Name: Bruce Charles Walker
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron, Da Nang
Date of Birth: 22 November 1946
Home City of Record: Pueblo CO
Loss Date: 07 April 1972
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 165150N 1070338E (YD194656)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: OV10A
Refno: 1820

Personnel in Incident: April 2: Robin F. Gatwood; Wayne L. Bolte; Anthony
Giannangeli; Charles A. Levis; Henry M. Serex; (all missing from the EB66).
LtCol. Iceal Hambleton (rescued after 12 days from EB66). Ronald P.
Paschall; Byron K. Kulland; John W. Frink (all missing from UH1H rescue
helicopter), Jose M. Astorga (captured and released in 1973 from UH1H).
April 3: William J. Henderson (captured and released in 1973 from OV10A
rescue craft); Mark Clark (rescued after 12 days from OV10A rescue craft).
April 6: James H. Alley; Allen J. Avery; Peter H. Chapman; John H. Call;
William R. Pearson; Roy D. Prater (all KIA/BNR from HH53C "Jolly 52" rescue
chopper). Also in very close proximity to "Bat 21"on April 3: Allen D.
Christensen; Douglas L. O'Neil; Edward W. Williams; Larry A. Zich (all
missing from UH1H).  April 7: Bruce Charles Walker (evaded 11 days); Larry
F. Potts (captured & died in POW camp) (both missing from OV10A).

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources,
correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews: 01
January 1990. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2020.


SYNOPSIS: On the afternoon of April 2, 1972, two Thailand-based EB66
aircraft (Bat 21 and Bat 22), from the 30th Air Division, were flying
pathfinder escort for a cell of B52s bombing near the DMZ. Bat 21 took a
direct SAM hit and the plane went down. A single beeper signal was heard,
that of navigator Col. Iceal Hambleton. At this time it was assumed the rest
of the crew died in the crash. The crew included Maj. Wayne L. Bolte, pilot;
1Lt. Robin F. Gatwood, LtCol. Anthony R. Giannangeli, LtCol. Charles A.
Levis, and Maj. Henry M. Serex, all crew members. It should be noted that
the lowest ranking man aboard this plane was Gatwood, a First Lieutenant.
This was not an ordinary crew, and its members, particularly Hambleton,
would be a prize capture for the enemy because of military knowledge they

It became critical, therefore, that the U.S. locate Hambleton, and any other
surviving crew members before the Vietnamese did - and the Vietnamese were
trying hard to find them first.

An Army search and rescue team was nearby and dispatched two UH1H "slicks"
and two UH1B "Cobras". When they approached Hambleton's position just before
dark, at about 50 feet off the ground, with one of the AH1G Cobra gunships
flying at 300 feet for cover, two of the helicopters were shot down. One,
the Cobra (Blue Ghost 28) reached safety and the crew was picked up, without
having seen the other downed helicopter. The other, a UH1H from F Troop, 8th
Cavalry, 196th Brigade, had just flown over some huts into a clearing when
they encountered ground fire, and the helicopter exploded. Jose Astorga, the
gunner, was injured in the chest and knee by the gunfire. Astorga became
unconscious, and when he recovered, the helicopter was on the ground. He
found the pilot, 1Lt. Byron K. Kulland, lying outside the helicopter. WO
John W. Frink, the co-pilot, was strapped in his seat and conscious. The
crew chief, SP5 Ronald P. Paschall, was pinned by his leg in the helicopter,
but alive. WO Franks urged Astorga to leave them, and Astorga was captured.
He soon observed the aircraft to be hit by automatic weapons fire, and to
explode with the rest of the crew inside. He never saw the rest of the crew
again. Astorga was relesed by the North Vietnamese in 1973.

The following day, Nail 38, an OV10A equipped with electronic rescue gear
enabling its crew to get a rapid "fix" on its rescue target entered
Hambleton's area and was shot down. The crew, William J. Henderson and Mark
Clark, both parachuted out safely. Henderson was captured and released in
1973. Clark evaded for 12 days and was subsequently rescued.

On April 3, the day Nail 38 was shot down, a UH1H "slick" went down in
the same area carrying a crew of four. They had no direct connection
to the rescue of Bat 21, but were very probably shot down by the same
SAM installations that downed Bat 21. The helicopter, from H/HQ, 37th
Signal Battalion, 1st Signal Brigade, had left Marble Mountain Airfield, Da
Nang, on a standard resupply mission to signal units in and around Quang Tri
City. The crew, consisting of WO Douglas L. O'Neil, pilot; CW2 Larry A. Zich,
co-pilot; SP5 Allen D. Christensen, crew chief; and SP4 Edward W. Williams,
gunner; remain missing in action.

On April 6, an attempt was made to pick up Clark and Hambleton which
resulted in an HH53C helicopter being shot down. The chopper was badly hit.
The helicopter landed on its side and continued to burn, consuming the
entire craft, and presumably, all 6 men aboard. The crew of this aircraft
consisted of James H. Alley; Allen J. Avery, John H. Call III, Peter H.
Chapman, William R. Pearson, and Roy D. Prater. Search and rescue noted no
signs of survivors, but it is felt that the Vientamese probably know the
fate of this crew because of the close proximity of the downed aircraft to
enemy locations.

On April 7 another Air Force OV10A went down in the area with Marine Lt.
Larry F. Potts and U.S. Air Force 1Lt. Bruce C. Walker aboard. Their
function was directing naval gunfire. The OV10A crashed after sustaining
hits from hostile fire. Radio contact was established with both Potts and
Walker, but they could not be rescued. Walker, the pilot of the aircraft,
evaded capture 11 days, while it is reported that Potts was captured and
died in Quang Binh prison. Potts, the observer, was a Marine Corps officer.
Walker's last radio transmission to search and rescue was for SAR not to
make an attempt to rescue, the enemy was closing in. Both men remain
unaccounted for.

Hambleton and Clark were rescued after 12 incredible days. Hambleton
continually changed positions and reported on enemy activity as he went,
even to the extent of calling in close air strikes near his position. He was
tracked by a code he devised relating to the length and lie direction of
various golf holes he knew well. Another 20 or so Americans were not so

In July 1986, the daughter of Henry Serex learned that, one week after all
search and rescue had been "called off" for Bat 21, another mission was
mounted to recover "another downed crewmember" from Bat 21. She doesn't know
whether or not it is her father or another man on the EB66 aircraft. No
additional information has been released. When the movie "Bat 21" was
released, she was horrified to learn that virtually no mention of the rest
of the crew, including her father, was made.

In Vietnam, to most fighting men, the man that fought beside them, whether
in the air or on the ground, was worth dying for. Each understood that the
other would die for him if necessary. Thus, also considering the critical
knowledge possessed by Col. Hambleton and some of the others, the seemingly
uncanny means taken to recover Clark and Hambleton are not so unusual at

What defies logic and explaination, however, is that the government that
sent these men to battle can distort or withold information to their
families, and knowingly abandon hundreds of men known or strongly suspected
to be in enemy hands.

Thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. Government indicating
that Americans are still alive, in captivity in Southeast Asia. It has been
17 years for those who may have survived the 1972 Easter crashes and rescue
attempts. How much longer must they wait for their country to bring "peace
with honor" to them and bring them home?

                                                [lfr0612.95 06/18/95]

{NOTE- pictures were included in this file -- please contact LET FREEDOM RING
for a copy of this that includes the photos}   


                        PRESS RELEASE -JUNE 12, 1995


Contact Persons: Arnold L. Beizer Tel. 203-524-1776
                 Walter "Radar" O'Reilly Tel. 813-843-0431

         BRUCE C. WALKER -  Lieutenant Bruce C. Walker was a U.S. Airforce
pilot of an OV10 aircraft on April 7, 1972.  He flew to Hue accompanied by
observer Lt. Larry F. Potts, U.S. Marine Corp. as they proceeded north
towards Quang Tri for their mission.  Their plane was shot down and two
parachutes were sighted.  Lt. Walker radioed that he was on the ground and
both visual and radio contact were made as late as April 15, when a survival
kit was dropped to him.  Lt. Walker was unable to be rescued because of
Vietnamese forces in his immediate vicinity which prevented helicopter
rescue attempts. This photograph of Lt. Walker's watch shows it to be in
pristine condition.  This and other information was obtained by Let Freedom
Ring.  Time has not stopped ticking for Bruce Walker.  The Vietnamese have
his watch and the time is now for the American people to ask why Lt. Walker
still has to take a licking while his watch is still ticking in the hands of
his captors.  We can't turn back time, but it is high time we started asking
the right questions.  If the Vietnamese have Lt. Walker's watch and
identification, they must have had him.  Where is he now?

                                                [324.txt 12/29/92]

Bob Smith
New Hampshire
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510


              Prepared by the Office of Senator Bob Smith
       Vice-Chairman, Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs

                            December 1, 1992

Walker, Bruce C.                USAF    -believed to have successfully
                                        got out of his aircraft and was
                                        alive on the ground. Last known
                                        alive. (DoD April 1991 list)
                                        -known to have evaded for 11
                                        days, maintaining radio contact.
                                        (DIA 1979 analytical comment)
                                        Spotter aircraft subsequently
                                        reported Walker was surrounded
                                        by 40 NVN troops.
                                        -known captured according to NSA
                                        intercept correlation.
                                        -Military ID card found in Hanoi
                                        military museum (January, 1992)


                                                [ssrep6.txt 02/09/93]

South Vietnam            Bruce C. Walker
                         Larry W. Potts

On April 7, 1972, Lieutenant Walker took off in an OV-10 from Da
Nang Air Base and flew north to Hue City and picked up Lieutenant
Potts, a naval artillery observer, to coordinate naval gunfire on
hostile ground targets in the area south of the Demilitarized Zone
separating North and South Vietnam.  A forward air controller in
the target area received a radio report from Lieutenant Walker
confirming that the OV-10 had been shot down.  Search and rescue
forces located two parachutes on the ground and established radio
contact with both Lieutenants, but hostile ground fire drove off
the SAR aircraft.  Visual and radio contact was maintained with
Lieutenant Walker, but all contact was lost with Lieutenant Potts.

Lieutenant Walker was able to use his signal mirror over the next
several days to help SAR forces pinpoint his location as he
directed air strikes against camouflaged enemy ground targets.
Finally, on April 15th, a survival kit was dropped to him.  The SAR
forces worked with Lieutenant Walker to have him move toward the
east, and, on April 18th, they determined his eastward movement was
much quicker than anticipated.  That morning Lieutenant Walker
radioed that he had encountered hostile forces and, at 0718 hours,
was receiving enemy fire.  This was the last transmission from him.

An F-4 dropped ordnance around his position and this caused hostile
ground forces to partially withdraw.  When last seen, Lieutenant
Walker was lying in a ditch within 50 yards of 20 enemy soldiers
coming after him.  Shortly after that, two U.S. officers reported
that hostile forces came upon Lieutenant Walker's radio and that
there was whistling, yelling, and laughing before the radio
transmission was apparently turned off. 
On April 7th, a Vietnamese unit reported from Quang Binh that two
pilots had been captured the previous night.  Others reports on
April 7th mentioned one aircraft shot down, but there was no
mentioned of the fate of the crew.  Also on April 6th, Radio Hanoi
broadcast a report about the downing of aircraft in Quang Binh and
the Vinh Linh Special Zone, but there was no reference to the
capture of any aircrews.

In April 1972, a People's Army of Vietnam soldier reported seeing
an American POW approximately seven kilometers north of Lieutenant
Walker's last known location.  He was reportedly one of two crewmen
from an OV-10 downed by a heat seeking surface-to-air missile on
April 1, 1972.  A second crewmen, an African-American, was killed
trying to escape.  Other reports of the sighting of an African-
American who was wounded, captured alive, and died circa July 1972
in prison camp K-4 in Quang Binh Province were received. 

A joint U.S./Vietnamese investigation was conducted in Gio Linh
District, Quang Tri Province in July 1990.  A reported grave site
was excavated, but no remains were recovered.  Witnesses stated the
remains were exhumed several years after they were first buried.
The team was unable to visit the area of the former K-4 prison camp
in Quang Binh Province.

Lieutenants Walker and Potts were declared missing, and returning
U.S. POWs were unable to provide information on their precise fate.
By January 1980, both had been declared dead/body not recovered
based on a presumptive finding of death.


Subject: Capt. Bruce Walker
Date:    Sun, 3 Jun 2001 17:33:22 -0600
From:    "Steve & Janet Montgomery"

I just returned (3 June 2001) from attending Capt. Walker's Memorial Service
at the Mesquite United Methodist Church, in Mesquite, Nevada. Three
beautiful stained glass windows were dedicated in his memory and honor.
Honor Guard from Nellis AFB was on hand to retrieve the flag and fire the 21
Gun Salute as well as perform the Missing Man formation flyby with four

Best regards, and thank you for your efforts,
Janet Montgomery





Return to Service Member Profiles

On April 7, 1972, an OV-10A Bronco (tail number 68-3820) with two crew members conducted a naval gunfire spotting mission in the vicinity of Quang Tri, South Vietnam. During the mission, the aircraft was struck by an enemy surface-to-air missile (SAM) north of Dong Ha and crashed. Both crewmen ejected, and search and rescue forces sighted two parachutes. Searchers were only able to make radio contact with one crew member, but the other crew member was not contacted, and neither could be located following the incident. 

Captain Bruce Charles Walker, who entered the U.S. Air Force from Colorado, served with the 24th Tactical Air Support Squadron and was the pilot of this Bronco at the time of its loss. After parachuting from the aircraft, he was in radio contact with search and rescue personnel, who air-dropped survival aids to him and attempted to guide him to a safe extraction point. However, enemy troops closed in on Capt Walker despite repeated efforts by U.S. aircraft to divert them or drive them back. After the enemy reached Capt Walker's last known position at (GC) YD 272 697, searchers lost radio contact with him and could not reestablish it. He remains unaccounted for. Today, Captain Walker 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 Deferred.

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.

Service member profile discrepancy? Please help us ensure the accuracy of each profile by submitting documentation about a service member profile.