KARINS, JOSEPH JOHN JR. Remains Returned 06 April 1988 Name: Joseph John Karins Jr. Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: (probably) 355th Combat Support Group, Takhli AB TH Date of Birth: 21 April 1938 Home City of Record: Syracuse NY Date of Loss: 11 March 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 213300N 1055000E (WJ862830) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D Refno: 0615 Other Personnel in Incident: James E. Hiteshew; Charles E. Greene (both released POWs); (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. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: DEAD/IR 1 237 0040 74 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 aircraft. 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 enemy. 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.