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.


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.