MULLEN, RICHARD DEAN
me: Richard Dean Mullen
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Fighter Squadron 191, USS TICONDEROGA
Date of Birth: 12 February 1931
Home City of Record: Chicago IL
Date of Loss: 06 January 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 192600N 1054800E (WG839487)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Missions: Vietnam 31
Other Personnel in Incident: none
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 April 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 with information from Ret. Capt. Mullen. 2015
REMARKS: 730304 RELSD BY DRV
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 most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were the
C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie carried
only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions as CAP
(Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model 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 on fuel. The RF models were equipped for photo
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. The breakdown of those not
recovered is as follows:
A/C Total Number Number MIA/Released by Year
Model Lost MIA/RLSD 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972
F8E 28 18/10 --- 4/3 5/3 6/3 4/0 --- --- --- ---
F8C 7 4/3 --- --- 1/0 3/3 --- --- --- --- ---
F8D 6 5/1 --- 5/1 --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
F8J 4 4/0 --- --- --- --- --- --- 1/0 1/0 1/1
F8H 2 2/0 --- --- --- --- 1/0 1/0 --- --- ---
RF8A 8 5/3 1/1 4/0 0/2 --- --- --- --- --- ---
RF8G 8 5/3 --- --- 1/0 1/1 1/1 1/0 1/0 --- 0/1
Lt.Cdr. Richard D. Mullen was the pilot of a single seat fighter, a F8E
Crusader assigned to Fighter Squadron 191 onboard the aircraft carrier, USS
TICONDEROGA (CVA 14). Mullen launched on January 6, 1967 on his 31st combat
mission over North Vietnam. During the mission, Mullen's aircraft was seen
to be engulfed in flames and explode. A good parachute was sighted and
subsequently, Mullen was observed standing on the ground and waving. Contact
between him and the airborne aircraft was established and Mullen reported to
be "OK". At this time, Mullen was near the coast of Nghe An Province, about
five miles south of the city of Tho Son.
On subsequent passes, neither Mullen nor the parachute were sighted. However,
intermittent emergency radio transmissions were heard. It was believed that
Mullen was captured, and he was classified as a prisoner of war.
Richard Mullen had been captured and was held prisoner by the North
Vietnamese in the Hanoi Hilton (New Guy Village, Heartbreak), Zoo (Office,
Pig Sty, Carraige House, Pool Hall), Camp Hope, Hanoi Hilton (Rm 3, 5) back
to Heartbreak) Skid Row, Hanoi Hilton (Rm 2,3) until March 4, 1973. At that
time, he was released with 590 other Americans from POW camps. He had been a
prisoner for just over seven years.
He sustained no injuries upon ejection, but while captive was subjected to
"the normal bone crusher manacles, ropes, leg stocks and whipping with a fan
belt. The worst was strangling noose around neck tied to manacles behind my
back." While in captivity, he suffered a severe blow to his head.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing,
prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S.
Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive
today. Of the Crusader pilots shot down, nearly 50 are still missing. These
fighter pilots in Vietnam were called upon to fly in many dangerous
circumstances, and were prepared to be wounded, killed, or captured. It
probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country
they proudly served. It's time we brought them home.
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977 Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR
Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St.,
Toluca Lake, CA 91602 Text is reproduced as found in the original
publication (including date and spelling errors).
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
RICHARD D. "Moon" MULLEN
Commander - United States Navy
Shot Down: January 6, 1967
Released: March 4, 1974
I was born in Chicago, Illinois, on 12 February 1931. I lived in Cleveland
Heights, Ohio, for about three years during World War II and then returned
to Evanston, Illinois. After completing high school, I attended Wright
Junior College for two and a half years after which I enlisted in the U S
Navy as a Naval Aviation Cadet Upon receiving my commission and Wings of
Gold I was assigned to my first squadron at NAS Miramar, San Diego
California and remained in operational fighter squadrons until February
1963. At that time I began a tour of duty with CINCPAC STAFF in Hawaii for
two and a half years and then returned to operational squadrons flying the
During the year 1956 I met my beloved wife, the former Jean Riggins and we
were married on 15 September 1956. We have been blessed with two daughters
Sandra, age 12, and Karen, age 10. My wife and wonderful children have been
my inspiration and joy ever since.
