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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 137478
Last updated: 14 January 2021
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Time:21:46 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic F111 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
General Dynamics F-111A
Owner/operator:429th TFS, 474th TFW, USAF (429th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 474th Tactical Fighter Wing, United States Air Force)
Registration: 67-0078
C/n / msn: A1-123
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Houaphan Province, Northern Laos -   Laos
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:RTAFB Takhli (VTPI)
Destination airport:
When peace talks stalled during Operation Linebacker, the F-111 returned to Tahkli in strength. 48 F-111A's of the 429th TFS/474th TFW began deploying from Nellis AFB on September 27, 1972. The first F-111A were in combat 55 miles northwest of Hanoi 33 hours after lifting off the runway at Nellis, setting a record for time from deployment to combat.

Only hours after deploying to Tahkli, aircraft 67-0078, call sign "Ranger 23" took off with Pilot Maj. William C.Coltman (a Combat Lancer veteran) and WSO (Weapon Systems Officer) 1st Lt. Robert A. Brett, Jr for a strike against the Ye Son Military Storage Facility southeast of Yen Bai, N. Vietnam.

Last radio contact was at 21:41 hrs (9:41p.m) with the aircraft deviating from its planned route due to heavy thunderstorms. The last radar contact with Ranger 23 was approximately 5 minutes later. The aircraft was never heard from again. Maj. Coltman and Lt. Brett were listed as KIA/MIA.

At the time, the aircraft was officially listed at missing in the target area - Yen Bai, North Vietnam.
However, in August, 1998, a Joint Task Force- Full Accounting team located the wreckage in Houaphan Province, Northern Laos. Four digs were conducted at the site between March and November, 2000. The reason for the discrepancy between the official site of the aircraft's loss, and where the wreckage was found, may be due to the aircraft deviating from the planned flight path due to the thunderstorms.

On November 20, 2000, human remains were removed from the site and sent to the US Army's Central Identification Laboratory at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. In December, 2001 the lab positively identified the remains of Maj. Coltman and Lt. Brett.

On April 1st and 3rd, 2002, the men were laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.


Revision history:

18-Jul-2011 09:39 Anon. Added
25-Aug-2011 10:53 Uli Elch Updated [Registration, Cn, Operator, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]
28-Jan-2013 15:01 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Location, Country, Source, Narrative]

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