EDMUNDS, ROBERT CLIFTON JR.

Remains Returned 5 June 1988; Identified 19 October 1988
Name: Robert Clifton Edmund, Jr. 
Rank/Branch: Major/US Air Force 
Unit: 469th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Korat Airbase, Thailand 

Date of Birth: 02 June 1942 
Home of Record: Richmond, VA
Date of Loss: 27 October 1968 
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 173000N 1061800E (XE274222) 
Click coordinates to view maps

Status in 1973: Missing in Action 
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D "Thunderchief" 
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing) 

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS:  The principle Air Force tactical strike aircraft during the Vietnam War was the Republic F105 Thunderchief, nicknamed a "Thud." Mass-produced after the Korean War, it served throughout Southeast Asia, particularly during Rolling Thunder operations.

When North Vietnam began to increase its military strength in South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some years before. This border road was used by the Communists to transport weapons, supplies and troops from North Vietnam into South Vietnam, and was frequently no more than a path cut through the jungle covered mountains. US forces used all assets available to them to stop this flow of men and supplies from moving south into the war zone.

On 27 October 1968, then 1st Lt. Robert C. Edmunds, Jr. was the pilot of an F105D in a flight of aircraft conducting a mid-afternoon armed reconnaissance mission. The target was the NVA's staging area where enemy convoys were organized prior to beginning their trip toward the acknowledged war zone. The entire area north of this major gateway into the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail was heavily defended and densely populated with NVA troops. The staging area was located approximately 5 miles due north of the Ban Karai Pass and 29 miles east-southeast of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam.

At 1610 hours, 1st Lt. Edmunds initiated an attack pass on the target located in the rugged jungle covered mountains roughly 2 miles east of Route 137, the primary road running through the Ban Karai Pass. Other pilots witnessed his aircraft as it was struck by enemy ground fire. They also saw it catch fire, go into a dive and crash. The other pilots saw no parachute and heard no emergency beeper. Further, because of the location of loss being in an area under total enemy control, no formal search and rescue (SAR) operation was possible. Robert Edmunds was immediately listed Missing in Action.

In 1988, remains possibly associated with 1st Lt. Edmunds' loss were turned over to personnel from the Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC). Those remains were, in turn, sent to the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CIL-HI) for examination, and they arrived at the lab on 28 July 1988. After a thorough examination, the remains were identified as Robert Edmunds through dental x-ray comparison. Shortly thereafter, Robert Edmunds' remains were returned to his family for burial.

For Robert Edmunds family and friends, they finally have the peace of mind of knowing where their loved one lies. As 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.

American Servicemen in Vietnam were called upon to operate 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.