4 Seests in Paradise
Our 2nd P.O.W./M.I.A.
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 15 September 1927
Home City of Record: Birmingham AL
Date of Loss: 02 September 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 173000N 1061500E (XE335357)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2 -- Suspect knowledge
A. Involved in the same incidents as individuals in Category 1.
B. Lost in areas or under conditions that they may
reasonably be expected to be known by the enemy.
C. Connected with an incident that was discussed
but not identified by name in the enemy news media, or
D. Probably identified through analysis of
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998.
REMARKS: SURVIVAL UNLIKELY
SYNOPSIS: The F105 Thunderchief (or "Thud") performed yeoman service on many diversified missions in Southeast Asia. F105s flew more combat missions over North Vietnam than any other USAF aircraft and consequently suffered the heaviest losses in action.
Maj. William G. Bennett was the pilot of an F105D Thunderchief sent on a mission in North Vietnam on September 2, 1967. During the mission, the aircraft was shot down and Maj. Bennett was declared Missing in Action. Bennett's last known location was in Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam, about 15 miles north of the Ban Karai Pass. The Department of Defense added remarks "Survival Unlikely" but it is not known what nature of evidence is available to support this remark.
Unconfirmed reports were received by Bennett's family that he had been killed while attempting to escape a POW camp, but Bennett's name did not appear on the list provided by the Vietnamese of those POWs who had died in captivity.
Some years later, in an attempt to establish a ranking for those cases that could be readily resolved by the Vietnamese should they wish to cooperate, the Defense Intelligence Agency devised "enemy knowledge categories 1-5." Category 1 indicated certain enemy knowledge, a category generally reserved for those who were known POWs. Category 5, on the other end of the scale, related personnel who were killed and remains were considered nonrecoverable. Bennett was placed in category 2, indicating there was a good chance the enemy knows his fate.
Mounting evidence indicates that some Americans are still alive being held prisoner of war in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese pledged to return all prisoners of war and provide the fullest possible accounting of the missing in the peace accords signed in 1973. They have done neither, and the U.S. has not compelled them to do so.
The United States government pledged that the POW/MIA issue is of "highest national priority" but has not achieved results indicative of a priority. Mitchell and the nearly 2500 Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia deserve our best efforts to bring them home, not empty rhetoric.
William G. Bennett was promoted to the rank of Colonel during the period he was maintained Missing in Action.
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