GRANGER, PAUL LOUIS
Name: Paul Louis Granger Rank/Branch: O1/US Air Force, co-pilot Unit: 307th Strategic Wing, Utapoa AF TH Date of Birth: 8 March 1948 Home City of Record: San Francisco CA Date of Loss: 20 December 1972 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 210500N 1055900E (WJ869477) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Acft/Vehicle/Ground: B52D
Other Personnel In Incident: Thomas J. Klomann (released POW); Arthur V. McLaughlin; Irwin S. Lerner; Randolph A. Perry Jr.; John F. Stuart (all missing); from a B52G at WJ692313: William Y. Arcuri; Terry M. Geloneck; Roy Madden Jr.; Michael R. Martini (all released POWs); Craig A. Paul; Warren R. Spencer (both remains returned)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 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.
REMARKS: 730329 RELSD BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: Frustrated by problems in negotiating a peace settlement, and pressured by a Congress and public wanting an immediate end to American involvement in Vietnam, President Nixon ordered the most concentrated air offensive of the war, known as Linebacker II, in December 1972. During the offensive, sometimes called the "Christmas bombings," 40,000 tons of bombs were dropped, primarily over military targets in the area between Hanoi and Haiphong. White House Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler said that the bombing would end only when all U.S. POWs were released and an internationally recognized cease-fire was in force.
The Christmas Bombings, despite press accounts to the contrary, were of the most precise the world had seen. Pilots involved in the immense series of strikes generally agree that the strikes against anti-aircraft and strategic targets was so successful that the U.S., had it wished, "could have taken the entire country of Vietnam by inserting an average Boy Scout troop in Hanoi and marching them southward."
The operation had its costs, however, in loss of aircraft and personnel. During the month of December 1972, 62 crewmembers of B52 aircraft were shot down and captured or went missing. Of these 62, 33 men were released in 1973. The remains of roughly a dozen more have been returned over the years, and the rest are still missing. At least 10 those missing survived to eject safely. Yet they did not return at the end of the war.
On December 20, 1972, three B52 aircraft departed Utapao Airbase, Thailand for a bombing mission over Hanoi. During the mission, two of the three aircraft were shot down by surface-to-air missiles (SAM). One of the aircraft, a B52G, contained the following crewmembers: Capt. Warren R. Spencer; Capt. Craig A. Paul; Capt. Terry M. Geloneck; 1LT William Y. Arcuri; 1LT Michael R. Martini; and SSgt. Roy Madden, Jr. SSgt. Madden was the gunner on this aircraft.
The number three aircraft in the flight, a B52D, contained the following crew members: Major John F. Stewart, pilot; Major Randolph A. Perry, R/Nav; Capt. Thomas J. Klomann, Nav; Capt. Irwin S. Lerner, EWO; 1Lt. Paul L. Granger, Co-Pilot; and Chief Master Sgt. Arthur V. McLaughlin, Jr., Gunner.
These two B52 crews met varied fates. On the first aircraft, all but Paul and Spencer were captured and released in 1973. Madden, Martini, Arcuri and Geloneck were all injured; Madden sufficiently that he was brought home on a litter. The remains of Paul and Spencer were returned by the Vietnamese on September 30, 1977, despite earlier denials that the Vietnamese knew anything about the two.
From the second aircraft, only two men were captured and released -- Granger and Klomann. Klomann was sufficiently injured that it was necessary to bring him off the Freedom bird on a litter.
From the two aircraft, Lerner, McLaughlin, Perry and Stuart remain unaccounted for. The U.S. believes there is ample reason to suspect the Vietnamese could account for these men, yet the Vietnamese deny any knowledge of them.
One thing that amazed analysts about the B52 bombers that were shot down over Hanoi during this period was the high survival rate of the crewmembers. Many more were returned as POWs than was expected. The B52s that were shot down were downed in extremely hostile territory with little or no chance of rescue. However, they were fortunate to be captured during a period in which little or no harassment and torture was being experienced by American POWs. In fact, the Vietnamese were, during this time, "fattening them up" for what they believed was to be their imminent release.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that all the prisoners were returned in 1973 at the end of the war. Since the end of the war, thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. Government relating to Americans still alive in captivity. Experts in the U.S. Government have stated they believe Americans are still being held prisoner in Southeast Asia. The question then, is no longer whether or not they are alive, but who are they, and how can we bring them home?
