Name: Robert Paul Riggins
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Unit: 389th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Da Nang Airbase, South Vietnam
Date of Birth: 19 January 1931
Home City of Record: Champaign IL
Date of Loss: 22 April 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 161912N 1072447E (YD585055)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D
Refno: 1140

Other Personnel in Incident: William Chomyk (missing)

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 2020.


SYNOPSIS: On April 22, 1968, Capt. William Chomyk, pilot, and Maj. Robert P.
Riggins, bombadier/navigator, departed Da Nang Airbase in South Vietnam
aboard an F4D Phantom fighter/bomber jet as the lead aircraft in a flight of
two on a scramble mission over Thua Thien Province near the city of Hue.

As Chomyk's aircraft made a pass over the target, it pulled off, and
suddenly crashed. At that time, the fates of Chomyk and Riggins were
unknown. Then, on May 7, unspecified evidence was received by the U.S. Air
Force which led to their declaring the crew of the Phantom Killed in
Action/Body Not Recovered.

As far as the Air Force is concerned, Chomyk and Riggins are dead. It is not
so easy to dismiss the cases of others who are missing. Some were known
captives; some were photographed as they were led by their guards. Some were
in radio contact with search teams, while others simply disappeared.

Since the war ended, over 250,000 interviews have been conducted with those
who claim to know about Americans still alive in Southeast Asia, and several
million documents have been studied. U.S. Government experts cannot seem to
agree whether Americans are there alive or not. Distractors say it would be
far too politically difficult to bring the men they believe to be alive
home, and the U.S. is content to negotiate for remains.

Over 1000 eye-witness reports of living American prisoners were received by
1989. Most of them are still classified. If, as the U.S. seems to believe,
the men are all dead, why the secrecy after so many years? If the men are
alive, why are they not home?





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On April 22, 1968, an F4-D Phantom (tail number 66-8778, call sign "Gunfighter 11") with a crew of two departed Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam, as the lead in a flight of two aircraft on a combat mission against targets southwest of Hue. "Gunfighter 11" made one pass over the target area while speaking via radio with the forward air controller (FAC). The transmission suddenly stopped in mid-sentence, and the FAC noticed that the Phantom performed an erratic maneuver during his pull-out from the pass. The pull-out was too low, and the Phantom crashed into a mountainside in the vicinity of grid coordinates YD 585 055. The munitions still aboard the aircraft exploded on impact and the aircraft was destroyed completely. The FAC did not see any ejections from "Gunfighter 11" before impact. Ground forces were unable to inspect the crash site because of enemy activity in the area.

Major Robert Paul Riggins, who joined the U.S. Air Force from Illinois, served with the 389th Tactical Fighter Wing. He was the aircraft commander aboard the Phantom when it hit the mountainside, and his remains were not recovered. Major Riggins 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 Active Pursuit.

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