Name: Stephen Gould Richardson
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit:   Fighter Squadron 53
Date of Birth: 22 March 1940
Home City of Record: Seattle WA
Date of Loss: 30 November 1965
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 165651N 1084412E (BU590750)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8E
Refno: 0198

Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 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: The Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in
Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of
Tonkin reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North
Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively
by the Navy and Marine air wings (although there is one U.S. Air Force pilot
reported shot down on an F8) and represented half or more of the carrier
fighters in the Gulf of Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The
aircraft was credited with nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam.

The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were
the C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie
carried only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions
as CAP (Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a
heavier reinforced wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were
used to attack ground targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo
version launched with less fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and
frequently arrived back at ship low on fuel. The RF models were equipped for
photo reconnaissance.

The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar
fighters. Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or
destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader
pilots were recovered; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and
released. The other 43 remained missing at the end of the war.

Lt.JG Stephen G. Richardson was the pilot of an F8E conducting a flight on
November 30, 1965. At a point about 100 miles east of the Demilitarized Zone
(DMZ), Richardson's aircraft crashed. Little hope was held out for his
survival and he was declared Killed/Body Not Recovered. Richardson's flight
is listed as being a non-combat casualty.

Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing,
prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S.
Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive
today. Fighter pilots in Vietnam were called upon to fly in many dangerous
circumstances, and were prepared to be wounded, killed, or captured. It
probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country
they proudly served.




Return to Service Member Profiles


Lieutenant Junior Grade Stephen Gould Richardson, who joined the U.S. Navy from Washington, served with Fighter Squadron 53 aboard the USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14). On November 30, 1965, he piloted a single-seat F-8E Crusader (bureau number 149176, call sign "Firefighter 229") on a combat patrol mission. While returning to the Ticonderoga, in the vicinity of (GC) 49Q BU 590 750 in the South China Sea, the hook shank on LTJG Richardson's Crusader broke, causing the aircraft to crash in the water 200 feet forward of the ship. The deck crew saw no attempt from LTJG Richardson to eject from the aircraft before it crashed, and immediate searches found no sign of LTJG Richardson or his remains. Further attempts to locate him were unsuccessful. Today, Lieutenant Junior Grade Richardson 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.

Service member profile discrepancy? Please help us ensure the accuracy of each profile by submitting documentation about a service member profile.