BUSH, ROBERT EDWARD Remains Returned December 15, 1988 Name: Robert Edward Bush Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron Date of Birth: 04 October 1928 Home City of Record: Hamden CT (family in KS) Date of Loss: 24 March 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 174200N 1063000E (XE573578) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D Refno: 0289 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 July 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. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: 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. Capt. Robert E. Bush was the pilot of an F105D aircraft assigned a mission over North Vietnam on March 24, 1966. During the mission, while the aircraft was over Quang Binh Province, about 5 miles southeast of Quang Khe, Capt. Bush's aircraft was hit by hostile ground fire, crashed in a river and sank. The Air Force classified him as Missing in Action. The Defense Intelligence Agency further expanded the Missing classification to include an enemy knowledge ranking of 3. Category 3 indicates "doubtful knowledge" and includes personnel whose loss incident is such that it is doubtful that the enemy wound have knowledge of the specific individuals (e.g. aircrews lost over water or remote areas). No explanation is given as to why the residents or military personnel who shot down Capt. Bush's aircraft failed to know where or when it went down. Bush's family waited for the war to end, knowing there was a chance that he had been taken prisoner, but in 1973, when other American POWs were released, Capt. Bush was not among them. The Vietnamese denied any knowledge of him. Then, in December 1988, the Vietnamese "discovered" and returned to U.S. control the remains of Capt. Robert E. Bush. The positive identification of his remains were announced the following September. Capt. Bush had been a Prisoner of War - alive or dead - for over 22 years. Since the end of the war, refugees have fled Indochina, bringing with them reports of Americans still held in captivity in their homelands. The U.S. has conducted some "250,000 interviews" with these refugees, and have analyzed "several million documents" relating to Americans still missing in Southeast Asia. Much of this material is still classified and unavailable to the public, but the U.S. Government would like the public to believe its analysis that there is no actionable evidence that Americans are still alive in Indochina. Progress is agonizingly slow on the issue of American POW/MIAs. Many authorities who have seen the classified files on these men believe that hundreds of them are still alive. It's time they were home.