Remains Returned 01 July 1984

Name: Richard Crawford Nelson
Rank/Branch: O3/U.S. Navy
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.


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.