BORDEN, MURRAY LYMAN Name: Murray Lyman Borden Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force Unit: 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Da Nang Date of Birth: 02 January 1941 Home City of Record: Goldsboro NC Date of Loss: 13 October 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 170400N 1064000E (XD750810) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C Refno: 0494 Other Personnel in Incident: Eugene T. Meadows (missing) Source: Compiled 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 in 2009. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: On 13 October 1966, 1Lt. Eugene T. Meadows and 1Lt. Murray L. Borden departed their base at Da Nang, South Vietnam on an armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. The aircraft was one in a flight of two F4C Phantom fighter jets. (NOTE: most U.S. Government records list Meadows as the pilot and Borden as the navigator of the aircraft, but U.S. Air Force records indicate that Borden is the pilot of the aircraft.) The flight of two F4's was to make four passes over its target in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam, about 10 miles north of the eastern side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). On its fourth pass, the Meadows/Borden aircraft failed to radio in, and crew members of the other aircraft observed a large explosion while on a down run. They circled the area, but heard no emergency radio signals ("beepers"). Shortly thereafter, however, a beeper was heard by search aircraft, but neither the crew nor the aircraft could be located. The two First Lieutenants were declared Missing in Action. It was strongly felt that the enemy knows their fates. When 591 American POWs were released from Vietnamese prisons in 1973, Meadows and Borden were not among them. Military authorities expressed their dismay at the time that, "hundreds" expected to return, did not return, nor did they appear on any list provided by the Vietnamese of American POWs. Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports have been received relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Most authorities agree that Americans are still alive, being held prisoner. Few agree on the best way to bring them home. Whether Borden and Meadows are among those thought to be still alive is not known. What is certain, however, is that as long as one American remains alive, we must do everything possible to bring him home. =======================
|Date: Tue, 21 Jul 2009
From: W J Latham Jr <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Information regarding Murray Lyman Borden, MIA 13 Oct 66
I happened onto your website today, and read the biography for Murray Lyman Borden, one of my closest friends in the Air Force. Murray and I were squadron mates from November 1963, when we reported to MacDill AFB, FL as brand new Air Force pilots. We were roommates in Tampa, FL until his wedding, and at Naha AB, Okinawa in 1965. Murray and I arrived at the 480th TFS, Danang AB, RVN, together as replacement F-4C aircraft commanders, on 4 July 1966. I first heard of Murray's loss about a half hour after it happened, as I was heading out to my aircraft to lead a similar 2-ship air interdiction mission about an hour after Murray's mission.
Murray was an F-4C Aircraft Commander (AC), the pilot who flew in the front seat of the F-4C Phantom II. Eugene Meadows was an F-4 Pilot, also referred to by the Air Force as a PSO (pilot systems operator), the pilot who flew in the rear cockpit of the Phantom II. The rear cockpit of the Air Force F-4C had a control stick, throttles, and rudder pedals, as the aircraft was also flown from the rear seat. However, the primary job of the rear seat pilot was to run the air-to-air radar system, as the F-4 had the world's best air-to-air radar capabilities, and the plane had been designed for the Navy to intercept enemy aircraft at long range, before they could attack the fleet. The rear cockpit in the Navy model was manned by an RIO (radar intercept officer) who was not a pilot. The Navy's F-4B rear cockpit had neither a stick nor throttles; only the pilot in the front seat could fly the F-4B. The Air Force decided to put new Air Force pilot training graduates into the rear cockpit, where they would learn to run the radar system and then later upgrade to the front cockpit. Murray Borden and I each spent more than a year and a half in the back seat before a formal upgrade course in early 1966, and we each had our first front seat ride in the same 2-ship flight in Okinawa on 23 August 1965. As backseaters, we could make takeoffs, landings, and fly the plane, but had to ask the aircraft commander to raise or lower the landing gear, raise or lower the flaps, and to push the throttles outboard in order to use the afterburners.
During the first half of our combat tours, Murray Borden, Scott Wilson (KIA over Hanoi on 22 Nov 66), Ronald Martin, and I were the only First Lieutenants in the 480th TFS at Danang who were Aircraft Commanders.
Murray, Scott, and I were replacements who had upgraded together at MacDill AFB. All of the other First Lieutenants were back seaters, who had not had the opportunity to upgrade before going to Viet Nam.
Although we sometimes flew with other backseaters, Murray and Gene were crewed together.
Murray was leading a 2-ship night interdiction mission just north of the DMZ in Route Package 1. We were looking primarily for truck traffic and troops headed toward South Vietnam. Murray's flight may have taken off just prior to midnight on 13 Oct 66, but it was probably early in the morning of 14 October when Murray flew into the target. It was a very dark night, with overcast clouds, so there was no moonlight.or starlight. The flares that Murray had dropped had been allowed to burn out and both planes were making low angle bomb deliveries, which meant that the planes would come close to the ground during the pull-out. The wingman thought that Murray had hit a target, as it appeared that there was a secondary explosion. When there were no more radio calls from Murray, it became apparent that the "secondary" was caused by Murray's plane hitting the ground rather than an exploding target. There was no indication of any defensive reaction from any North Vietnamese on the ground. I'm sure that Murray's aircraft was not shot down.
The major problem with weapons delivery from an F-4C at night, especially a dark night, was that the gun sight had only a red pipper in the middle of a fixed red circle - there were no roll tabs projected onto the sight's combining glass to indicate the degree of bank. When looking at the target through the sight, the Aircraft Commander had no reference as to whether the plane was in a wings level dive, a shallow bank, a steep bank, or even inverted. One had to keep glancing down to the attitude indicator to check the bank and dive angle, and then look back through the sight to reacquire the target. At 450 knots (approximately 500 mph), it was very easy to misjudge distances at night, and delaying a pull-out by a split second could be fatal. That particular night was almost pitch black. Once there was some fire on the ground, we would often let the leader's flares burn out so that we would not expose ourselves to the enemy while making a low angle weapons delivery below the height of the flares Once the light from the flares was no longer available, it was much more difficult to judge distances and closure rate. All exterior aircraft lights were turned off and we made frequent radio calls to the other plane in the flight to keep them apprised of our relative position to the target and to each other.
As mentioned, I led a 2-ship flight to the same target area about an hour later. I did not hear any beepers or any indication that either pilot may have ejected or survived. Despite the mention of a beeper in the biography, I am not aware that anyone reported hearing a beeper that night. The Air Force sent a helicopter to the area the next day, and it was my understanding that they reported sighting what appeared to be a piece of aircraft canopy.
If any additional information is requested, please feel free to contact me.
Wilbur J.Latham, Jr., Colonel, USAFR, retired