MADDOX, NOTLEY GWYNN

Name: Notley Gwynn Maddox
Rank/Branch: Colonel/US Air Force
Unit: 20th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron 
Udorn Airfield, Thailand 

Date of Birth: 20 November 1924
Home of Record: Rockford, IL
Date of Loss: 20 May 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 211900N 1062800E (XJ521503)
Click coordinates to view maps

Status in 1973: Missing In Action
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: RF101 "Voodoo"
Other Personnel in Incident: (none)

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS:   The first American combat aircraft in Vietnam were the single-seat McDonnell RF101 Voodoos of the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron which arrived at Tan Son Nhut Airport on 18 October 1961. That same day the Mekong River overflowed its banks flooding hundreds of squared miles of countryside. The sleek, heavy, powerful Voodoos began photographing both the floods and the Viet Cong on 20 October. The community of men who flew the RF101 was small and its losses high. At one point a Voodoo squadron had more aircraft than pilots, yet kept up a daily schedule of two combat missions per aircraft daily. Most of their missions were up north and a disproportionate number of RF101 pilots were languishing in the Hanoi Hilton.

Throughout its participation in Vietnam, the Voodoo flew the fastest missions ever carried out in any war - routinely carrying out its reconnaissance sorties at speeds up around 1,400 mph (Mach 2.0) - much faster than other jets under actual fighting conditions. The last RF101 departed Tan Son Nhut on 16 November 1970 ending the Voodoo chapter in Southeast Asia.

On 20 May 1967, then Major Notley G. Maddox departed Udorn Airfield as the pilot of the lead aircraft, call sign "Drill 01," in a flight of two on a late afternoon photo reconnaissance mission. Their intended target to photograph was the Kep Army barracks located 35 miles northeast of Hanoi on the Kep MiG base.

The weather was clear on their flight into the target area. But once on sight, the pilots found there were multi-layered, broken clouds to contend with. As the flight approached Kep Airfield from the northwest, it began receiving heavy, accurate anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) ground fire. Further, his wingman reported seeing both muzzle flashes and AAA fire directed at the flight.

Major Notley radioed his wingman that he had “taken a hit” and that “everything was okay.” At 1610 hours, he then stated he was “initiating his photo” run with “everything still okay.”  He completed his pass, pulled off the target and headed outbound toward the southeast before swinging back to the northwest to egress North Vietnam on the same predetermined flight path as briefed.  No further contact could be established with Major Notley at a point approximately 16 miles southeast of Kep and over a mountain range roughly 6 miles southeast of Luc Nam.  Aerial search and rescue (SAR) efforts were immediately initiated, but found no trace of the Voodoo or its pilot deep in enemy held territory.  At the time search efforts were terminated, Notley Maddox was listed Missing in Action.

Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE American Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.

Pilots and aircrews in Vietnam and Laos were called upon to fly in many dangerous circumstances, and each was prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country so proudly served.