Name:  William Richard "Bill" Andrews
Rank/Branch: Lieutenant Colonel/US Air Force
Unit:  433 Tactical Fighter Sq. Known as "Satan's Angels" Ubon Airfield, Thailand
Date of Birth: 09 June 1937
Home of Record: Eugene, OR
Date of Loss: 05 October 1966 
Country of Loss:  North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates:  211900N 1042100E (VJ066812)
Click coordintaes to view (4)  maps
Status in 1973: Prisoner of War
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground:  F4C "Phantom II"
Other Personnel in Incident: (co-pilot rescued)


SYNOPSIS:   The McDonnell F4 Phantom used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings served a multitude of functions including fighter/bomber, interceptor, photo/electronic surveillance, and reconnaissance. 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. It was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.

On 5 October 1966, then Capt. William R. Andrews was the pilot of an F4C Phantom on a strike mission over North Vietnam. His aircraft was #3 in a flight of four. After the mission, the flight was directed to fly escort for a flight of two B-66s. A MiG alert was issued after which it was noticed the number three aircraft was not in the formation. No radio contact was received from the missing aircrew, but a short time later, a beeper was heard. Radio contact was subsequently made with Bill Andrews and he reported he was uninjured. Because North Vietnamese forces were approaching his position and search and rescue (SAR) personnel were receiving heavy ground fire, he could not be recovered. According to one report, as the enemy closed in on the downed pilot, Bill Andrews was supposed to have "started shooting it out with ground forces," and "one of his last transmissions was 'I have taken a hit'." The co-pilot had landed far enough away from enemy fortifications that he eventually was rescued. The location of loss was in the extremely rugged jungle covered mountains approximately 115 miles northwest of Hanoi and 20 miles east-northeast of the city of Na San, Nghia Lo Province, North Vietnam. A later coordination of records showed that Bill Andrews was listed Missing in Action, not Prisoner of War by Defense Intelligence Agency and the Air Force, while the Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC), Bangkok, Thailand carried him as a prisoner, not missing. JCRC was ordered to "delete any references pertaining to POW status" in Capt. Andrews' case. The reasons behind that order were never made unclear. On 13 September 1990, Bill Andrews remains were returned to the United States. According the US Army Central Identification Laboratory - Hawaii, his remains were identified "by comparison of teeth root canals in the jawbone." He was buried with full military honors in Phoenix, Arizona on 14 February 1991.

While Capt. Andrews remains were finally returned home to his loving family and grateful nation, and they have the peace of mind of knowing where their love one lies, for other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, their fate could be quite different.

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.

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