YUILL, JOHN HARRY
|Name: John Harry Yuill
Rank/Branch: O5/US Air Force, pilot [Blue 1]
Unit: 307th Strat Wing
Date of Birth: 29 July1934
Home City of Record: Boswell IN
Date of Loss: 22 December 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 210125N 1055100E (WJ880210)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Other Personnel in Incident: Gary L. Morgan; William T. Mayall; David I. Drummond; William W. Conlee; Louis H. Bernasconi (all released POWs). Only B-52 crew recovered intact and alive.
The photo above shows John
Yuill (center of the photo,
looking to his left), Hal Wilson
while in ccapivity.
(photo sent to RR by John Yuill).
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 July 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 2018. Updated 2019 with information from Justin Jackson-Mann.
REMARKS: RELSD 730329 BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: Frustrated by problems in negotiating a peace settlement, and
pressured by a Congress and public wanting an immediate end to American
involvement in Vietnam, President Nixon ordered the most concentrated air
offensive of the war - known as Linebacker II - in December 1972. During the
offensive, sometimes called the "Christmas bombings," 40,000 tons of bombs
were dropped, primarily over the area between Hanoi and Haiphong. White House
Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler said that the bombing would end only when all
U.S. POWs were released and an internationally recognized cease-fire was in
Linebacker II flights generally arrived over Hanoi in tight cells of three
aircraft to maximize the mutual support benefits of their ECM equipment and
flew straight and level to stabilize the bombing computers and ensure that all
bombs fell on the military targets and not in civilian areas.
The pilots of the early missions reported that "wall-to-wall SAMS" surrounded
Hanoi as they neared its outskirts. The Christmas Bombings, despite press
accounts to the contrary, were of the most precise the world had seen. Pilots
involved in the immense series of strikes generally agree that the strikes
against anti-aircraft and strategic targets was so successful that the U.S.,
had it desired, "could have taken the entire country of Vietnam by inserting
an average Boy Scout troop in Hanoi and marching them southward."
To achieve this precision bombing, the Pentagon deemed it necessary to stick
to a regular flight path. For many missions, the predictable B52 strikes were
anticipated and prepared for by the North Vietnamese. Later, however, flight
paths were altered and attrition all but eliminated any hostile threat from
Still, aircraft were shot down near the end of the campaign. On December 22,
1972, a B52 was shot down near Hanoi. Its crew included LTCOL John H. Yuill,
LTCOL Louis H. Bernasconi, LTCOL William W. Conlee, CAPT David I. Drummond,
1LT William T. Mayall, and TSGT Gary L. Morgan. This crew was exceptionally
fortunate--they were all were captured by the North Vietnamese. The captured
crew was held in Hanoi until March 29, 1973, at which time they were released
in Operation Homecoming. The U.S. did not know all of them had been captured.
Linebacker II involved 155 Boeing B52 Stratofortress bombers stationed at
Anderson AFB, Guam (72nd Strat Wing) and another 50 B52s stationed at Utapoa
Airbase, Thailand (307th Strat Wing), an enormous number of bombers with over
one thousand men flying the missions. However, the bombings were not conducted
without high loss of aircraft and personnel. During the month of December
1972, 61 crewmembers onboard ten B52 aircraft were shot down and were captured
or declared missing. (The B52 carried a crew of six men; however, one B52 lost
carried an extra crewman.) Of these 61, 33 men were released in 1973. The
others remained missing at the end of the war. Over half of these survived to
Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports have been received relating to
Americans missing, prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. The crew of
the B52 shot down on December 22 was lucky to have survived and only have a
few weeks imprisonment. Many authorities are now convinced that many Americans
are still held captive in Southeast Asia. It's time we found them and brought
John Yuill retired from the United States Air Force as a Lt. Colonel in
April 1979. He and his wife Rose reside in Texas.
No good options: Vietnam POW shares story of captivity
No good options: Vietnam POW shares story of captivity ... he became a prisoner of war with
Airmen at Sheppard AFB as part of POW/MIA Day events.