NELSON, RICHARD CRAWFORD Remains Returned 01 July 1984 Name: Richard Crawford Nelson Rank/Branch: O3/U.S. Navy Unit: Date of Birth: 12 July 1941 Home City of Record: Drexel Hill PA Date of Loss: 06 March 1968 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 205200N 1064100E (XJ734062) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 5 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A Refno: 1075 Other Personnel In Incident: Gilbert L. Mitchell (missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 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: PROB DEAD/NHAN DAN SYNOPSIS: The Grumman A6 Intruder is a two-man all weather, low-altitude, carrier-based attack plane, with versions adapted as aerial tanker and electronic warfare platform. The A6A primarily flew close air support, all-weather and night attacks on enemy troop concentrations, and night interdiction missions. Its advanced navigation and attack system, known as DIANE (Digital Integrated Attack navigation Equipment) allowed small precision targets, such as bridges, barracks and fuel depots to be located and attacked in all weather conditions, day or night. The planes were credited with some of the most difficult single-plane strikes in the war, including the destruction of the Hai Duong bridge between Hanoi and Haiphong by a single A6. Their missions were tough, but their crews among the most talented and most courageous to serve the United States. Mitchell and Nelson exemplify that courage and talent. Lt. Richard C. Nelson was the pilot, and Lt. Gilbert L. Mitchell the co-pilot of an A6A Intruder attack aircraft dispatched on a combat mission on March 6, 1968. During the mission, their aircraft was shot down. Subsequent information from Nhan Dan, a Vietnamese newspaper, indicated that the two pilots were probably dead. This information was apparently not confirmed, however, as both men were classified Missing in Action, rather than Killed. In 1984, the Vietnamese "discovered" the remains of Richard Nelson and returned them to U.S. control. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. The Vietnamese have yet to "discover" the fate of Gilbert Mitchell. There have been nearly 10,000 reports given to the U.S. Government relating to Americans missing, prisoner or otherwise unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Perhaps Gilbert Mitchell did not survive his mission over Haiphong. But one can imagine that he would gladly fly one more mission for his comrades still held captive. Both Mitchell and Nelson were promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander during the period they were maintained missing.