Name: Robert Elwood Bennett III
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 558th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 08 December 1942
Home City of Record: Springfield NJ
Date of Loss: 13 December 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 100200N 1061857E (XS431091)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C
Refno: 0938

Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 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 Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served
a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2),
and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission
type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and
high altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes

1Lt. Robert E. Bennett III was the pilot of an F4C aircraft which was
assigned a close air support mission in South Vietnam on December 13, 1967.
His aircraft, the number two plane in a flight of two, had delivered its
ordnance and the crewmembers were instructed to drop the canisters in a
river. They acknowledged the transmission and immediately thereafter they
were seen to eject with good parachutes. (There is no indication in public
records why the crew ejected.)

Bennett and his Bombardier/Navigator landed in a river (from coordinates,
probably the Song Co Chien river, a large body of water separating Vinh Binh
and Kien Hoa Provinces on the southern coast of Vietnam). According to Air
Force records, one crewman was rescued uninjured, and he was the pilot of
the aircraft. Defense Department records indicate that Bennett was the pilot
of the aircraft. Bennett's parachute sank before rescue personnel could
reach him.

Since the war ended in Vietnam, refugees have flooded the world, bringing
with them stories of American soldiers still held prisoner in their
homeland. Many authorities now believe that hundreds were left behind as
living hostages.

Robert E. Bennett apparently did not survive the events of December 13,
1967. His family has accepted that he is dead. They no longer expect him to
come home someday. But hundreds of families wait expectantly and in the
special agony only uncertainty can bring. Hundreds of men wait in caves,
cages and prisons. How much longer will we allow the abandonment of our best
men? It's time we brought them home.




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On December 9, 2011, the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC, now DPAA) identified the remains of First Lieutenant Robert Elwood Bennett III, missing from the Vietnam War.

First Lieutenant Bennett joined the U.S. Air Force from New Jersey and was a member of the 558th Tactical Fighter Squadron. On December 13, 1967, he and another officer were flying an F-4C Phantom II that crashed while flying a close air support mission in Tra Vinh Binh Province, Vietnam. Both men ejected and landed in the Co Chien River, but 1st Lt Bennett sank and drowned before he could be rescued. In 2010, a Vietnamese citizen reported discovering human remains in the Tien River, not far from 1st Lt Bennett's last known location. The remains were turned over to U.S. authorities, and, in 2011, were identified as those of 1st Lt Bennett.

First Lieutenant Bennett is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

If you are a family member of this serviceman, you may contact your casualty office representative to learn more about your service member.