Name: Robert Henry Mirrer
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Unit: 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 05 February 1939
Home City of Record: Newark NJ
Date of Loss: 17 January 1971
Country of Loss: Laos (see text)
Loss Coordinates: 162157N 1075458E (ZD095160)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E
Refno: 1693
Other Personnel in Incident: (backseater rescued)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 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. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes

Maj. Robert H. Mirrer was the pilot of an F4E from the 4th Tactical Fighter
Squadron at Da Nang. On January 17, 1971, he was sent on a Strike mission
during which his aircraft was hit by hostile fire and crashed. Both Mirrer
and his rear-seat Radar Intercept Officer safely ejected over water.
Although the backseater was rescued, Mirrer was not located.

According to all Defense Department records, Mirrer was lost in Laos.
However, coordinates of loss place the incident about 20 miles down-coast of
the South Vietnamese city of Hue, in a large bay. One possible explanation
for this discrepancy is that Mirrer's mission (and the battle damage to the
aircraft) may have actually occurred over Laos, and he chose to head for
open water to facilitate rescue.

According to the Air Force, unspecified evidence was received on March 7,
1971 which indicated that Mirrer died from drowning. His status was at that
time changed to killed in action, body not recovered.

Nearly 2500 Americans remain missing or otherwise unaccounted for in
Vietnam. Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports concerning missing
Americans in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Many
experts are completely convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held

One set of critics say that the U.S. has done little to address the issue of
live POWs, preferring the politically safer issue of remains return. Others
place the blame on the Vietnamese, for using the issue of POW/MIA to their
political advantage. Regardless of blame, no living American has returned
through the efforts of negotiations between the countries, and the reports
continue to pour in. Are we doing enough to bring these men home?





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On January 17, 1971, an F-4E Phantom II (tail number 66-0288, call sign "Gunfighter 13") with two crew members took off as the lead aircraft in a two-plane strike mission. As the formation left the target area, enemy fire hit and damaged the lead Phantom. Later in the return flight, as the formation travelled over the South China Sea, the damage forced the Phantom’s occupants to bail out. The crew ejected over water, in the vicinity of (GC) 48Q ZD 115 115. Both parachutes were witnessed to deploy. The Phantom’s copilot was located and rescued from the water; however, the aircraft’s pilot could not be found.

Major Robert Henry Mirrer, who joined the U.S. Air Force from New Jersey, was a member of the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 366th Tactical Fighter Wing. He was the pilot of this Phantom when it went down on January 17, 1971. He bailed out but was not located following the incident. He remains unaccounted-for. Today, Major Mirrer 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.

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