Name: John Robert Painter, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 130, Detachment 3
Date of Birth: 15 March 1945
Home City of Record: Vineyard Haven MA
Date of Loss: 18 June 1971
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 185559N 1072457E (YF544950)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: EKA3B
Refno: 1755

Other Personnel In Incident: Barry A. Bidwell; Raymond V. DeBlasio (both

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: Lt. John R. Painter, Jr. was a pilot assigned to Tactical
Electronic Warfare Squadron 130, Detachment 3. On June 18, 1971, he launched
in his EKA3B Skywarrior aircraft on an operational flight. The other crew
onboard the aircraft that day consisted of LTJG Raymond V. DeBlasio and ADJ2
Barry A. Bidwell.

The A3 Skywarrior is a three-place light bomber, reconnaisance plane,
electronic warfare craft or aerial tanker, depending upon its outfitting.
The Skywarrior flown by Painter aircraft was outfitted to serve as the
tanker aircraft, prepared to render valuable assistance to other aircraft
returning to the ship with very little fuel. This was an extremely important
job, as some types of fighter aircraft launched with a minimum amount of
fuel in order to accomodate a heavier bomb load, and sometimes arrived back
at ship low on fuel.

Upon launch, Painter's aircraft had some mechanical failure and crashed into
the Gulf of Tonkin. No remains were recovered for the crew. They were listed
as Reported Dead/Body Not Recovered and as a Non-Battle casualty.

The three-man crew were listed as killed, body not recovered. They are among
over 2300 Americans who remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam war. The
cases of some, like Painter, DeBlasio and Bidwell seem clear - that they
perished and cannot be recovered. Unfortunately, mounting evidence indicates
that hundreds of Americans are still captive, waiting for the country they
proudly served to secure their freedom.

In our haste to leave an unpopular war, it now appears we abandoned some of
our best men. In our haste to heal the wounds of this same war, will we sign
their death warrants? Or will we do what we can to bring them home?




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On June 18, 1971, an EKA-3B Skywarrior (bureau number 147649, call sign "Wastebasket Six One Four") with a crew of three conducted an aerial refueling mission for fighters on a combat air patrol over the Gulf of Tonkin. After refueling a pair of F-8 Crusaders, the Skywarrior was observed to roll over, descend, and strike the water in the vicinity of (GC) 48Q YF 544 950, exploding on impact. No communications from the crew were received and no attempts to escape the aircraft were seen. Search and rescue efforts found scattered debris but no survivors or identifiable remains.

Lieutenant John Robert Painter Jr., who entered the U.S. Navy from Massachusetts, served with Electronic Attack Squadron 130 and was the pilot of this Skywarrior at the time of its loss. He remains unaccounted for. Today, Lieutenant Painter 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 Non-recoverable.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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