Deceased RIP 02/07/2006

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Name: James Edward Hiteshew
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Unit: 355th Combat Support Group, Takhli AB TH, 354th TFS
Date of Birth:
Home City of Record: Weston WV
Date of Loss: 11 March 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 213000N 1055000E (WJ863775)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D
Missions: 75

Other Personnel in Incident: Charles E. Greene (released POW); Joseph J.
Karins Jr. (missing) (both at close proximity on same day)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 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 F105 Thunderchief ("Thud"), in its various versions, flew more
missions against North Vietnam than any other U.S. aircraft. It also
suffered more losses, partially due to its vulnerability, which was
constantly under revision. Between 1965 and 1971, the aircraft was equipped
with armor plate, a secondary flight control system, an improved pilot
ejection seat, a more precise navigation system, better blind bombing
capability and ECM pods for the wings. The D version was a single-place

Capt. Charles E. Greene, Jr., Capt. Joseph J. Karins, Jr., and Major James
E. Hiteshew were all pilots of F105D Thunderchiefs. On March 11, 1967, they
were all dispatched on strike mission over North Vietnam. At a target area
near the city of Thai Nguyen in Vinh Phu Province, all three were shot down
and declared Missing in Action. Greene and Hiteshew ultimately landed in
Vinh Phu Province. Greene was about 5 miles southwest of the city of Thai
Nguyen; Hiteshew was about 8 miles southeast. Karins landed on the border of
Vinh Phu and Ha Bac Provinces, about 8 miles east-southeast of Thai Nguyen.

It was later learned that Greene and Hiteshew had been captured by the North
Vietnamese. Hiteshew's emergency beepers had been heard, and parachute was
observed, but rescue in this hostile territory proved impossible. Other
information indicates that Karins was in radio contact with rescuers, but
was seen to be captured.

On March 4, 1973, 591 Americans were released from communist prisons in
North Vietnam. Greene and Hiteshew were among them. Karins was not. He
remained Missing in Action. According to intelligence received by the
Defense Department, Karins died, but public information does not indicate
how or when. Whether this information was confirmed seems unlikely, as
Karin's status was not changed to Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered. In
fact, it was several years before he was found presumptively dead.

Since American involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, nearly 10,000 reports
relating to Americans missing, prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in
Indochina have been received by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having
examined this largely classified information, have reluctantly concluded
that many Americans are still alive today, held captive by our long-ago

Karins is one of over 2,300 Americans who remain missing in Southeast Asia.
Whether he survived the crash of his aircraft to be captured seems unlikely,
in light of the DIA intelligence report. What is certain, however, is that
we owe these men our every effort to bring them to freedom. Hiteshew and
Greene were imprisoned nearly six years. For Karins, dead or alive, it will
soon be 23 years. It's time we brought our men home.

Karins, who was promoted to the rank of Major during the period he was
missing is now accounted for. His remains were returned to the U.S. on April
6, 1988.


James Hiteshew retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He and
Phyllis resided in North Carolina until her death. "Billie" died Saturday,
December 29, 2001 on their 48th wedding anniversary after sustaining
injuries after a fall on Thanksgiving.

During a Nam-Pows reunion in 1996, he recalled the injuries that preceeded
his capture: "My arm and both legs were broken. My right leg was badly
fractured, my left was broken, but I did not know that until my release. My
left elbow was broken, to this day it is immobile. My first 4 1/2 months in
captivity were spent in a body cast."


Former Air Force POW in Vietnam dies at age 75
February 8, 2006

The Associated Press

Retired Col. James Hiteshew, an Air Force fighter pilot who was a prisoner
of war for six years in North Vietnam, died Tuesday following a brief
illness. He was 75....


ODU student honors his 'papa' on graduation day
The Virginian-Pilot
Wearing his grandfather's POW memorial bracelet, Michael Davis attends address ODU 114th Commencement exercise at Ted Constant Convocation Center in Norfolk ...

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