SWINDLE, ORSON GEORGE III
Name: Orson George Swindle III Rank/Branch: O3/US Marine Corps Unit: Date of Birth: 8 March 1937 Home City of Record: Atlanta GA Date of Loss: 11 November 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 170300N 1070300E (YD192857) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8E Missions: 200+
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. NETWORK 2000.
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 photo reconnaissance.
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, South Carolina.
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 marriage.
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 Admistration he served as Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Commerce.