Remains Returned. See text
Name: James Louis Carter
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 26 October 1928
Home City of Record: Pasadena CA
Date of Loss: 03 February 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 163000N 1064000E (YD008434)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: C123C
Refno: 0248
Other Personnel In Incident: Wilbur R. Brown; Edward M. Parsley; Therman M.
Waller (all missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 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 Fairchild C123 "Provider" was a night attack system/transport
aircraft based on an all-metal glider designed by Chase Aircraft. The
airplane's C123B prototype first flew on September 1, 1954. The C123B, in
the hands of a group of airmen who called themselves "The Mule Train" became
the first transport to see Vietnam service. The C123B transports were soon
joined by UC123Bs of the now-controversial Project Ranch Hand which sprayed
pesticides and herbicides over Vietnam, including Agent Orange.
The Provider, particularly in camoflage paint with mottled topside and light
bottomside, resembled an arched-back whale suspended from the bottom
midpoint of huge dorsal wings. Like other transports, the Provider proved
its versatility during the Vietnam war. The C123 also dispensed flares to
illuminate targets for fighters or tactical bombers, and were dubbed
"Candlestick" when they served in this capacity.
On February 3, 1966, a C123C Provider aircraft with a crew of four,
including its pilot, Capt. Wilbur R. Brown, and crewmembers James L. Carter,
SGT Edward M. Parsley and SGT Therman M. Waller, was assigned a mission on
the border of Laos and South Vietnam about 10 miles southwest of Khe Sanh.
During the mission, radio contact was lost with the Provider and its
whereabouts or those of the crew were never determined.
In April 1969, a rallier identified a number of photographs of missing
Americans as men he believed to have been captured. Wilbur Brown was among
those the rallier selected. CIA questioned the identification as no returned
POWs reported having seen any of the Provider crew in POW camps. It should
be noted, however, that it is now widely believed that more than one prison
system existed in Vietnam, and that prisoners in one were not mingled with
prisoners from another. (Also, given the location of the crash, the
possibility exists that the crew, if captured, may have been taken by Pathet
Lao forces. No Americans were ever released that were held in Laos.)
The mission flown by the C123 lost on February 3, 1966 is not indicated in
public records. It is known that "Candlestick" missions, dispensing flares
to illuminate targets for fighters or tactical bombers, was very effective
against truck traffic in Laos, except in those areas where anti-aircraft
defenses became too formidable. It it possible that the C123C might been on
a "Candlestick" mission.
Brown, Carter, Parsley and Waller were declared Missing In Action by the
U.S. Air Force. They are among nearly 2400 Americans who are unaccounted for
from the Vietnam war. Experts believe there are hundreds of these men still
alive today, waiting for their country to come for them.
Whether the missing men from the Provider lost on February 3, 1966 are among
those still alive is not know. What is certain, however, is that the U.S.
has a moral and legal obligation to do everything possible to bring home
those who are alive.
NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense
No. 582-05
Jun 10, 2005
Vietnam War Missing in Action Serviceman Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced
today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the
Vietnam War, have been identified and are being returned to his family for
burial at Arlington National Cemetery today.
He is Air Force Col. James L. Carter of Johnson City, Tenn.
On Feb. 3, 1966, Carter was the aircraft commander of a C-123 "Provider"
aircraft which had taken off from Khe Sanh in South Vietnam on a supply
mission to Dong Ha, South Vietnam.  The plane was not seen again, and
searches along the flight route did not find a crash site.
Joint U.S. and Vietnamese teams investigated potential crash sites in Quang
Tri Province on three occasions between 1993 and 1999. They interviewed
Vietnamese villagers who took them to three different crash sites.  Only one
of the sites revealed wreckage consistent with that of a C-123 aircraft.
Several of the informants said that the bodies of the crew and passengers
were buried near the site where the aircraft crashed into a mountain in
Specialists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) conducted four
excavations at the site between 2000 and 2003.  During these four
excavations, they recovered human remains, personal effects and other
debris. Laboratory analysis of the remains by forensic scientists at JPAC
led to Carter's identification.  Comparison of dental records with the
recovered remains was a key factor in the identification.
Of the 88,000 Americans missing in action from all conflicts, 1,833 are from
the Vietnam War, with 1,397 of those within the country of Vietnam.  Another
750 Americans have been accounted for in Southeast Asia since the end of the
war. Of the Americans identified, 524 are from within Vietnam.
For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account
for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site at
or call (703) 699-1169.