ANDREWS, WILLIAM RICHARD Remains Returned - ID Announced 20 December 1990
Name: William Richard Andrews Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Ubon AF TH Date of Birth: 09 June 1937 Home City of Record: Eugene OR (family in AZ) Date of Loss: 05 October 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 211900N 1042100E (VJ066812) Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C Refno: 0482 Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 March 1991 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.
REMARKS: VOICE CONTACT - WOUNDED
SYNOPSIS: Major William R. Andrews was a pilot assigned to the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron at Ubon Airfield, Thailand. On October 5, 1966, he was assigned a strike mission over North Vietnam in his F4C Phantom fighter/bomber. (NOTE: U.S. Air Force records on this case indicate that Andrews was the pilot of the aircraft. Other sources, including Defense Department data, indicate that Andrews was the back-seater on the aircraft.)
Andrews flew on the number three aircraft in a flight of four. Following the mission, the flight was directed to fly escort for two B-66's. A MiG alert was issued after which it was noticed that the number three aircraft (Andrews) was not in the formation. No radio contact was received from the missing aircraft crew, but a short time later an emergency radio beeper signal was heard.
Both crewmen ejected safely from their aircraft and reached the ground without injury. Radio contact was subsequently made with Andrews, but due to heavy ground fire, he was not recovered. He reported that he was uninjured, but that North Vietnamese forces were approaching his position. The two went down in Nghia Lo Province about 40 miles east-northeast of the city of Na San.
The second crewman was subsequently rescued. Andrews later reported that he was wounded and losing consciousness. He was classified as Prisoner of War and was expected to return in the prisoner release in 1973. Andrews did not return in 1973, and the Vietnamese deny knowledge of his fate.
A later coordination of records showed that Andrews was listed Missing (not prisoner) by Defense Intelligence Agency and the Air Force, while JCRC (Thailand) carried him as Prisoner (not missing). JCRC was ordered to "delete any references pertaining to PW status" in Andrews' case. The reasons behind the order are unclear.
Thousands of reports of Americans alive in the hands of the Vietnamese have been received by the U.S. since the end of the war. Many government officials state that they believe Americans are currently being held against their will in Southeast Asia. The question is, who are they, and how will we bring them home? Is one of them William R. Andrews?
William R. Andrews was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the period he was maintained Prisoner of War. On December 20, 1990, U.S. officials announced that remains previously repatriated by the Vietnamese had been positively identified as being those of William R. Andrews. After 24 years, Andrews was finally home.