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
PAUL L. GRANGER Lieutenant- United States Air Force Shot Down: December 20, 1972 Released: March 29, 1973
I was born March 9, 1948 in Burlington Vermont. My father was a Sergeant in the United States Air Force and I spent most of my life traveling from place to place. I finally ended up in Terra Linda, California, during my senior year in high school and continued my education at San Francisco State College. I graduated in June 1970 with a B. A. in psychology.
I received my commission in June 1970 through AFROTC. I next attended pilot training at Columbus AFB Mississippi, and graduated in November 1971. I was assigned to the 346th B. 5. at Westover AFB, Massachusetts, and was certified a B-52 co-pilot in October 1972. I was deployed to Andersen AFB Guam on October 1, 1972 and from there to Utapoa, a Thailand on December 17, 1972. I was shot down on December 20, 1972 while on a mission over Hanoi.
I would now like to relate a few brief facts relating to my shoot down and relatively short imprisonment. On the evening of December 20th, we departed Utapoa, Thailand for our second mission over Hanoi. The previous night we had struck a large steel factory north of Hanoi and encountered only light defense, but we could all see the uncountable number of SAMs being launched at the strike force over Hanoi. It was with a feeling of apprehension and, to some degree, fear that we turned inbound headed for our target. It was upon rolling out of our turn that we began hearing the beepers of a crew who we knew must have been shot down prior to our arrival, and the reality of the situation became more acute. Shortly thereafter, we were hit by a MIG which started a fire in the forward wheel well. Soon after the MIG passed a volley of 3 SAMs were fired toward us from our 2 o'clock. We began to maneuver left but were simultaneously hit by all three SAMs.
The aircraft was in a flat spin to the left with the right wing on fire. We had complete loss of electrical power, rapid decompression, and no interphone. The pilot motioned to me to eject. I was soon going through the black environment of 29,000 feet feeling like a rag doll being tossed across the room. I pulled my ripcord in hopes that I would be able to float farther away from Hanoi and possibly stay above the anti-aircraft flak for a while longer. It was only after my chute had opened that I began to realize the full significance of the situation I was in. I was over the most densely populated area of North Vietnam, with hostile fire below me, and I was unable to contact anyone on my survival radio. Had I survived the aircraft explosion to be killed by AAA, impaled on a tree, or shot by an irate Vietnamese? Confusion, fear, frustration, and perhaps shock were all emotions which I possessed throughout my descent; but above all I felt gratified that God had allowed me to live even a few moments longer. I came through a low cloud cover to find about 150 Vietnamese below me. After they fired a few warning shots I knew they were serious about capturing me and I was apprehended as soon as I touched the ground.
I arrived at the Hanoi Hilton the afternoon of December 21 and remained in isolation for 8 days. These days were the hardest I encountered during my captivity. The stress of isolation was complicated by the many questions I kept asking myself. Does my wife and family know I am alive? Are they all well? What do my captors intend to do with me?
These, of course, were not questions that I could answer from my position and all I could do was speculate. The answers I arrived at went from one end of the spectrum to the other. A lot of these questions and emotions were put aside when I was put with a group of five other B-52 crewmen.
The majority of our time was spent playing cards and chess. There was also an awful lot of debate on just about every subject possible. After the peace treaty was signed it was just a matter of waiting out the 60 days. We certainly were more fortunate than those who had been shot down during the early years.
I finally arrived at Clark AFB on March 29, 1973 on the last aircraft out of Hanoi. It was only then that I began to realize how great all the people of the United States were to myself and to my family in particular. The feeling of my new found freedom was indescribable but the gratitude I feel toward all those who have done so much can never be fully expressed. I also feel greatly indebted to all the brave veterans who have returned, and only wish there was some way to express my thanks to the men who will never come back. I hope that all the energy put forth in welcoming us home will now be vented toward obtaining a full accounting of all MIA's - a task worthy of our most determined efforts. Again, thank you all for a homecoming I'll never forget. I hope it is the last time we will have to welcome home POWs.
Paul Granger resides in California.