RAWSTHORNE, EDGAR ARTHUR
Name: Edgar Arthur Rawsthorne
Rank/Branch: O5/US Navy
Unit: USS Enterprise
Date of Birth: 03 October 1925
Home City of Record: Miramar CA
Date of Loss: 29 December 1965
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 173512N 1053652E (WE652444)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: Arthur S. Hill Jr. (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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. NETWORK 2020.
SYNOPSIS: When nuclear powered USS ENTERPRISE arrived on Yankee Station on
December 2, 1965, she was the largest warship ever built. She brought not
only an imposing physical presence, but also an impressive component of
warplanes and the newest technology. By the end of her first week of combat
operations, the ENTERPRISE had set a record of 165 combat sorties in a
single day. By the end of her first combat cruise, her air wing had flown
over 13,000 combat sorties. The record had not been achieved without cost.
One of the aircraft launched from the ENTERPRISE was the F4 Phantom. This
versatile aircraft served as fighter/bomber as well as photo and electronic
surveillance. The two-man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a
long range (900 - 2300 miles). The F4 was also very maneuverable and handled
well at all altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes
Cdr. Edgar A. Rawsthorne was the pilot of an F4 which flew from the air wing
onboard the ENTERPRISE, and on December 29, 1965, he was assigned a combat
mission which would take him through the Mu Gia Pass into Laos. His
bombardier/navigator on the aircraft that day was Lt. Arthur S. Hill, Jr.
The Mu Gia Pass was one of several passageways through the mountainous
border of Vietnam and Laos. U.S. aircraft flew through them regularly, and
many were lost. The return ratio of men lost in and around the passes is far
lower than that of those men lost in more populous areas, even though both
were shot down by the same enemy and the same weapons. This is partly due to
the extremely rugged terrain and resulting difficulty in recovery.
Just west of the pass, Rawsthorne's aircraft was hit by enemy fire and
crashed. It was not believed that either of the men onboard survived the
crash of the plane. Both were declared Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered.
Rawsthorne and Hill are two of nearly 600 Americans who are missing in Laos.
Unlike in Vietnam, no negotiations were held with the communist Pathet Lao
to achieve the release of prisoners held in Laos. As a result, not one
American held by the Lao was ever released.
Tragically, over 10,000 reports concerning Americans prisoner, missing or
unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. since the
end of the war. Experts say that the evidence is overwhelming that Americans
were left behind in enemy hands.