|Name:||William Arthur Kimsey, Jr.|
|Rank/Branch:||Warrant Officer Third Class/US Army|
Nickname: The Catkillers
17th Aviation Group,
1st Aviation Brigade
|Date of Birth:||09 January 1947 (Oak Ridge, TN)|
|Home of Record:||Reliance, TN|
|Date of Loss:||21 January 1968|
|Country of Loss:||North Vietnam|
Click coordinates to view maps
|Status in 1973:||Missing in Action|
|Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground:||O1D "Bird Dog"|
|Other Personnel In Incident:||Charles J. Ramsay (missing)|
SYNOPSIS: The Cessna O1D Bird Dog was primarily used by the Army as a liaison and observation aircraft. It brought not only an aerial method of locating targets, but the rudiments of a system of strike coordination between different types of aircraft used in the air war as well as with the different branches of the service who were operating in the same area. The Bird Dog was also used very successfully as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) since it could fly low and slow carrying marker rounds of ammunition to identify enemy positions for the attack aircraft.
On 21 January 1968, then W2 William A. Kimsey Jr., Army pilot; and Capt. Charles J. Ramsey, Marine Corps aerial observer comprised the crew of an O1D aircraft (tail #57-2930) on a combat support mission over the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separated North and South Vietnam. They departed the Hue/Phu Bai Airfield in the morning to direct naval gunfire on an active enemy anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) site. This gun emplacement posed a severe threat to US strike aircraft participating in operational missions throughout North Vietnam because its location was within range of flight paths frequently used by all American aircraft entering and exiting North Vietnam's air space.
At 1200 hours radio contact was lost with the crew of the Bird Dog. Just prior to radio failure, W2 Kimsey reported that their aircraft had been hit by ground fire. The on-site Forward Air Controller (FAC), who was controlling multiple aircraft operating in this sector, immediately initiated a visual search for the downed aircraft and its crew. Over the next several hours he crisscrossed the area of loss without locating the crash site or making contact with Charles Ramsay or William Kimsey.
The location of loss was in the flat, marshy and populated coastal plain approximately 1 mile north of the DMZ, 2 miles east of the coastline and 3 miles southeast of Vinh Linh, Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. This was also approximately 58 miles northwest of the Hue/Phu Bai Airfield. There was a small east/west flowing river less than a mile north of the loss location and a second much larger east/west flowing river to the south of it. Because of the heavy enemy presence in the area, no ground search was possible.
Under the circumstances of loss, it was believed that if Capt. Ramsey and W2 Kimsey survived the downing of their aircraft, they most certainly would have been captured. At the time the Ariel search was terminated, both William Kimsey and Charles Ramsay were 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 America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
Pilots and aircrews were called upon to fly and fight 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.