PAIGE, GORDON CURTIS
Name: Gordon Curtis Paige
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
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
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.
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
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