COOK, WILLIAM RICHARD Name: William Richard Cook Rank/Branch: O5/US Air Force Unit: 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, Tan San Nhut Airbase, South Vietnam Date of Birth: 25 May 1924 Home City of Record: Redwood Falls MN Date of Loss: 28 April 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 152300N 1083200E Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 4 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: RF4C Refno: 1147 Other Personnel In Incident: Joseph C. Bors (missing) REMARKS: 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 1998. SYNOPSIS: Capt. Joseph C. Bors was flying backseater aboard LtCol. William R. Cook's RF4C Phantom jet when the two departed Tan San Nhut Airbase in South Vietnam on 28 April 1968 on a day photo reconnaissance mission. The RF4 version of the Phantom is a reconnaissance aircraft outfitted for photographic and electronic reconnaissance missions. Its principal drawback was in its use for night photography. Photo flash cartridges, ejected from the plane's fuselage gave the necessary light, but also alerted enemy gunners of the aircraft's location, making it somewhat vulnerable, particularly on low level flights. Cook and Bors' mission took them into Military Region 1, and into Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam. When they were about 20 miles west southwest of the city of Chu Lai, all contact with the aircraft was lost. Both men were classified Missing In Action. Bill Cook's photograph was identified by a rallier as an American prisoner of war, but as none of the returning prisoners saw Cook, CIA analysts questioned the identification. Perhaps the identification was in error, but it is now widely known that a second and perhaps third prison system existed in Vietnam, and it is possible that returned prisoners did not see the Americans held in other prison systems. No further word of Bors has surfaced. Cook and Bors are among nearly 2400 Americans who are still missing in Southeast Asia. Thousands of sighting reports have accumulated over the years, convincing many that hundreds of Americans are still alive, held prisoner. Whether Cook or Bors is among them is unknown, but what is certain is that it is long past time to bring these men home.