Please join me in praying for him and his family

Rank/Branch: O2/US Marine Corps
Unit: VMA(AW) 533, MAG 15, 1st Marine Air Wing
Date of Birth: 15 March 1947
Home City of Record: Odessa, Texas
Date of Loss: 27 December 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 171500N 1064500E (XD985800)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A

Other Personnel in Incident: Ralph J. Chipman (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 1990 from one or more of the following:
Raw data from U.S. Government agency sources; correspondence with POW/MIA families; published sources; interviews.



The Grumman A6 Intruder is an all weather, low-altitude, carrier-based attack plane. The A6A primarily flew close air support, all-weather and night attacks on enemy troop concentrations, and night interdiction missions. Its advanced navigation and attack system, known as DIANE (digital Integrated Attack Navigation Equipment) allowed small precision targets, such as bridges, barracks and fuel depots to be located and attacked in all weather conditions, day or night. The planes were credited with some of the most difficult single-plane strikes in the war, including the destruction of the Hai Duong bridge between Hanoi and Haiphong by a single A6. Their missions were tough, but their crews among the most talented and most courageous to serve the United States.

Capt. Ralph J. Chipman was the pilot of an Intruder assigned a mission over North Vietnam on December 27, 1972. His co-pilot on the flight was 1st Lt. Ronald W. Forrester. The aircraft did not return from the mission, and last contact was made with the crew over the target area.

A subsequent article in Quan Doi Nhan Dan, a daily Vietnamese newspaper, described an aircraft downed by the Vietamese. Apparently, the pilot was reported to be dead, and possibly the co-pilot as well. Although this article was thought to possibly relate to Capt. Chipman and Lt. Forrester, it was not definite enough for proof of death. Both men were classified Missing in Action. It is believed that the Vietnamese could account for them.

Lt. Forrester and Capt. Chipman are among nearly 2,500 Americans who remained missing from the Vietnam war. Many experts, having seen the "several million" documents relating to American prisoners, missing or unaccounted for in Southeast Asis, believe that hundreds of these men are still alive in captivity today.

In our haste to leave Southeast Asia, we abandoned some of our best men. Suprisingly, in 1990, overtures by many U.S. government officials hint at normalization of elations with Vietnam, yet no agreements have been reached which would feee those Americans still held in Southeast Asia. In our haste to return to Indochina, will we again abandon our men?

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to keep pushing this issue inside the Beltway. The need to get specific answers is more important now than ever before. If still alive, some MIAs are now in their 70s... They don't have much time left. We have to demand the answers from the bureaucrats and keep standing on their necks (figuratively speaking) until they get the message that THEY work for US and that we are serious about getting these long overdue responses. Diplomatic considerations aside... We can no longer allow questionable protocols established by pseudo-aristocratic armchair strategists, to determine or influence the fate of the men who were in the trenches while the diplomats were sharing sherry and canapes and talking about "Their Plans" for the future of SE Asia.

Although the United States Government has received nearly 10,000 reports concerning Americans still missing in Southeast Asia, convincing many authorities that hundreds are still aliive, the United States has been unable to find a way to free those men captured in Laos. One of them could be Captain Ronald W. Forrester.


Ronald W. Forrester graduated from Texas A&M University in 1969. He was promoted to the rank of Captain during the period he was maintained missing in action.


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That He Is A Person
Not Just A Statistic

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