EARLL, DAVID JOHN Name: David John Earll Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Korat AB TH Date of Birth: 02 March 1938 Home City of Record: Dallas TX Date of Loss: 21 October 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 174012N 1062535E (XE513541) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D Refno: 0502 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 April 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: NO PARA OBS - NO BEEPER - J SYNOPSIS: The F105 Thunderchief ("Thud"), in its various versions, flew more missions against North Vietnam than any other U.S. aircraft. It also suffered more losses, partially due to its vulnerability, which was constantly under revision. Between 1965 and 1971, the aircraft was equipped with armor plate, a secondary flight control system, an improved pilot ejection seat, a more precise navigation system, better blind bombing capability and ECM pods for the wings. The D version was a single-place aircraft. Captain David J. Earll was a pilot assigned to the 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat Airbase, Thailand. On October 21, 1966, he was assigned a bombing mission over North Vietnam. Earll flew as the number two aircraft in a flight of two. Earll was seen to release his rockets on the target and start recovery when his aircraft exploded into a fireball. No parachutes were seen, and efforts to contact Earll by radio were unsuccessful. Still, there was the chance that he ejected safely unseen. Earll was classified Missing in Action. The target was located near the city of Quang Khe in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. Throughout the remainder of the war, Earll's status remained uncertain. Government officials were fairly sure that the enemy knew his fate, but had no solid information that he had been captured. But in 1973, when 591 Americans were released from prisoner of war camps, Earll was not among them. Neither were hundreds that had been known or suspected to be prisoners of war. Following the war, refugee reports began to flow in related to Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Earll's status remained Missing in Action. Then, thirteen years after his aircraft crashed, he was administratively declared dead by the Department of the Air Force based on no specific information to indicate he was still alive. The refugee reports and others received through intelligence channels are largely classified. Many authorities who have examined this evidence believe that hundreds of Americans are still alive today. U.S. Government policy dictates that it operate under the assumption that one or more Americans are still alive, yet no solution to bringing those living Americans has been found. Whether Earll is among those thought to be still alive is not known. What seems certain, however, is that we have not done enough to bring these men home. David J. Earll was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the period he was maintained missing.