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.

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Bradley Smith retired from the United States Naval Reserve as a Commander.
He and his wife Kirsten reside in Florida.

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