BRENNAN, HERBERT OWEN
Name: Herbert Owen Brennan Rank/Branch: 06/US Air Force Unit: 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 Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C Refno: 0928 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 2002.
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" planes around.
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 Vietnam Service.
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