WHITT, JAMES EDWARD Name: James Edward Whitt Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force Unit: 25th Tactical Fighter Squadron Date of Birth: 01 February 1934 Home City of Record: Penfield IL Date of Loss: 23 March 1972 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 160958N 1064659E (XC818886) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 1802 Other Personnel in Incident: James T. Jackson (missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around. Maj. James E. Whitt was the pilot and Capt. James T. Jackson the bombardier/navigator on an F4D attached to the 25th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Ubon Airfield, Thailand. On March 23, 1972, the two were assigned an operational mission that would take them over Savannakhet Province, Laos. Other pilots in the flight observed Whitt's aircraft crash in an inverted position upon egress from the target, about 25 miles southeast of the city of Muong Nong. Both men were briefly classified Missing in Action, during which time Jackson was promoted to the rank of Major. On March 24, however, it was determined that both men had died in the incident, based on the receipt of unspecified evidence of death received by the Department of the Air Force. Jackson and Whitt are listed among the missing because their remains were never recovered. They are among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many of these 600 are known to have been alive on the ground following their shoot downs. Although the Pathet Lao publicly stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, not one American held in Laos has ever been released. Laos did not participate in the Paris Peace accords ending American involvement in the war in 1973, and no treaty has ever been signed that would free the Americans held in Laos. Over 10,000 reports relating to Americans prisoner, missing, or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. since the end of the war, convincing many authorities that hundreds are still alive. It's time we brought our men home.