BLACKWOOD, GORDON BYRON
Remains Returned - ID Announced 20 November 1989
Name: Gordon Byron Blackwood
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 33rd Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 18 July 1938
Home City of Record: Palo Verde CA
Date of Loss: 27 May 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 211600N 1061100E (XJ245538)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of Task Force
Omega from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency
sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews
01 January 1990. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2018.
REMARKS: DEAD/IR 1516-0406-71
SYNOPSIS: The F105 Thunderchief ("Thud"), in its various versions, flew more
missions against North Vietnam than any other U.S. aircraft. It also
suffered more losses, partially due to its vulnerability, which was
constantly under revision. Between 1965 and 1971, the aircraft was equipped
with armor plate, a secondary flight control system, an improved pilot
ejection seat, a more precise navigation system, better blind bombing
capability and ECM pods for the wings. The D version was a single-place
Eighty-six F-105Ds fitted with radar homing and warning gear formed the
backbone of the Wild Weasel program, initiated in 1965 to improve the Air
Force's electronic warfare capability. Upon pinpointing the radar at a
missile site, the Wild Weasel attacked with Shrike missiles that homed on
radar emissions. The versatile aircraft was also credited with downing 25
Russian MiGs. Thirteen of these modified F's were sent to Southeast Asia in
Capt. Gordon B. Blackwood was the pilot of an F105D assigned a mission over
North Vietnam on May 27, 1967. During the mission, near the city of Bac
Giang in Ha Bac Province, North Vietnam, Blackwood's aircraft was shot down
and he was classified Missing in Action.
Intelligence sources later reported that Capt. Blackwood was dead, but U.S.
Air Force public information does not reveal details of this report. Capt.
Blackwood's name and case information have been given to the Vietnamese as
one of several score "discrepancy cases" on which the Vietnamese should have
knowledge, but no information has been forthcoming.
Finally, on November 20, 1989, the U.S. Government announced that remains
returned by the Vietnamese had been positively identified as being those of
Capt. Gordon B. Blackwood. For his family, the long wait was over.
Still, reports continue to mount and many authorities are convinced that
hundreds of Americans are still alive in captivity, Blackwood's family now
knows that he is dead. They may never for sure know how - or when - he died.
Are we doing enough to bring those men who are still alive home?
|CPT Gordon B. Blackwood was a USAF pilot assigned to the 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron. On May 27, 1967, CPT Blackwood was the pilot of the second F-105D (#59-1723) in a flight of four on a strike mission over North Vietnam. Aircraft Number Three observed Number Two receive a direct hit by a surface-to-air missile (SAM) while he was over the target area. The aircraft was at 10,000 feet when it broke up into large flaming pieces and crashed on the target. A good parachute was observed at 8,000 feet. There were no beeper signals or radio contact. Due to the location in enemy territory, no search and rescue effort was initiated. Blackwood was listed as Missing in Action. On July 2, 1971, a North Vietnamese Army prisoner of war stated that sometime in May 1967, while he was undergoing U.S. aircraft recognition training, he heard an explosion and observed an F-105 crash in flames north of his location. He also observed an orange parachute land 500 meters north of his position. After arriving at the location of the pilot, the source observed that the pilot’s body was covered in blood from the waist down and that an NVA medic on the scene pronounced him dead. The body was then placed on a truck and driven towards Hanoi. The source further stated that there were three other F-105’s operating in the area. This story closely correlated with the incident in which Blackwood’s aircraft was lost. Blackwood was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel during the time he was missing. On April 27, 1989, Blackwood’s remains were repatriated to the United States. They were positively identified on November 11, 1989. His remains were interred at Arlington National Cemetery. [Taken from coffeltdatabase.org]|
William M. Killian