HUDSON, ROBERT MARKHAM Name: Robert Markham Hudson Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force, co-pilot Unit: 307th Bomb Wing Date of Birth: Home City of Record: Shawnee Mission KS Date of Loss: 26 December 1972 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 210200N 1055000E (WJ918166) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: B52D Other Personnel in Incident: James R. Cook; Michael H. LaBeau; Duane P. Vavroch (all released POWs); Robert J. Morris Jr.; Nutter J. Wimbrow III (both remains returned) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 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. NETWORK. REMARKS: 730212 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 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 desired, "could have taken the entire country of Vietnam by inserting an average Boy Scout troop in Hanoi and marching them southward." To achieve this precision bombing, the Pentagon deemed it necessary to stick to a regular flight path. For many missions, the predictible B52 strikes were anticipated and prepared for by the North Vietnamese. Later, however, flight paths were altered and attrition all but eliminated any hostile threat from the ground. However, the bombings were not conducted without exceedingly high 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 others remained missing at the end of the war. Over half of these survived to eject safely. What happened to them? One B52D aircraft flown by Capt. Robert J. Morris, Jr. was shot down near Hanoi on December 26, 1972. The crew onboard included Capt. Michael H. LaBeau; Capt. Nutter J. Wimbrow III; 1LT Robert M. Hudson; 1LT Duane P. Vavroch; and SGT James R. Cook. The pilot gave the bail-out order and the crew of the aircraft parachuted to safety. LaBeau, Vavroch, Hudson and Cook were captured by the North Vietnamese almost immediately. Cook had been badly injured. These four spent the next six weeks as "guests" in the Hanoi prison system. Ultimately, they were released in Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973 -- four very lucky airmen. Hanoi denied any knowledge of the pilot, Robert J. Morris or his crew member, Nutter J. Wimbrow III. Then, in late September 1977, the Vietnamese "discovered" the remains of Morris and Wimbrow and returned them to U.S. control. For four years, the Vietnamese denied knowledge of the fate of Morris and Wimbrow, even though the U.S. believed there was a good possibility the two were captured. Disturbing testimony was given to Congress in 1980 that the Vietnamese "stockpiled" the remains of Americans to return at politically advantageous times. Were Morris and Wimbrow waiting in a casket for just such a moment? Even more disturbing are the nearly 10,000 reports received by the U.S. relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many authorities who have examined this information (largely classified), have reluctantly come to the conclusion that many Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia. Were Morris and Wimbrow among these? Perhaps the most compelling questions when remains are returned are, "Is it really who they say it is?", and "How -- and when -- did he die?" As long as reports continue to be received which indicate Americans are still alive in Indochina, we can only regard the return of remains as a politically expedient way to show "progress" on accounting for American POW/MIAs. As long as reports continue to be received, we must wonder how many are alive. As long as even one American remains alive, held against his will, we must do everything possible to bring him home -- alive. 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 ROBERT M. HUDSON Captain - - United States Air Force Shot Down: December 26, l972 Released: March 29, 1973 We have just returned from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, Ohio, and were present at Bob's arrival, 2:50 p.m. 1st of April 1973, from his last address in Hanoi, North Vietnam. Our family thanks you so much for your prayers, hopes and concern, for which we will be eternally grateful. We now relate the story as best we can now about about his experience. Bob was lost in air combat over North Vietnam on the 26th of December, 1972, (Christmas Day our time) as the result of several "SAM" missiles striking their B-52 aircraft shortly after their bomb drop. He was the co-pilot with five other crew members and they lost the aircraft at 9:43 p.m. (Viet time) which forced a hasty ejection into unfriendly territory. We were notifed the following day of his status as an MIA or "Missing In Action" military casualty. The United States Air Force gave us, at that time, the procedure to be followed and they never deviated from these procedures. The military confirmed the fact he was "captured" or Prisoner of War on the 29th of December 1972. This information was received January 4, 1973. On the first of January 1973 we saw television and motion pictures of him in a news press release by the Hungarian news agency. He appeared before cameras and a microphone, and Marj and I both identified him as our son Bob. He appeared uninjured, and still ready to do business. He was in three different camps in the Hanoi area during that time. Since we have now visited with him we find he has some injuries and four of the six crew members are back in the United States. He "left" 52 pounds "over there" and the rest of his problems will be corrected. Incidentally, you can see his picture while in prison on Page 19 of Time Magazine - April 9th issue. His attitude is fantastic and the attitude of all the fellows returning would make you so proud of our military personnel. The recognition from all (including a personal letter from President Nixon) and the reception, just amazes these men. They had no idea how much this country cared. His attitude is so fine and he is more dedicated than ever to making the Air Force his career. The reception and attention Bob and all the family received at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base certainly reconfirms our faith in the good old U.S.A. You can truly be proud of our way when things count. Again, thanks so much for your help during a difficult time. As the folks down South say ... "It's now down hill and shady". Marj. and Paul, parents of Robert M. Hudson
Robert Hudson is still active in the United States Air Force. He and his wife Linda are stationed overseas.
Jun 01 1997 From: Hudson Robert Col RE: POWs shot on the way to the Hanoi Hilton Date You can add another incident, I was shot in the left shoulder by a small caliber weapon while still in the chute. At the time, I was in such pain from other injuries that I didn't really notice it until later and of course had it confirmed during x-rays at Clarke. I am still carrying the bullet, but it has started to migrate towards the surface in the last few years. A couple of years ago I seperated my collar bone while rock climbing and while I was in the emergency room, the staff got into a big argument about the "object" they saw on the x-rays. Rather than ask me about it they just left me lying on the cold table. Being shot while coming down in the chute was a real insult, like where was I going, they were waiting on me. Additionally, after capture, while awaiting my "ride" to Hanoi, I was standing along side a dike with five or six "bad guys" (BG) when the head BG offered me a cigarette. Well, I had quit smoking before I went to VN and declined the smoke. The next thing I knew, four of the BDs chambered rounds into their weapons and squeezed off a volley. No bullets hit me, so I can only guess this was to scare me...it worked. I grabbed the cigarettes and started to smoke, I figured that they weren't going to kill me until I had my last cigarette, like it the movies, and I intended to smoke until they got tired of waiting. Aw what a war, me standing around in my underwear, on the 27th of December, about two in the morning, bleeding from all different parts of my body having a smoke with my new "buds". You can't buy memories like that. GBU, Bob Hudson Col. Hudson served with the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein AB, Germany as Inspector General until his retirement on 28 April 1998.