SWINDLE, ORSON GEORGE III
Name: Orson George Swindle III
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 April 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.
REMARKS: 730304 RELSD BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: The Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in
Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of
Tonkin reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North
Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively
by the Navy and Marine air wings (although there is one U.S. Air Force pilot
reported shot down on an F8) and represented half or more of the carrier
fighters in the Gulf of Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The
aircraft was credited with nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam.
The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were
the C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie
carried only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions
as CAP (Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a
heavier reinforced wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were
used to attack ground targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo
version launched with less fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and
frequently arrived back at ship low on fuel. The RF models were equipped for
The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar
fighters. Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or
destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader
pilots were recovered; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and
released. The other 43 remained missing at the end of the war.
Capt. Orson G. Swindle III was the pilot of an F8E sent on a combat mission
over North Vietnam on November 11, 1966. His flight route took him to Quang
Binh Province, North Vietnam, where his aircraft was shot down near the city
of Vinh Linh. Swindle was captured by the North Vietnamese.
For the next 7 years, Swindle was in various prisoner of war camps,
including the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" complex in Hanoi. He was released in
the general prisoner release in 1973.
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).
ORSON G. SWINDLE III Major -
United States Marine Corps
Shot Down: November 11, 1966
Released: March 4, 1973
Major Orson G. Swindle, III, USMC was born 8 March 1937. He grew up in the
small town of Camilla, Georgia. After graduating from Georgia Institute of
Technology with a degree (BS) in Industrial Management, he entered the
Marine Corps in August 1959. He was stationed at Quantico, Virginia for the
Basic School and then was assigned to Marine Corps Air Station, Beaufort,
Major Swindle attended Navy Flight School from February 1963 to May 1964. He
was then reassigned to MCAS, Beaufort. Major Swindle arrived at DaNang Air
Base on 1 February 1966 with his squadron, VMF(AW) 235 and flew over 200
missions over Southeast Asia in an F-8E Crusader before being shot down on
11 November 1966 just north of the DMZ. This was his last scheduled mission.
He began a one year program of study at Florida State University for his
masters degree in managerial science on 25 March 1974.
His personal message: "If there is some lesson that we must learn from this
ordeal it should be this. We have seen the weakness of a divided country and
people; we have seen the encouragement this has given our enemy. We have
also seen the great strength of unity as so wonderfully directed to the
plight of the POWs, MlAs, and their families. We must someday comprehend how
fantastically blessed we have been to be Americans, what our
responsibilities are, and most important of all - we are one thing above all
else - We are Americans! Let that day be today. Let us unite now and forever
to meet every challenge. Semper Fidelis!"
Grew up: Camilla, Ga.; raised by his grandmother and great-aunt.
Education: BA in industrial management from Georgia Institute of Technology,
1959; MBA from Florida State University, 1973.
Career: U.S. Marine Corps, 1955-1979. Retired as lieutenant colonel. Flew
205 missions in Vietnam, was shot down and spent six years in POW camp.
Awarded two Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars and two Bronze Stars. Director
of the Georgia office of the Farmers Home Loan Association from 1981 to
1985. Director of the Economic Development Agency, part of the Department of
Commerce, 1985 to 1989. Executive director of Ross Perot's United We Stand,
1992. Executive director of KCAA, a group of preschools in Hawaii, 1991 to
1992. Associate director of Empower America, 1993 to 1994.
Family: Married to second wife, Angela Williams. One son by his previous
The Honorable Orson Swindle retired from the United States Marine Corps as a
Lt. Colonel. He is currently a Federal Trade Commissioner. During the Reagan
Administration he served as Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of
I had the privilege of meeting and becoming friends with Marine Lt. Col. (ret) Orson Swindle of Denver when he was our guest speaker at the POW/MIA ...