During the long years of captivity, I can honestly say there was only one
thing that sustained me and the majority of those with whom I was
associated. That was FAITH in God, faith in our great country and the
principles upon which it was founded, and faith in my family.
I know that God is omnipotent, all love and ever present. With God's ever
present love I could turn to Him for comfort and receive a wonderful feeling
of inner peace. During periods of depression, I made up a little slogan
"Happiness is a state of mind and I have control over that." Sure enough I
could change depression and misery into joy.
I often thought of the Great Seal of the United States with the American
bald eagle clasping spears in his left claws and an olive branch in his
right. However the eagle is always looking to the right signifying that the
United States has the power of war or peace. It is not afraid to fight for
our American principles and help those that want Freedom also, but looks
favorably to peace as the ultimate goal.
The real heroes of our ordeal are our families. My family always worked for
my best interests and those of the Unite States of America. My faith in them
has proven once again that the mainstay of our American heritage and
principles is the American family firmly based on a love of God and Country.
Richard Mullen retired in 1978 from the United States Navy as a Captain. He
was awarded the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, 3 Bronze Stars, Air Medal, 2
Purple Hearts, POW Medal and other decorations. After his Homecoming, he
returned to school and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in
Although retired, he remains active with youth, church, golf and travel.
Their daughter Sandra has 3 children and Karen now has two. He still says "I
was so choked up seeing the American flag at Clark AFB (March 4, 1973) I
could barely get off the plane. Seeing my wife and children at NAS Miramar
had to be the happiest moment of my life."
Richard and his wife Jean resided in California, until her death in
September of 1998 from cancer. "Jean was loved by many so many friends and
she will be sorely missed," said a former POW.
In 1999 Richard met the former Peggy Welch through church activities. They
were married June 18, 2000. Peggy as three adult children; Karen, Kimberly,
Peirre and four grandchildren. "Life is good."
Mr. Richard Dean Mullen, 84, of San Diego, California passed away on
September 18, 2015.
Mr. Mullen is survived by his wife, Margaret Mullen.
Funeral arrangements under the direction of Pacific Beach Chapel, 4710
Cass St., San Diego, California 92109.
Please post a last Charlie for Navy Captain Dick "Moon" Mullen of
VF-191, September 18, 2015. I did not know Captain Mullen, but his
shipmates may want to remember him. A celebration of life service has
not yet been set. Pacific Beach Chapel, 4710 Cass St., San Diego,
In January 1967, LCDR Mullen launched from Ticonderoga and became a POW
for seven years. In his POW statements, he said, "Happiness is a state
of mind and I have control over that." Dick Mullen was active in his
church and Kiwanis. PM
Richard "Moon" Mullen, RIP
LA JOLLA, - Dick was born February 12, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois, and passed away on September 18, 2015 from pneumonia.
He entered the United States Navy in 1951 as an apprentice airman during the Korean War. He was given the nickname "Moon" after the popular comic strip Moon Mullins. He was accepted into the Naval Aviation Cadet Program receiving his commission and wings of gold in 1954. He loved to fly and served in several fighter squadrons. He was shot down over Vietnam in January 1967 and was a POW for 6 years. His awards consist of the Silver Star, Legion of Merit (with Combat V) 3 Bronze Stars, and 2 Purple Hearts.
In his community, he served twice as president of the La Jolla Kiwanis Club. He also served as Lt. Governor of Kiwanis and started the La Jolla Junior Olympics which continues to this day. He was active in the La Jolla Presbyterian Church serving as elder, deacon and usher. He was a member of the La Jolla Professional Men's Society. He volunteered for La Jolla Meals on Wheels for over 25 years.
He is survived by his wife Peggy, daughter Sandra and son-in-law Marc, daughter Karen and granddaughters Courtney, Lauryn, Allyson, Kimberly and Lindsey as well as two stepdaughters Karen and Kimberly and stepson Pierre plus five step-grandchildren Nicole, Jack, Cameron, Emma and Elena.
A service will be held on Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 1 p.m. at La Jolla Presbyterian Church with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, send a contribution to La Jolla Kiwanis Club or La Jolla Presbyterian Church.
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