RUSSELL, RICHARD LEE Name: Richard Lee Russell Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force Unit: CCK Air Force Base, Taiwan - TDY to 345th Tactical Airlift Squadron, Tan Son Nhut ABSV Date of Birth: 06 November 1946 Home City of Record: Snyder TX Loss Date: 26 April 1972 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 113803N 1063547E (XT745866) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: C130E Refno: 1837 Other Personnel In Incident: Harry Amesbury; Calvin E. Cooke; Richard E. Dunn; Donald R. Hoskins (all missing); Kurt F. Weisman (remains returned 1975) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 31 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. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: CRASH - 1 REM RCV - N SIGN SUBJ - J SYNOPSIS: From the CCK Air Force Base base in Taiwan, C-130 crews flew to different locations, including Korea, Borneo, Indonesia, Japan, Africa, etc. But most trips were to various bases in Vietnam for 3 week stays. Then the men would return to the base in Taiwan for 3 days. On one such Vietnam tour, one C130E had a crew consisting of Harry A. Amesbury, pilot; Richard L. Russell, navigator, Richard E. Dunn, loadmaster, Calvin C. Cooke, Donald R. Hoskins, and Kurt F. Weisman, crew members. This crew was TDY to 345th Tactical Airlift Squadron at Tan Son Nhut Airbase, South Vietnam. On April 26, 1972, Amesbury's aircraft and crew were making a night drop of supplies to South Vietnamese forces trapped in An Loc, South Vietnam (about 65 miles from Saigon). The provincial capitol had been under seige by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces off and on since early April. Supply drops and air support were critically needed and often hampered by hostile forces outside the city. Upon approach to the drop site at a very low level, the aircraft was hit by enemy fire and was reported to be down. The men onboard the aircraft were declared Missing in Action. Supply drops were generally accomplished in one of two ways, both requiring that the plane be airborne, and flying at very low altitudes. Using one method, parachutes attached to the supply pallets were deployed. As the plane flew over, the parachutes pulled the cargo from the plane. Using another method, a hook attached to the cargo was dropped from the plane, affixed to some firm fixture on the ground. As the plane departed the area, the cargo was pulled out of the plane. Both required considerable skill under the best of circumstances. According to the Department of the Air Force, it received unspecified information that contained evidence of death for the crew members on May 5, 1972. The status of the missing men was changed to Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered. In February, 1975, non-American friendly forces recovered and returned the remains of Kurt Weisman. No information surfaced on the rest of the crew. All onboard had been assumed killed in the downing of the plane. If this is the case, why weren't the other remains recovered as well? Of the nearly 2500 Americans still missing in Southeast Asia, most can be accounted for one way or another. The U.S. Government has received nearly 10,000 reports of Americans still held prisoner in Southeast Asia, yet has not been able to find a way to free them, or to obtain information on a significant number of other Americans who may have perished.