HARRIS, REUBEN BEAUMONT 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 1998. REMARKS: 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 Tonkin. 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.