Name: James David LaHaye
Rank/Branch: O5/US Navy
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.


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.