Name: Arthur Thomas Hoffson
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 555th TFS
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Cameron TX
Date of Loss: 17 August 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 173400N 1061700E (XE361443)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D
Missions: 97
Other Personnel in Incident: William E. Powell (remains returned) pilot
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 June 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 Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served
a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely 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 low and
high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art
electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing
capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest"
planes around.
1LT William E. Powell was the pilot of an F4D assigned a combat mission over
North Vietnam on August 17, 1968. His co-pilot on the flight was
1LT Arthur T. Hoffson.
During the mission, the aircraft was struck by enemy fire and the crew was
forced to eject from the plane. Hoffson, as backseater, ejected first,
according to procedure, and was captured by the Vietnamese. The fate of
William E. Powell was uncertain. He was declared Missing in Action.
(NOTE: The Defense Department gives specific loss coordinates for William E.
Powell, indicating that his loss location is known precisely. Since he was
declared Missing rather than Killed, it can be logically assumed that he did
not go down with the aircraft, but rather ejected safely.)
When Arthur T. Hoffson was released with 590 other Americans in Operation
Homecoming in the spring of 1973, Powell was not with him. The Vietnamese
denied any knowledge of William E. Powell.
Then in late 1985, the Vietnamese "discovered" and returned to U.S. control
the remains of William E. Powell. Two years later, the U.S. announced that
the identity of these remains had been authenticated and they were turned
over to the Powell family for burial.
Nearly 2500 Americans did not return from the war in Vietnam. Thousands of
reports have been received indicating that some hundreds remain alive in
captivity. As in the case of William E. Powell, Vietnam and her communist
allies can account for most of them. Current "negotiations" between the U.S.
and Vietnam have yielded increasing numbers of American remains, although
most of these remains are yet to be positively identified. The families of
some of these men at least have the peace of knowing whether their loved one
is alive or dead.
In the total view of the issue of the missing, however, the return of
remains signals no progress. In the early 1980's the very credible
Congressional testimony of a Vietnamese mortician indicated that the
Vietnamese "stockpile" over 400 sets of American remains, which they release
at politically-dictated intervals. More importantly, the same credible
witness, whose testimony regarding the remains is believed throughout
Congress, stated that he had seen live Americans held at the same location
where the remains were stored--after the war was over and "all American
prisoners had been released."
As long as even one American remains alive in captivity in Solutheast Asia,
the only issue is that one living man. We must bring our men home before
there are only remains to negotiate for.
During the period William E. Powell was maintained missing and Arthur T.
Hoffson was a prisoner, both were promoted to the rank of Captain.
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
Captain - United States Air Force
Shot Down: August 17, 1968
Released: March 14, 1973
Currently in T-38 recurrency for assignment to Tactical Air Command in F4
                          fighter aircraft.
                          HOW SWEET IT IS!
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness. All the things we are so
accustomed to that we sometimes take for granted. We should all stop
occasionally and reflect on the price the young men of America have paid to
secure our way of life. And all they ask is that we pass our precious heritage
along intact to our children and our childrens' children, as it has been
preserved for us.
Arthur Hoffson retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He and
his wife Susie resided in Florida until his death 06/02/2006.
A poem written by Lt. Arthur T. Hoffson. Lt. Hoffson was shot down
and captured by the North Vietnamese on August 17, 1968 and released March
14, 1973
The years went swiftly, passed us bye
But you would seldom hear us cry
And though in irons we'd often lie
We never lost that dream we'll fly
The fuse burned on it's endless length
While from each other we gained our strength
Because we knew we'd one day roam
The cloudless skies above our home
Our faith is strong our hearts are free
To God we pray on bended knee
For those we love across the sea
We know will always waiting be
So light a candle for our lot
Some love, a prayer, but pity not
For we're strong men, all brave, all true
Who place their hopes and dreams with you

Lt. Art Hoffson
Hanoi, 1971