Remains Returned - ID Announced 891026

Name: Samuel Chapman Maxwell
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 24 July 1927
Home City of Record: Omaha NE
Date of Loss: 12 September 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 175200N 1062300E (XE480772)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D
Refno: 1276
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 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. While the D version was a
single-place aircraft, the F model carried a second crewman which made it
well suited for the role of suppressing North Vietnam's missile defenses.

Eighty-six F-105Ds fitted with radar homing and warning gear formed the
backbone of the Wild Weasel program, initiated in 1965 to improve the Air
Force's electronic warfare capability. Upon pinpointing the radar at a
missile site, the Wild Weasel attacked with Shrike missiles that homed on
radar emissions. The versatile aircraft was also credited with downing 25
Russian MiGs. Thirteen of these modified F's were sent to Southeast Asia in

Major Samuel C. Maxwell was the pilot of an F105D fighter sent on a combat
mission over North Vietnam on September 12, 1968. At a point about 5 miles
west of the city of Ron in Quang Binh Province, his aircraft was shot down.
Major Maxwell was declared Missing in Action.

The Defense Intelligence Agency further expanded Maxwell's classification to
include an enemy knowledge ranking of 2. Category 2 indicates "suspect
knowledge" and includes personnel who may have been involved in loss
incidents with individuals reported in Category 1 (confirmed knowledge), or
who were lost in areas or under conditions that they may reasonably be
expected to be known by the enemy; who were connected with an incident which
was discussed but not identified by names in enemy news media; or identified
(by elimination, but not 100% positively) through analysis of all-source

When American prisoners were released from POW camps in 1973, Maxwell was
not among them. The Vietnamese denied any knowledge of him. Then in late
1989, it was announced that the Vietnamese had "discovered" the remains of
Major Maxwell and had returned them to U.S. control. For this pilot, at
least, the war was finally over.

Maxwell was among nearly 2500 who remained unaccounted for at the end of the
war. Of this number, nearly 100 were known to have been prisoners of war,
yet were not returned. Others were mentioned by name by the Vietnamese to
other U.S. prisoners, yet did not return. Military authorities were
horrified in 1973 that "hundreds" thought to be prisoner were not released.

Since American involvement in Southeast Asia ended in 1975, nearly 10,000
reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia have been received
by the U.S. Government. Many authorities, upon examining this largely
classified material, have come to the reluctant conclusion that many,
perhaps hundreds, of Americans are still alive in captivity.

While it is now clear that Maxwell is not among those thought to be alive,
one wonders how - and when - he died. No doubt he would be the first on line
to help bring the others home. It's time all our men came home.