McWHORTER, HENRY STERLING Remains Returned February 1987 Name: Henry Sterling McWhorter Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy Unit: 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. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: FLAK - EJECT POSS - NO PARABEEP 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.