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Name: Francis Barnes Midnight
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 11 July 1939
Home City of Record: Gary IN
Date of Loss: 23 August 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 171800N 1063600E (XE712139)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D
Refno: 0806
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 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.


SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served
a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2),
and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission
type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and
high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art
electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing
capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest"
planes around.

When Frank B. Midnight graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1964, he went
on to pilot training at Webb Air Force Base in Texas. It was not long before
he was assigned to Vietnam as an F4 pilot.

On August 23, 1967, 1LT Midnight was assigned a combat mission over North
Vietnam. He and his back-seater (name unknown) were about 5 miles southwest
of the city of Dong Hoi in Quang Binh Province when their aircraft was hit
by enemy fire and crashed.

The proscribed ejection procedure in the F4 is for the rear-seater to eject
first, followed by the pilot of the aircraft. Thus, it is not uncommon for
the two crewmembers to be separated by considerable distances. Apparently,
as no second F4 crewmember is missing in this locality on this date, the
rear-seater on Midnight's aircraft was rescued. Midnight was not. He was
classified Missing in Action.

The Defense Intelligence Agency further expanded Midnight'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 the general prisoner release occurred in 1973, the U.S. received some
surprises. Some men whom observers were certain had perished with their
planes had survived to be released. Midnight's family knew the Vietnamese
could probably tell them what happened to him. There was no proof they died.

The biggest surprise is the nearly 10,000 reports received since the end of
the war concerning U.S. military personnel prisoner, missing, or unaccounted
for in Southeast Asia.  The evidence mounts that Americans are still being
held captive.One of them could be Francis B. Midnight. It's time we brought
our men home.





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On August 23, 1967, an F-4 Phantom II (tail number 66-7517, call sign "Sapphire 02") took off for an armed reconnaissance mission over Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. When the Phantom reached the target area, the pilot radioed in that he was rolling in to attack, and shortly thereafter the Phantom crashed near the target in the vicinity of grid coordinates XE 712 139, producing a large fireball. The copilot successfully ejected; radio contact with him was immediately established, and he was recovered by a search and rescue effort. The aircraft commander could not be recovered. After being rescued, the surviving crew member stated that the other man had not had time to eject before the crash.

Captain Francis Barnes Midnight, who joined the U.S. Air Force from Indiana, served with the 435th Tactical Fighter Squadron. He was the aircraft commander of the Phantom when it crashed, and attempts to locate and recover his remains have been unsuccessful. Today, Captain Midnight is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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