Name: Clifford Wayne Fieszel
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 23 November 1937
Home City of Record: Lubbock TX
Date of Loss: 30 September 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 172700N 1063200E (XE631311)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F105F
Refno: 1295

Other Personnel In Incident: Howard H. Smith (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews, information from
George Fieszel. Updated 2020.


SYNOPSIS: The F105 Thunderchief (or "Thud") performed yoeman service on many
diversified missions in Southeast Asia. F105s flew more combat missions over
North Vietnam than any other USAF aircraft and consequently suffered the
heaviest losses in action. They dropped bombs by day and occasionally by
night from high or low altitude and some later versions (F105D in Wild
Weasel guise) attacked SAM sites with their radar tracking air-to-ground
missiles. This versatile aircraft was also credited with downing 25 Russian

Capt. Clifford Fieszel the pilot and Maj. Howard H. Smith was the
Electronic Warfare Officer of an F105 assigned a combat mission over North
Vietnam on September 30, 1968. During the mission, about 50 miles north of
the DMZ near Quang Khe, the aircraft was hit by enemy ground fire. Fieszel's
wingman had just been hit and headed out to sea, and did not see the plane

Search and rescue units monitored beeper signals for 24 hours after
Fieszel's plane went down, but were unable to rescue him or Smith. On the
following day, Radio Hanoi announced that two F105's had been shot down in
the Quang Khe and the pilot of the second plane had been captured. On
October 7 a Hanoi newspaper repeated the story. It was thought that the
Vietnamese believed the wingman's plane had also gone down since it was on
fire when it headed out to sea. No mention was made of Smith in either

When the last American troops left Southeast Asia in 1975, some 2500
Americans were unaccounted for. Reports received by the U.S. Government
since that time build a strong case for belief that hundreds of these
"unaccounted for" Americans are still alive and in captivity.

Until the fates of the men like Fieszel and Smith are known, their families
will wonder if they are dead or alive .. and why they were deserted.

Howard H. Smith was promoted to the rank of Colonel and Clifford W. Fieszel
to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the period they were maintained
Missing in Action.

Opal Fieszel Button of Texarkana, Texas, passed away on 01 August 2002. She
was the mother of LtCol. Clifford W. Fieszel.





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On September 30, 1968, an F-105F Thunderchief (tail number 63-8317, call sign "Bison 01") took off from Takhli Airbase, Thailand, carrying two crew members on a combat mission over North Vietnam. "Bison 01" was one aircraft in a flight of two, seeking out enemy surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) located west of Dong Hoi, Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. Upon approach to a detected SAM site, the site's radar signal suddenly ceased, and moments later "Bison 01" was hit by ground fire and crashed near Quang Khe, North Vietnam. Soon after the crash, the pilot of an aircraft in another flight picked up an emergency radio transmission and identified the voice as that of the pilot of the lost Thunderchief. Search and rescue efforts were immediately initiated, but no additional emergency signals were received and no sign of the crash site or the crew was found.

Captain Clifford Wayne Fieszel entered the U.S. Air Force from Texas and was a member of the 333rd Tactical Fighter Squadron. He was the pilot of this Thunderchief when it crashed, and his remains were not recovered.  Subsequent to the incident, and while carried in the status of MIA, the U.S. Air Force promoted Captain Fieszel to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  Today, Lieutenant Colonel Fieszel is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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