KING, DONALD LEWIS

Name: Donald Lewis King
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Unit: 43rd Tactical Fighter, Squadron (Satan's Angels)
Date of Birth: 28 August 1933
Home City of Record: Muskegon MI
Date of Loss: 14 May 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 172900N 1062300E (XE504390)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C
Refno: 0338

Other Personnel In Incident: Frank D. Ralston (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 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 2020.

REMARKS: NO SUB INTEL INFO

SYNOPSIS: Donald King had been in the Air Force 13 years when he went to
Vietnam to fly with "Satan's Angels" out of Ubon, Thailand. His 43rd
Tactical Fighter Squadron was among the first fighter squadrons sent to
Vietnam. His wife and four children were accustomed to his frequent
absences, but eagerly awaited his return. King was regarded as a top pilot
and had been invited to join the Air Force aerial performance team, the
Thunderbirds. He was a former test pilot, and had learned Russian in a Naval
intelligence school.

Frank Dalzell Ralston III had a promising career in the Air Force. A 1963
graduate of the Air Force Academy whom classmates called "Brank", Frank was
well liked and excelled in athletics. When he shipped out to Vietnam and a
young officer, he joined "Satan's Angels" fighter squadron.

On May 14, 1966 King was the wing commander and the pilot of an F4C aircraft
sent on a night mission over North Vietnam. He and backseater Frank Ralston
were about 10 miles behind another F4 Phantom when a flash of light streaked
across the predawn sky and the aircraft vanished.

A garbled radio message from King's aircraft prompted one jet pilot in the
formation to change course over the Gulf. Heading back, he spotted the
intense light shooting 20 degrees above the horizon. King's plane, carrying
a full load of bombs, was last tracked in the air 20 miles west of the
coastal city of Dong Hoi North Vietnam.

King and Ralston are among nearly 2500 Americans who did not return from
Southeast Asia at the end of the war. Some were known to have been taken
prisoner. Most can be accounted for by the communist governments of the
region.

The Vietnamese have continually raised the issue of accountability in the
context of aid and/or diplomatic and trade relations, but the U.S.
Government has been reluctant to negotiate on this basis, preferring instead
to maintain a strict "humanitarian" level of discussion, which has resulted
in the return of a few remains, but no American prisoners of war.

Our American soldiers go to war prepared to be wounded, taken prisoner, even
prepared to die. They do not go prepared to be abandoned. If there is even
ONE American alive, we must do everything possible to bring him home.

Donald L. King was promoted to the rank of Colonel and Frank D. Ralston III
to the rank of Major during the period they were maintained Missing in
Action.

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01/2020

https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000KYzeEAG

COL DONALD LEWIS KING

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On May 14, 1966, an F-4C Phantom II (tail number 64-0760, call sign "Skunk 02") carrying two crew members took off as the second of two aircraft on an armed reconnaissance mission over enemy targets in North Vietnam. During the mission, the flight leader called this Phantom and asked for its altitude, but received no response, so the leader asked for a radio check. The Phantom's crew responded to the check while they were near (GC) 48Q 504 390, and the flight leader continued on the mission. However, as he turned towards the target, the flight leader noticed a white flash that lasted for a few seconds, after which he attempted to locate the Phantom on radar but was unsuccessful. There had been no surface-to-air missile warnings during the mission and no crash was observed. The flight leader continued to search for the Phantom but could not locate it and notified search and rescue aircraft in the area. Other aircraft nearby attempted to reach the Phantom by radio but it never responded, and neither crew member could be located following the aircraft's disappearance. 

Captain Donald Lewis King entered the U.S. Air Force from Michigan and served in the 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron. He was the aircraft commander aboard the F-4C when it was lost and his remains were not recovered. Following the incident, the Air Force promoted Capt King to the rank of Colonel (Col). Today, Colonel King is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

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