Name: Paul Eugene Swigart, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Date of Birth: 28 January 1944
Home City of Record: Seal Beach CA
Date of Loss: 05 February 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water ** (see text)
Loss Coordinates: 175607N 1074416E (YE900850) ** (see text)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8H
Refno: 1370
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 Paul E. Swigart, Jr. was the pilot of an F8H conducting a non-combat
flight on February 5, 1969. According to Defense Department records,
Swigart's aircraft crashed offshore from South Vietnam. The coordinates
given, however (175607N 1074416E) are most definitely offshore from North
Vietnam, about 80 miles east of the city of Ron. The grids (YE900850) are
consistent with a loss offshore of North Vietnam. Little hope was held that
Swigart survived the crash of his aircraft 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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Lieutenant Junior Grade Paul Eugene Swigart Jr., who entered the U.S. Navy from California, served in Fighter Squadron 24 embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hancock (CVA 19). On February 5, 1969, he piloted an F-8H Crusader (bureau number 147919) on a night combat mission. On his final approach to the Hancock, LTJG Swigart's landing gear accidentally impacted the ramp below the flight deck, causing the fuselage of the Crusader to hit the flight deck just forward of the ventral fins. The aircraft continued along the deck and began to roll, and LTJG Swigart ejected, hitting the water a few yards off the carrier with a streamer parachute visible. No one ever saw him separate from his ejection seat, and search efforts were launched immediately but could not locate him. He was not seen again. Today, Lieutenant Junior Grade Swigart 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.

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