Name: Reuben Beaumont Harris
Rank/Branch: E2/US Navy
Unit: Heavy Attack Squadron 4, Detachment C, USS KITTY HAWK
Date of Birth: 12 April 1938
Home City of Record: Columbus OH
Date of Loss: 12 April 1966
Country of Loss: China/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 210800N 1111700E (DN080420)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: KA3B
Refno: 0299

Other Personnel in Incident: William A. Glasson; Larry M. Jordan (missing);
Kenneth W. Pugh (remains returned)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews: 15
March 1990. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2020.


SYNOPSIS: On April 12, 1966, at 1134 hours, LtCdr. William A. Glasson,
pilot; and LtJG Larry M. Jordan, ATCS Reuben B. Harris and PRCS Kenneth W.
Pugh, crewmembers, were flying a KA3B aerial tanker from Naval Air Station
Cubi Point, Republic of the Philippines for a return flight to their base
carrier. The crew were all assigned to Heavy Attack Squadron 4, Detachment
Charlie on board the USS Kitty HAWK. The aircraft had just undergone repair
of minor skin damage in the nosewheel area. When the aircraft did not arrive
at the ship at the planned recovery time, a search and rescue effort was
initiated with the assistance of the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65) and units from
the 3rd ARRG/13th Air Force.

A diplomatic incident occurred on April 19th when twenty-four aircraft from
the KITTY HAWK hit a harbor town 35 miles from the Chinese border. No
aircraft were lost over the town, Cam Pha, but a Polish merchant ship in the
harbor claimed to have been nearly struck by a bomb. Messages flew between
Washington D.C. and the fleet regarding details of the incident.

Hitting so close to Communist China's borders was dangerous. Soon the
Chinese began claiming numerous violations of their airspace by "United
States Imperialists". The Chinese claimed the destruction of the KA3B
aircraft lost on April 12, saying the aircraft had flown into Chinese
territory and was shot down near Hainan Island, which roughly correlated in
both time and approximate locationwith the missing KA3B aircraft. Protests
were lodged by the State Department, but the Communists maintained that the
plane was attacking Chinese fishermen on the high seas of the Gulf of

It was later determined after search and rescue efforts were terminated that
the A-3B aircraft was in fact shot down in the vicinity of the Luichow
Peninsula, Kuangtung Province, China. It was the opinion of a casualty
review board that the crew most likely was killed in the crash.

Normally, tankers are unarmed, but they still retained their weapons bay,
and the United States never denied outright that the Skywarrior was armed.
This is not the first time such a situation had occurred. From time to time,
there were claims and counterclaims of shootdowns and harassment. (It is
probably true also that American pilots in hot pursuit of escaping MiGs may
have inadvertently - or intentionally - chased their quarry into Red China.)

On December 16, 1975, the People's Republic of China returned ashes it said
were those of Kenneth Pugh, but gave no word of the rest of the crew. The
three are among less than a dozen Americans missing in China from the
Vietnam war.

There is mounting evidence that China retained (and retains today) many
Americans from the Korean conflict, while denying knowledge of there
whereabouts. While the circumstances of the loss of the KA3B does not seem
to indicate that any of the crew survived, it would seem that if China could
account for Pugh, it could also account for Glasson, Jordan and Harris.





Return to Service Member Profiles

On April 12, 1966, a KA-3B Skywarrior (tail number 14-2653, call sign "Holly Green 03") carrying four crew members took off from Cubi Point, Philippines, headed for the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CVA 63) in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Skywarrior failed to reach the Kitty Hawk at the scheduled time, prompting search and rescue efforts. A short time later, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) announced that it had shot down a U.S. aircraft that violated its airspace. The search efforts were then focused on the area where the PRC claimed the plane was shot down; however, no sign of wreckage or survivors could be located. In December of 1975, Chinese officials returned the cremated remains of one member of the Skywarrior’s crew. The PRC had no further information regarding the other three members of the Skywarrior’s crew, who remain unaccounted for.

Aviation Electronic Technician Second Class Reuben Beaumont Harris, who joined the U.S. Navy from Ohio, was a member of Heavy Attack Squadron 4. He was the plane captain of the Skyhawk when it was shot down, and his remains were not recovered. Subsequent to the incident, and while carried in the status of missing in action (MIA), the U.S. Navy promoted Aviation Electronic Technician Second Class Harris to the rank of Chief Aviation Electronics Technician (ATCM). Today, Chief Aviation Electronics Technician Harris 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.

Service member profile discrepancy? Please help us ensure the accuracy of each profile by submitting documentation about a service member profile.