Remains Returned February 1987

Name: Henry Sterling McWhorter
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Date of Birth: 19 November 1934
Home City of Record: Savannah GA
Date of Loss: 29 August 1965
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 185359N 1051858E (WF333896)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Aircraft/Veicle/Ground: RF8A
Refno: 0133
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

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.


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 (although there is one U.S. Air Force pilot
reported shot down on an F8) 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-A models were equipped
for photo reconnaissance. The RF-G were also photographic versions, but with
additional cameras and navigational equipment.

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. In addition,
there were 16 pilots who went down on photographic versions of the aircraft.
Of these 16, seven were captured (six were released, one died in captivity).

Lt. Henry S. McWhorter was the pilot of an RF8A on a combat mission in Nghe
An Province, North Vietnam on August 29, 1965. As he was about 25 miles
northwest of the city of Vinh, his aircraft was hit by enemy fire and
crashed. It was thought that the possibility existed that Lt. McWhorter
safely ejected, but no parachute was seen, and no emergency radio beeper
signals heard. Lt. McWhorter was given a slim hope of survival and was
declared Killed/Body Not Recovered.

McWhorter was listed among the missing because his remains were never
located to return home. He was among over 2300 still prisoner, missing, or
otherwise unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.

In 1987, the Vietnamese discovered remains that they identified as Henry S.
McWhorter and returned them to U.S. control. The U.S. confirmed this
identification and returned the remains to McWhorter's family for burial.

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. 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 some of them could be abandoned by the
country they proudly served.