MASON, WILLIAM HENDERSON Group Burial 06/10/2010
Name: William Henderson Mason Rank/Branch: O3/USAF Unit: 41st Tactical Airlift Squadron, Ubon Airbase, Thailand Date of Birth: 12 October 1924 Home City of Record: Camden AR Date of Loss: 22 May 1968 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 162000N 1063000E (XC843858) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 4 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: C130A Refno: 1187
Other Personnel in Incident: Jerry L. Chambers; Calvin C. Glover; Thomas E. Knebel; John Q. Adam; William T. McPhail; Thomas B. Mitchell; Gary Pate; Melvin D. Rash (all 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 2010.
REMARKS: CONTACT LOST - NFI
SYNOPSIS: The Lockheed C130 Hercules aircraft was a multi-purpose propeller driven aircraft, used as transport, tanker, gunship, drone controller, airborne battlefield command and control center, weather reconnaissance craft, electronic reconnaissance platform; search, rescue and recovery craft.
In the hands of the "trash haulers", as the crews of Tactical Air Command transports styled themselves, the C130 proved the most valuable airlift instrument in the Southeast Asia conflict, so valuable that Gen. William Momyer, 7th Air Force commander, refused for a time to let them land at Khe Sanh where the airstrip was under fire from NVA troops surrounding that base.
Just following the Marine Corps operation Pegasus/Lam Son 207 in mid-April 1968, to relieve the siege of Khe Sanh, Operation Scotland II began in the Khe Sanh area, more or less as a continuation of this support effort. The C130 was critical in resupplying this area, and when the C130 couldn't land, dropped its payload by means of parachute drop.
One base from which the C130 flew was Ubon, located in northeast Thailand. C130 crews from this base crossed Laos to their mission areas in Vietnam. One C130 crew from Ubon was comprised of LtCol. William H. Mason and Capt. Thomas B. Mitchell, pilots; Capt. William T. McPhail, Maj. Jerry L. Chambers [SEE NOTE BELOW], SA Gary Pate, SSgt. Calvin C. Glover, AM1 Melvin D. Rash and AM1 John Q. Adam, crew members.
On May 22, 1968, this crew departed Ubon in a C130A carrying one passenger - AM1 Thomas E. Knebel. Radio contact was lost while the aircraft was over Savannakhet Province, Laos near the city of Muong Nong (suggesting that its target area may have been near the DMZ). When the aircraft did not return to friendly control, the crew was declared Missing In Action from the time of estimated fuel exhaustion. There was no further word of the aircraft or its crew.
The nine members of the crew are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many are known to have been alive on the ground following their shoot downs. Although the Pathet Lao publicly stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, not one American held in Laos has ever been released. Laos did not participate in the Paris Peace accords ending American involvment in the war in 1973, and no treaty has ever been signed that would free the Americans held in Laos, and not one of them has returned home.
William Mason was a 1946 graduate of West Point. Thomas Mitchell was a 1963 graduate of the Air Force Academy. Mason was promoted to the rank of Colonel during the period he was maintained missing.
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 19:25:05 -0700 From: (Chris Chambers)
There is some information incorrect in this posting. LTC, then Major Chambers was the passanger. LTC. Jerry L Chambers was a FAC assigned to the 23rd TASS at NAKOM PHANOM. During this flight he was present as an observer.
Just wanted to let you know, the group remains burial for the crew from this C-130 will occur on 10 Jun 2010 at 0800 at Arlington National Cemetery. There will be a flyover of the remains transfer at 9:00 a.m.