PAIGE, GORDON CURTIS Name: Gordon Curtis Paige Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy Unit: Date of Birth: Home City of Record: Los Altos CA Date of Loss: 22 July 1972 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 191600N 1053800E (WG701299) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: RF8G Refno: 1902 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 2013. REMARKS: 730329 RELSD BY DRV 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.Cdr. Gordon C. Paige was the pilot of an RF8G on a combat mission in Nghe An Province, North Vietnam on May 22, 1966. As he was about 10 miles southeast of the city of Nghia Hung, his aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed. Paige was captured by the Vietnamese, and held prisoner until his return in Operation Homecoming in the spring of 1973. The U.S. had not known he was captured. Gordon Paige retired from the United States Navy as a Commander. He lives in Arizona.