ROSS, JOSEPH SHAW
|Name: Joseph Shaw Ross
Rank/Branch: Captain USAF
Unit: 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam
Date of Birth: 26 January 1943
Home City of Record: Ft. Thomas KY
Loss Date: 01 August 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 172235N 1061310E
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: William J. Thompson (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews: 01
January 1990. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2019.
SYNOPSIS: Capt. Joseph Ross and Col. William Thompson comprised the
crew of the lead aircraft in a flight of two F4-Ds which departed Da
Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam on August l, 1968, on a night armed
reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. Enroute, the flight was
diverted to look for truck traffic in the vicinity of their original
target. Locating the traffic, Thompson, the plane's pilot, dropped
several sets of flares and illuminated a group of trucks. He told his
wingman to circle the area while he made a bombing pass on the trucks.
As the wingman circled, he noted a large explosion within several
hundred feet of the target area, and immediately attempted to contact
Thompson, but with no success. The explosion occurred about 3:10 a.m.
The wingman saw no parachutes and heard no beepers.
About daybreak, search planes heard an emergency electronic signal
which seemed to come from the area where Ross and Thompson were lost.
Searchers were unable to get any response to calls over the emergency
frequency, and terminated the search around noon. Flare chutes were
found near the truck target, but no wreckage of the F4 was found.
The area in which Capt. Ross and Col. Thompson went down is very near
the Ban Karai Pass on the Laos/Vietnam border. It is mountainous with
peaks ranging from 3500-4000 feet and deep valleys dense with multiple
canopy jungle. One searcher described the mountains "of sharp pointed
grey rock karsts in great frequency closely jammed up like the stalac-
tites of a sound suppression chamber".
Thompson and Ross were lost in harsh, largely unpopulated terrain, and
without access to the area, it cannot be known with any certainty what
happened to them. There have been thousands of reports, however, of
Americans who remain in captivity years after the war's end. Two of
them could be Thompson and Ross. Their families will not know until
those live prisoners are brought home.
May 26, 2014
'Thunder' rolls for Fort Thomas Vietnam War MIA pilot
Ross and others listed as POW-MIA. Highland Avenue bridge over I-471 is named for Capt. Ross. Shaw Avenue and Rossford Avenue in the city are ...
Wreath to Be Laid in Honor of Fort Thomas Pilot Lost in Vietnam War
Rolling Thunder KY 5 will lay the wreath as part of a short ceremony to honor Captain Joseph Ross at the Boone County Veterans and POW/MIA ...