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
Other Personnel In Incident: Harry Amesbury; Calvin E. Cooke; Richard E.
Dunn; Donald R. Hoskins (all missing); Kurt F. Weisman (remains returned
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.
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
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.