Name: William Todd Potter
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit:  14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron
Date of Birth: 12 December 1942
Home City of Record: Grand Forks, ND
Date of Loss: 05 February 1968
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 172000N 1055000E
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: RF-4C
Refno: 1036

Other Personnel in Incident: Robert D. Edgar (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project and the P.O.W. NETWORK 27 March
1992 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency
sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.


SYNOPSIS: On February 5, 1968, 1st Lt. William T. Potter and 1st Lt. Robert
D. Edgar were crew members aboard an RF-4C reconnaissance aircraft.

Robert Edgar was the navigator of the RF-4C aircraft which departed Udorn
Airfield, Thailand, on a photo reconnaissance mission over Laos. Upon
arrival in the area, which was under control of the North Vietnamese, the
pilot, William Potter contacted a controller for a specific target
assignment. After being advised on weather and terrain, the pilot notified
the controller that they were under the clouds and had located the target.
He advised that he would position for photos and depart to the NorthWest.
While orbitting in the area, the controller saw an explosion and immediate
attempts to contact the RF-4C brought no response.

The aircraft crashed on Phakap mountain, four kilometers south of Bau
Phanup, and about 2.5 kilometers east of Napank Village, Khammouan Province,

Search and Rescue forces saw no parachutes nor heard any electronic beacon
signals. Resistance fighters in the area gave reports of  investigating the
crash site, only to find the aircraft had burned and the skeletal remains of
the pilot were still inside.

Robert Edgar's missing status was changed at a presumptive finding of death
hearing to Dead/Body Not Recovered.

On May 28, 1987, The Joint Casualty Resolution Center passed on to Mrs.
Edgar, information that was received from a former RLA Sergeant and then
Resistance Fighter refugee who had departed Laos in 1976 that seemingly
confirmed the crash and burn of the RF-4C on the mountain, and the finding
of the pilot's skeletal remains still inside.

William T. Potter's remains have not been turned over to the United States





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On February 5, 1968, a RF-4C Phantom II (serial number 66-0443, call sign Hemp) with a crew of two took off from Udorn Airfield, Thailand, on a nighttime armed reconnaissance mission in the vicinity of Napank village, Laos. As the aircraft moved to attack its designated targets, it crashed for unknown reasons and exploded. Another aircraft on the mission flew over the crash site, but found no evidence of survivors. After the war, the remains of the Phantom's navigator were returned to U.S. custody and identified; however, the plane's pilot remains unaccounted for.

1LT William Tod Potter, who joined the U.S. Air Force from North Dakota, was a member of the 14th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, and was the pilot aboard the Phantom when it crashed. He died in the crash, and his remains have not been recovered. William Tod Potter was posthumously promoted to the rank of Major. Today, Major Potter 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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