BARROWS, HENRY CHARLES DECEASED
Name: Henry Charles Barrows Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force, EWO Unit: 307th Strat Wing, U-Tapao AB TH Date of Birth: 09 Sept 1946, West Germany Home City of Record: Westfield NJ Loss Date: 19 December 1972 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 205900N 1054359E (WJ762203) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Acft/Vehicle/Ground: B52D ROSE 1 # 56-0608 Missions: 120
Others In Incident: Richard W. Cooper, Nav; Charlie S. Poole, Gunner (both missing); Charles A. Brown Jr., Co-Pilot; Hal K. Wilson, Pilot; Fernando Alexander, R/Nav (all POWs released in 1973).
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 2012.
REMARKS: RELSD 730329 BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: Frustrated by problems in negotiating a peace settlement, and pressured by a Congress and public wanting an immediate end to American involvement in Vietnam, President Nixon ordered the most concentrated air offensive of the war - known as Linebacker II - in December 1972. During the offensive, sometimes called the "Christmas bombings," 40,000 tons of bombs were dropped, primarily over the area between Hanoi and Haiphong. White House Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler said that the bombing would end only when all U.S. POWs were released and an internationally recognized cease-fire was in force.
On the first day of Linebacker II, December 18, 129 B52s arrived over Hanoi in three waves, four to five hours apart. They attacked the airfields at Hoa Lac, Kep and Phuc Yen, the Kinh No complex and the Yen Vien railyards. The aircraft flew in tight cells of three aircraft to maximize the mutual support benefits of their ECM equipment and flew straight and level to stabilize the bombing computers and ensure that all bombs fell on the military targets and not in civilian areas.
The pilots of the early missions reported that "wall-to-wall SAMS" surrounded Hanoi as they neared its outskirts. The first night of bombing, December 18 and 19, two B52s were shot down by SAMs.
Onboard the first aircraft shot down on December 18 was its pilot, LTCOL Donald L. Rissi and crewmen MAJ Richard E. Johnson, CAPT Richard T. Simpson, CAPT Robert G. Certain, 1LT Robert J. Thomas and SGT Walter L. Ferguson. Of this crew, Certain, Simpson and Johnson were captured and shown the bodies of the other crew members. Six years later, the bodies of Rissi, Thomas and Ferguson were returned to U.S. control by the Vietnamese. Certain, Simpson and Johnson were held prisoner in Hanoi until March 29, 1973, when they were released in Operation Homecoming.
Capt. Hal K. Wilson was in the lead aircraft of a B52 cell from Utapoa. Also on board his aircraft were crew men MAJ Fernando Alexander, CAPT Charles A. Brown, Jr., CAPT Henry C. Barrows, CAPT Richard W. Cooper Jr. (the navigator), and SGT Charlie S. Poole (the tailgunner). Wilson's aircraft was hit by a SAM near his target area and crashed in the early morning hours of December 19, sustaining damage to the fuselage. In the ensuing fire, there was no time for orderly bailout, but as later examination of radio tapes indicated, all six crewmen deployed their parachutes and evidently safely ejected. The aircraft damage report indicated that all six men were prisoner.
Radio Hanoi announced that Poole had been captured and that he was uninjured. Whether Cooper's name was also reported is unknown, as the airman who heard this report on Guam heard only part of the broadcast, and being a friend of the Poole family, remembered vividly only the parts concerning Charlie Poole. When the war ended, however, only four of the crew returned from Hanoi prisons. Hanoi remained silent about the fate of Charlie Poole and Richard Cooper.
The Christmas Bombings, despite press accounts to the contrary, were of the most precise the world had seen. Pilots involved in the immense series of strikes generally agree that the strikes against anti-aircraft and strategic targets was so successful that the U.S., had it desired, "could have taken the entire country of Vietnam by inserting an average Boy Scout troop in Hanoi and marching them southward."
To achieve this precision bombing, the Pentagon deemed it necessary to stick to a regular flight path. For many missions, the predictable B52 strikes were anticipated and prepared for by the North Vietnamese. Later, however, flight paths were altered and attrition all but eliminated any hostile threat from the ground.
