and subsequently crashed. Now there were 6 on the ground, but Jolly Green 70 arrives and saves the day working with Sandys 13 and 14, picked up Jolly Green 67's crew, which had some critically wounded men, along with Pete Morris. This is another mission of much skill and bravery.
NETWORK NOTE: Original biographies were written from information in casualty
reports shared decades ago, before invasion of privacy laws closed that
access. It is why corrections are appended - and original bios NOT edited.
From: Larry Vrooman
Subject: Error in Victor Arlon Smith file
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2009 19:04:24 -0400
Capt Smith is erroneously listed as the weapons systems officer and this error implies that as the first crewman to eject, he was known to have ejected from the aircraft given that James Fegan successfully ejected.
The file states:
“Capt. Victor A. Smith was trained to serve as systems operator in the
Phantom. Smith, who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1965, had served
a tour in the U.S. Marine Corps before attending the Academy and joining the
On January 17, 1969, Smith was sent on a mission over Laos. When his
aircraft was about 10 miles northeast of the city of Sepone in Savannakhet
Province, it was shot down. Smith, the rear-seater, would, according to
procedure, have ejected from the aircraft first. Thus it would not be
unusual for him to be separated from his pilot by some distance.”
Previous to this it lists “Other Personnel in Incident: James Fegan; pilot – rescued”
Near the bottom of the page it provides an overview of a rescue presentation of Stormy 2B and states:
“The front seater, Capt Victor Smith, did not get out, but the back seater, Lt James Fegen, did successfully eject.
The call sign “Stormy 2B” would refer to the weapon systems operator in an F-4 as the pilot would have been referred to as “Stormy 2A”. The pilot was also the front seater in all models of the F-4.
Also Capt. George J. Merret, one of the Sandy pilots flying an A-1J during the rescue of Fegan, states on page 155 in his book Cheating Death that Fegan was told to eject by Smith and suffered a total of 11 fractures in his arms and left leg in the high speed ejection. His book states it was inconclusive whether Capt. Smith was able to eject or not.