BANCROFT, WILLIAM WARNER JR.
Name: William Warner Bancroft, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Udorn Air Base, Thailand
Date of Birth: 12 June 1945
Home City of Record: Indianapolis IN
Date of Loss: 13 November 1970
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 180258N 1054859E (WE864957)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: David I. Wright (missing)
Source: Compiled 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 in 2020.
SYNOPSIS: On November 13, 1970, Maj. David I. Wright, pilot, and 1Lt.
William W. Bancroft, Jr., navigator, departed their base at Udorn, Thailand
on an aerial reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. During the mission,
while just east of Tan Ap in Ha Tinh Province, their RF4C Phantom jet was
seen to explode and crash while making a low level pass over the objective
target. It was not known at that time whether Wright and Bancroft survived.
On 18 November 1970, the U.S. intelligence community received information
which indicated that Wright and Bancroft were dead, and they were listed as
Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered. It is felt that enemy forces know their
In 1980, a Vietnamese defector stated in Congressional testimony that
Vietnam stockpiles hundreds of sets of American remains. Congress believed
him. Since the war ended, some 200 sets of remains said to be those of
missing Americans have been returned by the Vietnamese at what many feel are
politically advantageous moments. Many of those known to have died as
captives have not returned. Scores of men like Wright and Bancroft, on whom
it is felt that information is available to the Vietnamese, have not
The defector also testified that Vietnam holds live American prisoners, that
he had seen them. Congress says he is lying, although nearly 10,000 reports
have been received regarding missing Americans in Southeast Asia. Most
authorities believe that there are still Americans held alive. The U.S. and
Vietnamese "progress" at a snail's pace, while totally ignoring the
tremendous weight of evidence that their priority should be those Americans
still alive as captives.
Meanwhile, the families of those missing spend their lives in the most
tortured state imaginable - unable to grieve, unable to rejoice. They wait.
It's time our men were brought home.