Linebacker II involved 155 Boeing B52 Stratofortress bombers stationed at Anderson AFB, Guam (72nd Strat Wing) and another 50 B52s stationed at Utapoa Airbase, Thailand (307th Strat Wing), an enormous number of bombers with over one thousand men flying the missions. However, the bombings were not conducted without high loss of aircraft and personnel. During the month of December 1972, 61 crewmembers onboard ten B52 aircraft were shot down and were captured or declared missing. (The B52 carried a crew of six men; however, one B52 lost carried an extra crewman.) Of these 61, 33 men were released in 1973. The others remained missing at the end of the war. Over half of these survived to eject safely. What happened to them?
Reports mount that have convinced many authorities that Americans are still held captive in Southeast Asia. Are Poole and Cooper among them? Do they know the country they love has abandoned them? Isn't it time we found them and brought them home?
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
HENRY C. BARROWS Captain - United States Air Force Shot Down December 19, 1972 Released: March 29, 1973
I was born on September 9, 1946, in Bremerhaven, West Germany. My family emigrated to the United States in September 1958 and I became an American citizen in 1962. I lived in Westfield, New Jersey until mid-1968. By that time I had graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in German Languages and Literature. In June, Christine and I were married. We now have a family of four, which includes the two of us, a son Geoffrey, who is 2 « and our dog, Dusty.
The Air Force and I met in January 1969 at Lackland AFB, Texas, where I attended Officers Training School. I was commissioned in March and was sent to Mather AFB, California for navigator training. After receiving my wings, I remained there to attend electronic warfare officer training. My first operational assignment took me to the 16th SOS at Ubon, Thailand, where for the year 1971 I flew 120 missions in the AC-130 gunship over Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam. From the I went to the 99th Bomb Wing at Westover AFB, Massachusetts. In September 1972 I returned to Southeast Asia to fly B-52's. I flew about 50 missions before our crew was shot down early in the morning of December 19, 1972, and my life changed.
We had just released our bombs on a communication complex on the outskirts of Hanoi when we were struck by a surface to air missile (SAM). Due to an uncontrollable fire I had to eject from 38,000 feet. After 1 « hours on the ground 5 miles from Hanoi I was captured by peasants and militia and transported as a "prize" into town. I received minor medical treatment for burns, shrapnel wounds and scrapes, and was then taken to the "Hilton" complex. That night I was taken to a press conference where the world saw me as a talking nose, moustache and head bandage. I was tired and frightened.
For the next 101 days I existed on turnip and cabbage soup pork fat, bread and water. Amidst the hours of boredom, anxiety, card games and bull sessions we started a German class in what we called the Hanoi Chapter of the University of Maryland Extension Division. Attendance was 100% and I must confess all my students received good grades.
While at "The Zoo" on January 24, 1973 I learned unofficially of the peace treaty from a Vietnamese repairman and the news was greeted with both relief and scepticism. Eventually on March 29, 1973 I was released. Stepping into the C-141 1 had the biggest lump ever in my throat when I saw the American Flag after what seemed like ages. From there it was an exciting journey home culminating in a gigantic reunion at Westover AFB on April Fool's Day (my wife was worried, I wasn't).
The future will most likely find me in the Air Force at first flying and perhaps eventually as a German instructor at the Academy.
Perhaps what has had the greatest effect on me is the lesson of man's fellowship in times of anguish. We had to live together and comfort each other and we did. While we may have been selfish before this was not the time. Keeping faith in yourself and y our fellow man is a wonderful experience. I learned this lesson the hard way and I did not leave it in Hanoi. If the world could practice fellowship without the noose of hardship we will have a better world. This I believe.
Henry Barrows retired from the the United States Air Force as a Lt. Col.
Lt. Col. (ret) Hank Barrows, USAF had a fatal heart attack 02/11/02 at their home in Washington, DC. Hank was shot down during the Christmas bombing in 1972 as a B-52 crewmember.
Hank and Suzanne were comparative newly-weds having been married on 7 April, 2001. Hank passed a stress EKG with flying colors on 20 December. He was 55 years old.
Funeral was at Arlington National Cemetery, Old Post Chapel, Ft. Myers on Thursday, 28 February, 2002. His funeral was attended by surviving members of his crew and the son of the tail gunner, as well as many other POW returnees and River Rats.
He is survived by his wife, Suzanne, and his sons, Geoff and Brian.