CASEY, DONALD FRANCIS Name: Donald Francis Casey Rank/Branch: O5/US Air Force Unit: 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron Date of Birth: 25 January 1926 Home City of Record: Chattanooga TN Date of Loss: 23 June 1968 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 175200N 1055500E (WE971755) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 1213 Other Personnel In Incident: James E. Booth (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. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: DEAD/VIETNAM COURIER SYNOPSIS: Jim Booth was the second of nine children born on a farm near Bethany, Missouri. All his life, he knew that what he wanted to do was fly. When he grew up, Booth worked for a while as an economic analyst for the state of California; then he joined the Air Force and received weapons/systems training onboard the F4 phantom fighter jet. By mid-1968, the war in Vietnam was escalating, and Booth and other pilots were called on to fly long hours over enemy targets. Having flown nightly for two weeks, Booth should have been due some R & R, but instead, volunteered to fly backseater for Col. Donald Casey on a night bombing mission over North Vietnam. Casey was a veteran pilot and a career Air Force man. Casey and Booth were to bomb a target in the mountains near the border of North Vietnam and Laos in Quang Binh Province. Just as Casey's aircraft rolled in to make a bombing run, the pilot of a nearby plane saw a large fireball on the side of a mountain. No parachutes were observed, and no emergency radio beeper signals were heard. Attempts to raise Booth and Casey by radio were unsuccessful. Information was later received that both Casey and Booth were dead. However, since this information was not confirmed by separate sources, Casey and Booth were maintained as Missing in Action. Other men lost in similar circumstances had survived to be captured -- there was no proof that Casey and Booth were dead. Since the war ended in Vietnam, refugees have flooded the world, bringing with them stories of Americans still held in Indochina. Many authorities, having reviewed this largely classified information, now believe that hundreds of American POWs are still alive, waiting for their country to come for them. Whether Casey and Booth actually survived the downing of their aircraft on June 23, 1968 is unknown. Their families cannot be sure. Until the U.S. insists on a full accounting of those missing, and more critically, the return of those said to be still alive, Casey's and Booth's fates will remain a mystery.