PITTMAN, ROBERT EDWARD Name: Robert Edward Pittman Rank/Branch: E4/US Army Unit: 131st Aviation Company (see note in text) Date of Birth: 13 February 1947 Home City of Record: Jacksonville FL Loss Date: 28 September 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam - Over Water Loss Coordinates: 184358N 106185E (XE766761) Status (in 1973): Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered Category: 5 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: OV1B Refno: 0477 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 1998. Other Personnel In Incident: Jimmy Mac Brasher (missing) REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: On September 28, 1966, 1Lt. Jimmy Mac Brasher, pilot; and PFC Robert E. Pittman, observer; departed the Hue/Phu Bai airstrip in an OV1B Mohawk aircraft (serial #64-14266, call sign Spud 09) on a reconnaissance mission off the coast of North Vietnam. At 0400 hours, a Surface to Air Missile (SAM) warning was broadcast for the area in which Spud 19 was located. At this time, radio and radar contact was lost with Spud 19. It is assumed that one or more of the SAM missiles launched that night hit the plane and that it crashed into the sea. No trace of the plane or crew was found. The last known location was about 40 miles due east of the city of Phuc Loi (and east-northeast of Vinh) in the Gulf of Tonkin. Both men were declared killed in action, body not recovered. No trace of the aircraft or the crew was ever found. The OV1B carried side-looking airborne radar (SLAR) housed in a long pod beneath the forward part of the fuselage and could maintain night surveillance and detect targets for Air Force gunships or fighter-bombers. The radar equipment scanned on either side of the aircraft, fashioning a radar map that could be reproduced photographically while the Mohawk was in flight. Brasher and Pittman did not, evidently survive their last flight. They are among nearly 2500 who did not return at the end of the war in Vietnam. Tragically, all 2500 did not die in action, but hundreds survive, still in communist prisons. Over 8000 reports regarding Americans still in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Until these men are brought home, there can be no end of the war to those who fought it, nor honor for the nation that sent them. NOTE: The 20th Aviation Detachment existed until December 1966, at which time it was reassigned as the 131st Aviation Company, 223rd Aviation Battalion (Combat Support). The 131st Aviation Company had been assigned to I Corps Aviation Battalion since June 1966, when it arrived in Vietnam. In August 1967, the 131st Aviation Company was reassigned to the 212th Aviation Battalion where it remained until July 1971, whereupon it transferred out of Vietnam. There were a large number of pilots lost from this unit, including Thaddeus E. Williams and James P. Schimberg (January 9, 1966); John M. Nash and Glenn D. McElroy (March 15, 1966); James W. Gates and John W. Lafayette (April 6, 1966); Robert G. Nopp and Marshall Kipina (July 14, 1966); Jimmy M. Brasher and Robert E. Pittman (September 28, 1966); James M. Johnstone and James L. Whited (November 19, 1966); Larry F. Lucas (December 20, 1966); and Jack W. Brunson and Clinton A. Musil (May 31, 1971). Missing OV1 aircraft crew from the 20th/131st represent well over half of those lost on OV1 aircraft during the war. U.S. Army records list both Nopp and Kipina as part of the "131st Aviation Company, 14th Aviation Battalion", yet according to "Order of Battle" by Shelby Stanton, a widely recognized military source, this company was never assigned to the 14th Aviation Battalion. The 131st was known as "Nighthawks", and was a surveillance aircraft company.