BRENNAN, HERBERT OWEN
Name: Herbert Owen Brennan
Rank/Branch: 06/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 27 August 1926
Home City of Record: O'Neill NE
Date of Loss: 26 November 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 172200N 1062000E (XE293215)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident: Douglas C. Condit (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 2020.
SYNOPSIS: 1Lt. Douglas C. Condit and Col. Herbert O. Brennan probably
thought they were fortunate to have been selected to fly the F4 Phantom
fighter jet. The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings,
served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor,
photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast
(Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and
mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at
low and high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art
electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing
capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest"
Brennan, a full colonel had not been required to serve in Vietnam. The 1947
West Point graduate had a distinguished Air Force career, and served as an
instructor at the United States Air Force Academy before volunteering for
On November 26, 1967, Condit was serving as pilot and Brennan as
bombardier/navigator on board an F4C assigned a mission over North Vietnam.
As the aircraft was over Quang Binh Province, about 12 miles from the Ban
Karai pass, the aircraft was shot down.
The Ban Karai Pass was one of several passageways through the mountainous
border of Vietnam and Laos. American aircraft flying from Thailand to
missions over North Vietnam flew through them regularly, and many aircraft
were lost. On the Laos side of the border coursed the "Ho Chi Minh Trail", a
road heavily travelled by North Vietnamese troops moving materiel and
personnel to their destinations through the relative safety of neutral Laos.
The return ratio of men lost in and around the passes is far lower than that
of those men lost in more populous areas, even though both were shot down by
the same enemy and the same weapons. This is partly due to the extremely
rugged terrain and resulting difficulty in recovery.
It seems improbable that in one of the most heavily traveled sections of the
Ho Chi Minh Trail, the many Americans lost went unnoticed by the other side.
The governments of Laos and Vietnam claim no knowledge of the fates of
Condit or Brennan.
The U.S. Air Force placed both men in the category of Missing in Action. The
Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) further refined that category according to
enemy knowledge, concluding that there is ample reason to believe that the
enemy knows the fates of Brennan and Condit.
Since 1975, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans still missing in
Southeast Asia, convincing many authorities that hundreds of Americans are
still held in captivity. Condit and Brennan could be among them. It's time
we brought our men home.
Herbert O. Brennan and Douglas C. Condit went down carrying FMU-35 Fuzes,
which were suspected of detonating early and blowing up Brennans and
Condit's aircraft. The series of losses attributed to defective FMU-35
Fuzes is documented in two books: "Check Six, A Fighter Pilot Looks Back"
By Major General Frederick C. Blesse and "Angels Unknown" by Lynda Twyman
Paffrath website: www.AngelsUnknown.net
Lynda Twyman Paffrath