Name: Donald Garth Fisher
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Unit: 16th Special Operations Squadron, Ubon Airbase, Thailand
Date of Birth: 30 June 1930
Home City of Record: Hazleton PA
Date of Loss: 22 April 1970
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 154400N 1065100E (XC990410)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: AC130A
Refno: 1600

Other Personnel in Incident: Ronnie Hensley; Robert Ireland;Stephen Harris;
Donald Lint; William Brooks; Charles B. Davis; Thomas Y. Adachi; John C.
Towle; Charles Rowley (all missing); Eugene L. Fields (rescued).

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: In the early hours of April 22, 1970, an AC130 gunship flown by
veteran pilot Major William Brooks departed Ubon Airbase with a crew of ten
for a Commando Hunt mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in southern Laos. The
aircraft, code named "Ad Lib", was joined near its destination by two jet
escort fighter bombers, code named "Killer 1" and "Killer 2", and
immediately began air strikes against enemy traffic below. The crew of the
aircraft included Brooks, the pilot; SSgt. Thomas Y. Adachi, the aerial
gunner; LtCol. Charlie B. Davis, a navigator; Maj. Donald G. Fisher, a
navigator; SSgt. Stephen W. Harris; SSgt. Ronnie L. Hensley; Master Sgt.
Robert N. Ireland; Airman Donald M. Lint; LtCol. Charles S. Rowley; and 1Lt.
John C. Towle.

During its fourth strike, the gunship was hit by anti-aircraft fire and
began burning. Brooks radioed, "I've been hit, babe". Fisher, the navigator,
reported that his position was OK. Fields and Hensley, battling the blaze in
the rear of the aircraft, lost contact with each other in the smoke. Fields
inched his way to Adachi's position, and found Adachi gone and the left
scanner window open. Fields used an auxiliary parachute to abandon the

Killer 1 reported seeing no parachutes, although Killer 2 reported the crew
was bailing out. Just before Killer 1 departed the area for refueling, it
received one emergency beeper signal from the ground. Killer 2 established
voice contact with a member of the crew identifying himself as Ad-Lib 12
(Fisher), who reported that he had burns on his face and hands. Killer 2
also left for refueling, while other aircraft monitored the downed craft and
waited for morning to attempt rescue of the survivors.

The following morning, Ad-Lib 11 (Fields) was rescued, but due to hostile
ground forces, no ground search or photographs were made at the time. The
Air Force assumed at the time that Fields had incorrectly identified
himself, and announced that 6 of the crew had been killed and four were

The rest of the story is confusing. The family of one of the crew was told
that a ground crew had been inserted and that partial remains of one crew
member had been recovered. Another family was advised that photographs of
the crashsite existed. A photograph of a captive airman having burn bandages
on his hands was identified as being Fisher by his family. Rowley's family
was informed of a secret intelligence report indicating that 8 of the crew
had been captured, and that a controlled American source had witnessed them
being tortured to death for their "crimes".

A returned POW reported seeing Rowley in a propaganda film. Another returned
POW stated that Fisher had been a POW. Although the Air Force would not
allow family members to contact the only survivor, Fields, Fisher's son
located him after 18 years. Fisher denied ever being in contact with any of
the Killer jet escorts. It was not he who identified himself by radio to
rescue forces.

Apparently, at least some of the crew of Ad Lib survived to be captured in
Laos, often called the "Black Hole" of the POW issue because of nearly 600
lost there, not a SINGLE man was released that had been held in Laos. The
Pathet Lao stated on several occasions that they held prisoners, yet we
never negotiated their freedom, and reports continue to be received that
some of these men are still alive. The surviving crew members lost that day
were abandoned by the country for which they bravely fought.