LaHAYE, JAMES DAVID Name: James David LaHaye Rank/Branch: O5/US Navy Unit: Date of Birth: 21 July 1923 Home City of Record: Green Bay WI Date of Loss: 08 May 1965 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 185000N 1054659E (WF825824) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 5 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8D Refno: 0081 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 with the assistance of 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: GFIRE - CRASH AT SEA - NO PARA SYNOPSIS: The Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of Tonkin reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively by the Navy and Marine air wings and represented half or more of the carrier fighters in the Gulf of Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The aircraft was credited with nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam. The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were the C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie carried only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions as CAP (Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a heavier reinforced wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were used to attack ground targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo version launched with less fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and frequently arrived back at ship low on fuel. The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar fighters. Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader pilots were recovered; 47 were not. Fourteen of these pilots were captured and released. The other thirty-three remained missing at the end of the war.The breakdown of those not recovered is as follows: A/C Total Number Number MIA/Released by Year Model Lost MIA/RELSD 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 F8E 28 18/10 4/3 5/3 6/3 4/0 --- --- --- --- F8C 7 4/3 --- 1/0 3/3 --- --- --- --- --- F8D 6 5/1 5/1 --- --- --- --- --- --- --- F8J 4 4/0 --- --- --- --- --- 1/0 1/0 1/1 F8H 2 2/0 --- --- --- 1/0 1/0 --- --- --- Lt.Col. James D. LaHaye was the pilot of an F8D Crusader launched on May 8, 1965 for a mission over North Vietnam. At a point about 10 miles from shore and 20 miles northeast of the city of Vinh, in Nghe An Province, Lt.Col. LaHaye's aircraft was shot down. Accompanying aircraft stated that LaHaye's aircraft had been hit and evaded over water for easier possible rescue. LaHaye apparently did not eject, as aircraft observed no parachutes. It was felt that Lt.Col. LaHaye was killed when his aircraft went down. Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive today. Fighter pilots in Vietnam were called upon to fly in many dangerous circumstances, and were prepared to be wounded, killed, or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they proudly served. It would not appear that LaHaye survived to be captured. But one can imagine that he would cheerfully be one of the first in line to help bring his comrades home to freedom.