PERRY, RANDOLPH ALLEN JR. Remains Returned, ID 01/14/2004
Name: Randolph Allen Perry, Jr. Rank/Branch: Lt.Colonel/United States Air Force, RAD/NAV Date of Birth: 17 June 1937 Unit: 307th Strat Wing Utepao Thailand Home City of Record: Troy MT Loss Date: 20 December 1972 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 210500N 1055900E Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: B52 Refno: 1955
Other Personnel In Incident: William U. Acuri; Terry M. Geloneck; Paul L. Granger; Thomas J. Klomann (all returned POWs from B52, coordinates 210500N 1055900E); Roy Madden Jr.; Michael R. Martini (returned POWs from B52, coordinates 211000N 1054500E); Craig A. Paul; Warren R. Spencer (remains returned from B52, coordinates 210459N 1053958E); Arthur McLaughlin; Irwin S. Lerner; John F. Stuart (all missing from B52, coordinates 210500N 1055900E)
Source: Compiled 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 in 2004.
Remarks: POSS KIA - TWO ON CREW REL PWS
SYNOPSIS: Randolph A. Perry, Jr. was aboard a B52 shot down by a Surface to Air (SAM) missile over Hanoi on December 20, 1972. His B52 was one of many involved in the successful "Christmas Bombings" of Hanoi that finally convinced the Vietnamese to sit at the peace table.
There were a total of 12 men missing in close proximity to each other from B52 aircraft on December 20. It is unclear which men were together on any given plane, although it seems clear that the four missing were on the same plane as Madden and Martini, as Defense Department notes that two men were released from Lerner and Perry's plane. The total number listed exceeds a normal B52 crew capacity, which is six. Perry was in a flight of three B52s over Hanoi that day. The fate of all three planes is uncertain.
[2002 update] The number three aircraft in the flight, a B52D, contained the following crew members: Major John F. Stewart, pilot; Major Randolph A. Perry, R/Nav; Capt. Thomas J. Klomann, Nav; Capt. Irwin S. Lerner, EWO; 1Lt. Paul L. Granger, Co-Pilot; and Chief Master Sgt. Arthur V. McLaughlin, Jr., Gunner.
One thing that amazed analysts about the B52 bombers that were shot down over Hanoi during this period was the high survival rate of the crewmembers. Many more were returned as POWs than was expected. The B52s that were shot down were downed in extremely hostile territory with little or no chance of rescue.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that all the prisoners were returned in 1973 at the end of the war. Since 1975, thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. Government relating to Americans still alive in captivity. Experts in the U.S. Government have stated they believe they are being held. The question then, is no longer whether or not they are alive, but who are they, and how can we bring them home? And is one of them Randolph Perry?
PERRY, RANDOLPH ALLEN JR SERVICE: US AIR FORCE RANK: O4 STATUS: NR - REMAINS RETURNED/RECOVERED DATE OF INCIDENT: 1972/12/20 DATE RETURNED: 1985/12/04 REMAINS ID DATE: 2004/01/13 HOME OF RECORD: TROY, MT COUNTRY OF LOSS: NORTH VIETNAM VEHICLE TYPE: B52D
LEAGUE UPDATE January 16, 2004
POW/MIAs - VIETNAM WAR: According to the Department of Defense, there are now 1,870 Americans missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, 1,425 in Vietnam, 382 in Laos, 55 in Cambodia and 8 in the territorial waters of the PRC. Remains of Captain Clinton A. Musil, Sr., USA, listed as KIA/BNR in Laos on May 31, 1971, were recovered in Laos on February 14, 1995 and identified in May of 2003, but only recently announced by DPMO. In addition, Major Randolph A. Perry, Jr., missing in North Vietnam since December 20, 1972, is now accounted for. His remains were recovered April 10, 1986, identified September 10, of last year and announced today. Over 90% of all Americans missing from the Vietnam War were lost in Vietnam or in areas of Laos and Cambodia under Hanoi's wartime control.
Vietnam MIA's remains return to rest in Troy Airman's service today
By ELIZABETH WEILL-GREENBERG For the Tribune
TRIBUNE PHOTO BY ROBIN LOZNAK Ambrose Goudy holds the MIA/POW bracelet of his high school friend Randolph "Larry" Perry while looking over their 1955 Troy High School yearbook. Perry was lost in a bombing mission over North Vietnam in 1972. His remains were recently ID'd, and Goudy will attend a memorial service for his friend today in Troy......
Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg is a reporter for Medill News Service.
Originally published Saturday, August 7, 2004