BROWN, WILBUR RONALD
|Remains ID as part of group identification. Per DPMO:
|Name: Wilbur Ronald Brown
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 22 July 1936
Home City of Record: Wilmington NC
Date of Loss: 03 February 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 163000N 1064000E (YD008434)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: James L. Carter; Edward M. Parsley; Therman M. Waller (all missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 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.
REMARKS: NO RAD CNTCT-REK SITE UNCONF-J
SYNOPSIS: The Fairchild C123 "Provider" was a night attack system/transport
aircraft based on an all-metal glider designed by Chase Aircraft. The
airplane's C123B prototype first flew on September 1, 1954. The C123B, in
the hands of a group of airmen who called themselves "The Mule Train" became
the first transport to see Vietnam service. The C123B transports were soon
joined by UC123Bs of the now-controversial Project Ranch Hand which sprayed
pesticides and herbicides over Vietnam, including Agent Orange.
The Provider, particularly in camoflage paint with mottled topside and light
bottomside, resembled an arched-back whale suspended from the bottom
midpoint of huge dorsal wings. Like other transports, the Provider proved
its versatility during the Vietnam war. The C123 also dispensed flares to
illuminate targets for fighters or tactical bombers, and were dubbed
"Candlestick" when they served in this capacity.
On February 3, 1966, a C123C Provider aircraft with a crew of four,
including its pilot, Capt. Wilbur R. Brown, and crewmembers James L. Carter,
SGT Edward M. Parsley and SGT Therman M. Waller, was assigned a mission on
the border of Laos and South Vietnam about 10 miles southwest of Khe Sanh.
During the mission, radio contact was lost with the Provider and its
whereabouts or those of the crew were never determined.
In April 1969, a rallier identified a number of photographs of missing
Americans as men he believed to have been captured. Wilbur Brown was among
those the rallier selected. CIA questioned the identification as no returned
POWs reported having seen any of the Provider crew in POW camps. It should
be noted, however, that it is now widely believed that more than one prison
system existed in Vietnam, and that prisoners in one were not mingled with
prisoners from another. (Also, given the location of the crash, the
possibility exists that the crew, if captured, may have been taken by Pathet
Lao forces. No Americans were ever released that were held in Laos.)
The mission flown by the C123 lost on February 3, 1966 is not indicated in
public records. It is known that "Candlestick" missions, dispensing flares
to illuminate targets for fighters or tactical bombers, was very effective
against truck traffic in Laos, except in those areas where anti-aircraft
defenses became too formidable. It it possible that the C123C might been on
a "Candlestick" mission.
Brown, Carter, Parsley and Waller were declared Missing In Action by the
U.S. Air Force. They are among nearly 2400 Americans who are unaccounted for
from the Vietnam war. Experts believe there are hundreds of these men still
alive today, waiting for their country to come for them.
Whether the missing men from the Provider lost on February 3, 1966 are among
those still alive is not know. What is certain, however, is that the U.S.
has a moral and legal obligation to do everything possible to bring home
those who are alive.
There was no official press release.
|MIA Parsley, Edward|
|Date:||Fri, 30 Nov 2018 12:15:03 -0500|
During this leg radio
communications with the aircraft were lost. An extensive search was made without
results; neither the aircraft nor its crew could be located. Its flight
plan would have taken it over heavily jungled mountains. On 10 February, after 25 search sorties had been flown, the dedicated search effort was terminated and the crew
was listed as Missing in Action.
Four Americans were aboard the C-123:
Edited for posting to retain header and name: