WILKINSON, DENNIS EDWARD Remains returned 26 August 1978 Name: Dennis Edward Wilkinson Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 23 July 1944 Home City of Record: W. Palm Beach FL Date of Loss: 10 May 1972 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 214100N 1050700E (WJ120975) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E Other Personnel in Incident: Jeffrey L. Harris, remains returned 05/97 [see Harris bio] Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 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. REMARKS: REMS RET 780826 MONTGOM HANOI SYNOPSIS: In the spring of 1972, the U.S. formulated the LINEBACKER offensive. Its objective was to keep the weapons of war out of North Vietnam. At this time, the North Vietnamese had one of the best air defense systems in the world, with excellent radar integration of SA-2 SAMs, MiGs, and antiaircraft artillery. The NVN defense system could counter our forces from ground level up to nineteen miles in the air. MiG fighters were on ready alert, and after takeoff, were vectored by ground-control radar. Soviet advisors devised attack strategies, manned a number of the SAM sites, and also trained North Vietnamese crews. On the first strike day, the entire force encountered heavy concentrations of anti-aircraft fire and 16 MiGs were seen. Three of the MiGs were downed, but the Air Force lost an air crew. An F4E flown by Capt. Jeffrey L. Harris and Weapons Systems Officer Capt. Dennis E. Wilkinson exploded and crashed. The Air Force believed there was reason to believe the two escaped the crippled plane, and declared them both Missing in Action. In 1973, 591 Americans were released from prisons in Hanoi. Harris and Wilkinson were not among them. Military officials were dismayed that hundreds of known or suspected prisoners were not released. In 1978, Congressman "Sonny" Montgomery led a much-maligned delegation to Hanoi to determine whether any American POWs remained in Vietnam. The Vietnamese told him there were none, and gave the delegation a few sets of American remains. Mr. Montgomery returned with the report that all Americans were dead. One of the sets of remains given to Montgomery was subsequently identified as Dennis E. Wilkinson. If the Vietnamese could account for him, it seems unlikely that they are unable to account for Harris as well. LINEBACKER and LINEBACKER II offensives were the most effective strikes against enemy defenses in the war. By the end of these surgical strikes, according to pilots who flew the missions, the North Vietnamese had "nothing left to shoot at us as we flew over. It was like flying over New York City." Nearly 2500 Americans did not return from the war in Vietnam. Thousands of reports have been received indicating that some hundreds remain alive in captivity. As in the case of Wilkinson, Vietnam and her communist allies can account for most of them. In the total view of the issue of the missing, however, the return of remains signals no progress. In the early 1980's the very credible Congressional testimony of a Vietnamese mortician indicated that the Vietnamese are in possession of over 400 sets of remains. In 15 years, they have returned barely half of them. More importantly, the same credible witness, whose testimony is believed throughout Congress, stated that he had seen live Americans held at the same location where the remains were stored. As long as even one American remains alive in captivity in Southeast Asia, the only issue is that one living man. We must bring them home before there are only remains to negotiate for.
A sacred find: Corinth man searches for POW's family
Veteran Bobby McDaniel found a POW bracelet about six inches underground while ... offensive in the spring of 1972, according to the POW Network.