|Name:||Ronald Dale Bond|
|Rank/Branch:||Major/US Air Force|
Bien Hoa Airbase, South Vietnam
|Date of Birth:||30 July 1930|
|Home of Record:||Fargo, ND|
|Date of Loss:||11 March 1968|
|Country of Loss:||South Vietnam|
|Loss Coordinates:||102559N 1071600E (YS473533)
Click coordinates to view maps
|Status in 1973:||Killed/Body Not Recovered|
|Other Personnel in Incident:||(none missing)|
SYNOPSIS: On 26 July 1967, the US Air Force's 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Bien Hoa Airbase received its first Cessna A37A Dragonfly aircraft under project "Combat Dragon." The attack version was considerably heavier than the T37B trainer from which it was developed. Americans were to fly the A37, nicknamed "Tweet," while the aircraft was being readied for the Vietnamese Air Force. The Dragonfly was essential to plans to bring the VNAF up to strength with a tactical force that was almost all-jet.
On 11 March 1968, Major Ronald D. Bond was the pilot of an A37A Dragonfly that departed Bien Hoa Airbase on a close air support mission for ground troops engaged in a battle with Viet Cong (VC) forces some 47 miles to the southeast. After making a strafing run over the target located on a hillside surrounded by rice paddies, the aircraft was struck by hostile ground fire, crashed and exploded upon impact approximately 2 miles east of a primary road and 4 miles west of the coastline. The location of loss was approximately 10 miles northeast of the major coastal base of Vung Tau, 44 miles southeast of Saigon and just north of the town of Long Hai, Long Dat District, Phuoc Tuy Province, South Vietnam.
Lt. Col. Shelton, an American advisor assigned to the "3-RAR" outpost located at the village of Long Hai near the crash site, and at least 100 villagers and indigenous troops observed the crash of this aircraft. A company-sized patrol under the command of the American advisor from the outpost moved through the crash site shortly afterward.
They secured the area and searched for pilot, but could find absolutely no trace of him in the decimated wreckage. The only identifiable item recovered from the wreckage was one serial number plate from the aircraft that was returned to Major Bond's squadron. According to the witness statement provided by Lt. Col. Shelton: "Unfortunately, the plane and pilot were completely destroyed and the company was not able to recover any part of the pilot."
Ronald Bond most certainly perished in the crash of his Dragonfly. Further, the chance of recovering his remains and returning them to his family, friends and country seems an impossible task based on the circumstances of his loss reported by the outpost personnel. 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 America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
Pilots and aircrews 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.