GILCHRIST, ROBERT MICHAEL
Name: Robert Michael Gilchrist
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 27 November 1940
Home City of Record: Littleton CO
Date of Loss: 07 October 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 174800N 1062900E (XE572685)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: Eugene M. Pabst (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 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.
SYNOPSIS: The F4 Phantom served a variety of functions including
fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The
two-man craft was very fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300
miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely
maneuverable and handled well at all altitudes. Most pilots considered it
one of the "hottest" planes around.
1Lt. Robert M. Gilchrist was an Air Force pilot who flew a reconnaissance
version of the Phantom, the RF4C. On October 7, 1966, Gilchrist and his
backseater, 1Lt. Eugene M. Pabst were sent on a reconnaissance mission over
North Vietnam near the city of Ba Don.
During the mission, Gilchrist's aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed.
Both men were listed as Missing In Action. The U.S. believes that the
Vietnamese could account for both of them.
Since the fall of Saigon in 1975, tens of thousands of refugees have fled
Southeast Asia bringing with them stories of Americans still held in
communist prisons. To date, the U.S. Government maintains that none of the
reports can be verified, although intelligence assets are "fully focused" on
Whether Gilchrist and Pabst survived to be captured is unknown. But it seems
clear that hundreds of Americans are still alive, waiting to come home. Men
like Gilchrist and Pabst become the leaders of our nation. We must find the
formula to free them. We cannot afford to abandon our best.
Robert M. Gilchrist graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1963.
Robert M. Gilchrist and Eugene M. Pabst were promoted to the rank of Major
during the period they were maintained Missing in Action.