SMITH, DEAN JR.

Name: Dean Smith, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit:  Fighter Squadron 124
Date of Birth: 14 June 1941
Home City of Record: Savannah GA
Date of Loss: 15 March 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 192158N 1955200E (WG910414)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8C
Refno: 0622
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.
NETWORK 2020.

REMARKS:

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 Dean Smith, Jr. was the pilot of an F8C conducting a flight over North
Vietnam on March 15, 1967. At a point near Hon Me island a few miles east of
Nghia Hung in Nghe An Province, Smith's aircraft crashed. Although very
little information is available publicly, it is believed that Smith had
probably completed his mission, received enemy fire, and was heading for
open seas in order to facilitate rescue. Little hope was held out for
Smith's survival and he was declared Killed/Body Not Recovered.

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.


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02/2020

https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt00000001UICEA2

LTJG DEAN (N) SMITH JR.

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Lieutenant Junior Grade Dean Smith Jr. entered the U.S. Navy from Georgia and served with Fighter Squadron 124, embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA 31). On March 15, 1967, he piloted a single-seat F-8C Crusader (bureau number 147027) when it launched from the Bon Homme Richard for a coastal reconnaissance mission. During the mission, the section leader observed LTJG Smith's aircraft lose altitude and crash into the Gulf of Tonkin in the vicinity of (GC) 48Q WG 910 414, and disintegrated upon impact with the water. An extensive search did not locate LTJG Smith, and he remains unaccounted-for. Today, Lieutenant Junior Grade Smith 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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