McMAHAN, ROBERT CHARLES
ID Announced 27 November 1990
Name: Robert Charles McMahan
Date of Birth: 14 June 1942
Home City of Record: Jacksonville IL
Date of Loss: 14 February 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 184000N 1054300E (WF748635)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 March 1991 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.
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 Echo model of the aircraft 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
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; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and
released. The other 43 remained missing at the end of the war.
Navy Lt. Robert C. McMahan's F8E aircraft was shot near the city of Vinh in
North Vietnam on February 14, 1986. He has not been heard from since, but
factors surrounding the incident indicate the strong possibility that enemy
forces know his fate.
On November 29, 1990, U.S. officials announced that remains repatriated in
September 1990 had been positively identified as being those of Robert C.
McMahan. After 22 years, McMahan has come home.