Name: Carrol Robert Beeler
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Date of Birth: 24 July 43
Home City of Record: Frisco TX
Date of Loss: 24 May 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 205800N 1064800E (XJ889144)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8J
Refno: 1864
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 April 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 Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in
Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of
Tonkin reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North
Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively
by the Navy and Marine air wings (although there is one U.S. Air Force pilot
reported shot down on an F8) and represented half or more of the carrier
fighters in the Gulf of Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The
aircraft was credited with nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam.
The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were
the C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie
carried only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions
as CAP (Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a
heavier reinforced wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were
used to attack ground targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo
version launched with less fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and
frequently arrived back at ship low on fuel. The RF models were equipped for
photo reconnaissance.
The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar
fighters. Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or
destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader
pilots were recovered; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and
released. The other 43 remained missing at the end of the war.
Capt. Carrol R. Beeler was the pilot of an F8J assigned a mission over North
Vietnam on May 24, 1972. When Beeler was in the Haiphong Harbor region of
North Vietnam, his aircraft was shot down and he was captured by the North
For the next 10 months, Beeler was held in various prisoner of war camps,
including the infamous "Hanoi Hilton" complex in Hanoi. He was released in
the general prisoner release in 1973.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing,
prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S.
Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive
today. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned
American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return
unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the
honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly
held. It's time we brought our men home.
Carroll Beeler retired from the United States Navy as a Captain. He and his
wife Scottie resided in Texas until his sudden death.
April 27, 2003
Carroll crashed during flight testing of a new design business jet on the
afternoon of April 26. He had been working as engineering test pilot and
chief test pilot for the past 6 years for a company in San Antonio called
Sino Swearingen Aircraft Company. They had designed and built a business
jet, SJ-30, (possibly a joint venture with a Chinese corporation.)
Extensive testing had been completed and Carroll had 550 hours in the SJ-30.
They were near the milestone of FAA certification which would then move them
into production. Carroll was alone in the plane and the other test pilot was
in a chase T-38.  They were doing the high speed flutter tests and the
flight on Friday had gone well.  Things had gone smoothly the day before and
Carroll has just completed the tests, including the required test point.
Suddenly his aircraft was observed to yaw/roll sharply to the right and from
that point, and then "straight down at full power" to impact in a remote
rugged area.
Carroll is survived by his wife Scotty, daughter Lee (21) top scholastic
achievement in college and his mother, who is living with the family. A
requiem mass will be held Wednesday, April 30th at the local church.