Name: Eugene Baker "Red" McDaniel
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Date of Birth:  27 Sept 1931
Home City of Record: Kinston NC (resides 1989 VA)
Date of Loss: 19 May 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 204537N 1052539E (WH445955)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A
Missions: 81
Other Personnel In Incident: James K. Patterson (captured)
m101.jpg (18200 bytes)

Source: Compiled 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 in 2023.


SYNOPSIS: When nuclear powered USS ENTERPRISE arrived on Yankee Station on
December 2, 1965, she was the largest warship ever built. She brought with
her not only an imposing physical presence, but also an impressive component
of warplanes and the newest technology. By the end of her first week of
combat operations, the ENTERPRISE had set a record of 165 combat sorties in
a single day, surpassing the KITTY HAWK's 131. By the end of her first
combat cruise, her air wing had flown over 13,000 combat sorties. The record
had not been achieved without cost.

When the ENTERPRISE arrived in Vietnam on its second combat cruise, two of
its pilots were LtCdr. Eugene B. "Red" McDaniel and Lt. James K. Patterson,
an A6 "Intruder" team. The Intruder pilots were known to have, in the words
of Vice Admiral William F. Bringle, Commander Seventh Fleet, "an abundance
of talent, courage and aggressive leadership", and were sent on some of the
most difficult missions of the war.

On May 19, 1967 McDaniel was the pilot and Patterson the backseater aboard
an A6A with a mission to bomb a truck repair facility at Van Dien, Hai Duong
Province, North Vietnam. The aircraft was shot down, but both crew members
ejected safely from the aircraft and established voice radio contact with
other aircraft in the area.

Lt. Patterson badly broke his leg upon landing, but maintained radio contact
with rescue forces for a period of four days. On May 21, he reported that
enemy forces had taken a recovery kit which had been dropped to him and that
he had moved up a hill for safety. LtCdr. McDaniel was taken prisoner by the
North Vietnamese and taken to Hanoi.

During the nearly six years he was a prisoner of war, McDaniel never saw his
backseater. He continually asked about him, and was given conflicting
stories. In late 1967, he was told by a guard that Lt. Patterson had
recovered from his injuries. Partly because the Vietnamese seemed to be
toying with him by changing the story on Patterson, and partly because he
never saw or heard of his backseater, McDaniel finally came to the belief
that his backseater and friend had not been captured, but was dead.

McDaniel is noted for three things as a prisoner - his honor, his optimism
and faith in his country, and also for having been the prisoner who received
the most brutal torture at the hands of the Vietnamese.

"Red" McDaniel was released March 4, 1973 believing that Patterson and the
others who were not released were dead. It was not until he served the Navy
as a liason to Congress that he began to see evidence that Americans were
still alive in Southeast Asia. It was a heartbreaking realization.

When Captain McDaniel left the Navy, he formed The American Defense
Institute in order to foster patriotism in America's youth and to share with
other Americans what he learned about communism and why it must be fought at
every level. One of ADI's most important issues is that of missing Americans
in Southeast Asia.

In late 1986, a former NSA intelligence analyst stated that backseaters like
Patterson, who possessed technical knowledge surpassing that of the pilot
were singled out. The analyst stated that in the intelligence community
these men were dubbed, "MB", or "Moscow Bound". They would make valuable
trades to the Soviet Union for a heavily indebted Vietnam.

The same year, a Congressional team visiting the Central Identification
Laboratory learned that certain identification belonging to Patterson had
been given to the U.S. by the Vietnamese. This was clear evidence that the
Vietnamese knew what happened to James K. Patterson.

Today McDaniel does not know if James K. Patterson is alive or not, but he
is absolutely convinced that many Americans are alive, still held captive in
communist prisons in Southeast Asia, and has been a tireless leader in the
effort to force action leading to their honorable return.
McDaniel says, "It's a matter of our national honor to bring these men home.
We went to Vietnam prepared to be wounded or even to die. We went prepared
to be captured. But we were never prepared to be abandoned."


Eugene McDaniel retired from the United States Navy as a Captain. He runs a
"think tank", the American Defense Institute in Virginia, where he and Dorothy
live. He is a firm believer Kelly Patterson is alive in the old Soviet

Red McDaniel was brutally tortured as a POW in Vietnam, but survived six years in captivity thanks to his faith and his family. Over 40 years later, heís still fighting for his co-pilot and the men still listed as Missing In Action.

Iím intimidated at the thought of interviewing Red McDaniel. And the five-hour drive from Buies Creek to his home in Alexandria, Virginia, on a particularly hazy, humid early August morning isnít doing much to calm my nerves. In fact, itís only giving me more time to question my questions...


#Following his release in 1973, McDaniel returned to Virginia, where he was awarded the Navy's highest
award for bravery, the Navy Cross. McDaniel ...