1969 A-37A Dragonfly loss mystery...

Discussion in 'Modern' started by Bluehawk, Apr 19, 2009.

  1. Bluehawk

    Bluehawk Member

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    Needing guidance on fatal crash of A-37A Dragonfly tail #67-14526 on 17 Dec 69 in Binh Duong province SVN, KIA was Lt Col William R. Spillers of Pennsylvania... he was with 604th TFS/8th Attack Squadron probably out of Bien Hoa at the time.

    Trying to complete a Remembrance profile for him of that crash, but also of his previous USAF career... for United States Air Force - Together We Served at:

    United States Air Force - Together We Served

    Very little info exists that I've been able to uncover with several hours of research... his Virtual Wall entry needs filling in of gaps, likewise his Tribute on National Air Force Memorial gallery.

    Any leads of any kind would be greatly appreciated...
     
  2. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Interestingly, the serial number database doesn't have a specific listing on this one, other than to say that it was one of a bunch of T-37B trainers converted to A-37A Dragonflies.

    Tweet and the Dragonfly the Story of ... - Google Book Search

    This has a photo of the airplane at the following caption.
    It should be noted that this aircraft was re-serialed. The original serial number was 56-3472 and it's construction number was 40044.
     
  3. Bluehawk

    Bluehawk Member

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    Thank you, so much. I will include that in the airman's Remembrance.

    This one is among the more difficult to sort out... for some reason. Though certain pieces fit within the lineage well enough to be verified - I can still not find anything about how this pilot died.

    Much appreciate your guidance.

    Blue
     
  4. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Sometimes aircraft go down with little information as to the cause or what was happening. This is especially true in times of war. If he was somewhere that he shouldn't have been, or been on a mission that was more on the clandestine side, it may have pieces that we may never know.
     
  5. Bluehawk

    Bluehawk Member

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    Kind of along the lines I was thinking too... thanks for bolstering.

    Turns out I can find only a single A-37 FAC call sign, and not with his Squadron. Also, the record does not show an Observer or c/p aboard, or one that was also KIA or MIA or anything else. So, FAC is presumably out.

    A lot of stuff was going on right then involving Cambodia recon and air strikes by loitering a/c like an A-37 or an A-1, so maybe the answer is in there somewhere.

    He wasn't an Academy graduate KIA, so that source is out. Maybe, as a Lt Col, he had attended the Point if it was before '59... I'll check that.

    There has to be some record of this. If they know "for sure" the day and province of his loss, then somebody somewhere has written down why and how.

    I may have to resort to NARA... or AFHRA.
     
  6. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I would think Maxwell and the AFHRA are your best bets.

    Being that it was an A-37, it could have been doing a number of mission profiles. Do you have the MACR on it? I am curious to see if the crew list was one or 2. If it was listed as 2 that would make sense. If only one, I have a couple of theories, but nothing that would be backed up in any official records. There were a lot of little black ops in Southeast Asia.
     
  7. Bluehawk

    Bluehawk Member

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    This was one of those instances where the crew consisted of one, that day, that aircraft, that unit, that province.

    I base this on the fact that there were no other USAF or Army personnel KIA or MIA that day and in that area or doing aviation - from the records I've seen.

    I lack the full MACR directly related, but feel that one can deduce his being the sole crew based on what else is NOT present in the available records.

    In further reading, again projecting somewhat, the crash took place somewhere near a Navy Riverine depot of some kind - I believe. In any case, I think the old map shows a schematic of a small landing strip within several yards of a Mekong tributary... and the fragmentary records do, I recall, make mention of units like his doing "clandestine" sorties into Cambodia, Laos et al.

    That made me think Black Ops too... in which case those who do know won't say even if they are still with us.

    Your thoughts on this are helpful. Thank you...

    Naturally, this can be a totally wrong conclusion... as happens sometimes.
     
  8. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    I am wondering if the reason for the crew list of one would hint that there might have been an agent drop somewhere along the frontier, or beyond.
     
  9. Bluehawk

    Bluehawk Member

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    It sure sounds like it... although I did come across one obscure reference which stated that early Dragonfly a/c were flown as a single-seater - but have no way of knowing that from experience.
     
  10. brickhistory

    brickhistory Member

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  11. Bluehawk

    Bluehawk Member

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