SMITH, BRADLEY EDSEL Name: Bradley Edsel Smith Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy Unit: Attack Squadron 76, USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN 65) Date of Birth: 04 June 1939 (Youngstown OH) Home City of Record: Lake Milton OH Date of Loss: 25 March 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 174200N 1063000E (XE590574) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4C Missions: 80 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 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 2008. REMARKS: 730212 RELSD BY DRV SYNOPSIS: Until the mid-1970's the USS ENTERPRISE was the largest warship built, and able to operate several years without refueling. The ENTERPRISE brought a combination of the newest technology and her own imposing physical presence to the Gulf of Tonkin in 1965. By the end of her first tour, the ENTERPRISE air wing of over 90 aircraft had flown over 13,000 combat sorties. Like other U.S. carriers, The ENTERPRISE steamed in and out of Vietnam during the war and her final duty was Operation Eagle Pull, the evacuation of Saigon in 1975. One of the aircraft launched from the decks of the ENTERPRISE was the Douglas A4 Skyhawk. The Skyhawk was built to provide the Navy and Marine Corps with an inexpensive, lightweight attack and ground support aircraft. The design emphasized low-speed control and stability during take-off and landing as well as strength enough for catapult launch and carrier landings. The plane was so compact that it did not need folding wings for aboardship storage and handling. In spite of its diminutive size, the A4 packed a devastating punch and performed well where speed and maneuverability were essential. LTJG Bradley E. Smith was an A4C pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 76 onboard the USS ENTERPRISE. On March 25, 1966, he launched as one of a section of three aircraft on an armed reconnaissance mission on the Quang Khe highway ferry in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. The term "armed reconnaissance" meant locate and destroy enemy targets of opportunity. During their bombing run, radio contact was lost with Smith. His wingman alerted the search and rescue aircraft. There was no trace of aircraft wreckage or fire. No flak was observed in the target area during the bombing runs. A Radio Hanoi broadcast later reported that North Vietnamese forces shot down one U.S. aircraft on March 25 over Quang Binh City, and that the pilot had been captured. With this information, LTJG Smith's status was changed from Missing in Action to Captured on July 20, 1966. In the spring of 1973, 591 Americans were released from communist prisoner of war camps in Vietnam. Bradley E. Smith was among them. During the years of his captivity he was promoted to the rank of Commander. Since the war ended, nearly 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.
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 BRADLEY E. SMITH Lieutenant Commander - United States Navy Shot Down: March 25, 1966 Released: February 12, 1973 Lcdr. Bradley E. Smith started his Naval career in August 1961. Receiving his commission and Navy pilot wings in July 1964, he was then assigned to VA-76 Oceana, Virginia where he flew the A4C Skyhawk. Lcdr. Smith spent most of 1965 in the Caribbean aboard the USS America and the USS Enterprise. Deploying aboard the carrier Enterprise in October 1965, he with his squadron arrived in Southeast Asia in November 1965. On March 25, 1966, Lcdr. Smith was shot down while his flight was attacking a bridge in the southern province of North Vietnam. This was mission number 77 for him. The sincere and warm welcome home to the United States is the primary memory that he will never forget. His future plans are to remain in the Navy. He expects to remain a pilot and desires an assignment to NAS Cecil Field, Jacksonville, Florida, assigned to an A7E squadron. ---------------------- Bradley Smith retired from the United States Naval Reserve as a Commander. He and his wife Kirsten reside in Florida. -----------------------