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Edward Burke Burdett
Brigadier General, United States Air Force
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BRIGADIER GENERAL EDWARD B. BURDETT

Died while on active duty November 18, 1967

Brigadier General Edward B. Burdett was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1921. He is a 1943 U.S. Military Academy graduate.

His foreign service includes duties as a pilot in World War II, 1944-45; Canal Zone, 1050-52; Italy, 1954-57; Germany, 1964-65; England, 1965-67; Korat Air Base, Thailand, April 1967 until death.

Hahn Air Base duty: commander, 50th Combat Support Group, from April 1, 1964 to June 11, 1965, when he became vice wing commander of the 50th Tactical Fighter Wing, serving until July 14, 1965.

He was commander, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Korat Royal Thai Air Base. He departed Korat on November 18, 1967 as pilot of number three aircraft in a flight of four F-105D's, on a strike mission over Phuc Yen Airfield, North Vietnam. His aircraft was hit by fragments. He completed his pass, released his bombs, and made a nearly level right turn to exit the area. His aircraft was on fire. He attempted to light his afterburner, was unsuccessful, and the aircraft went into uncontrollable spin into a cloud undercast. No ejection was seen or parachute observed. He was 18 miles west of Hanoi. He was held to be missing in action from Nov. 18, 1967 to Jan. 15, 1968, at which time sufficient evidence was received to warrant placing him in a captured status. Conclusive evidence was received on April 2, 1974 that he had died in captivity on November 18, 1967.

Awards and decorations: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Soldier's Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal. Also, he had been awarded pilot wings by the Bolivian Government.

Buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near his West Point roommate, John Milton Cutler.



Courtesy of the United States Air Force:

BRIGADIER GENERAL EDWARD B. BURDETT

Died November 18, 1967

Brigadier General Edward B. Burdett was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1921. He is a 1943 U.S. Military Academy graduate. His foreign service includes duties as a pilot in World War II, 1944-45; Canal Zone, 1050-52; Italy, 1954-57; Germany, 1964-65; England, 1965-67; Korat Air Base, Thailand, April 1967 until death.

Hahn Air Base duty: commander, 50th Combat Support Group, from April 1, 1964 to June 11, 1965, when he became vice wing commander of the 50th Tactical Fighter Wing, serving until July 14, 1965.

He was commander, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Korat Royal Thai Air Base. He departed Korat on Nov. 18, 1967 as pilot of number three aircraft in a flight of four F-105D's, on a strike mission over Phuc Yen Airfield, North Vietnam. His aircraft was hit by fragments. He completed his pass, released his bombs, and made a nearly level right turn to exit the area. His aircraft was on fire. He attempted to light his afterburner, was unsuccessful, and the aircraft went into uncontrollable spin into a cloud undercast. No ejection was seen or parachute observed. He was 18 miles west of Hanoi. He was held to be missing in action from Nov. 18, 1967 to Jan. 15, 1968, at which time sufficient evidence was received to warrant placing him in a captured status. Conclusive evidence was received on April 2, 1974 that he had died in captivity on November 18, 1967.

Awards and decorations: Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal, Soldier's Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, World War II Victory Medal, National Defense Service Medal. Also, he had been awarded pilot wings by the Bolivian Government.


Name: Edward Burke Burdett
Rank/Branch: Brigadier General, O6/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 10 March 1921
Home City of Record: Macon Georgia
  Date of Loss: 18 November 1967
Country of Loss:  North Vietnam
Status (in 1973):  Prisoner of War
Status (in 1974): Remains Returned: 6 March 1974
  Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D

Other Personnel in Incident: From nearby F105s: Edward W. Lehnhoff; Leslie J. Hauer; Oscar M. Dardeau, Jr. (all remains returned)

REMARKS: 740306 DRV RET REMS

SYNOPSIS:

The F105 Thunderchief (or "Thud") performed yoeman 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. They dropped bombs by day and occasionally by night from high or low altitude and some later versions (F105D in Wild Weasel guise) attacked SAM sites with their radar tracking air-to-ground missiles. This versatile aircraft was also credited with downing 25 Russian MiGs.

On November 18, 1967, three F105s were shot down over Vinh Phu Province. It is likely that the three were part of a multi-plane strike on military targets around Hanoi.

The first F105 to be shot down, a D model, was flown by Col. Edward Burke Burdett. The aircraft was shot down about 20 miles from Hanoi. Burdett was captured by the Vietnamese, but, according to a list provided by the Vietnamese, died in captivity the same day he was shot down. Whether Burdett was so severely injured in the bail-out or was tortured to death is unknown. His remains were not returned until March 6, 1974.

The second F105 was an F model and was flown by Maj. Oscar M. Dardeau, Jr. His co-pilot on the flight was Captain Edward W. Lehnhoff, Jr. Their aircraft was shot down about 10 miles north of the city of Phy Tho. The fate of these two remains uncertain, but they were classified Missing in Action, and there were indications that the Vietnamese knew their fates. The Vietnamese "discovered" and returned their remains on November 25, 1987.

Major Leslie J. Hauer was the pilot of the third F105 to be shot down at Vinh Yen. Major Hauer was declared Missing in Action. In June, 1977, the Vietnamese told U.S. officials they would return Major Hauer's remains in September. In September, thirteen years later, they did just that.

Whether all the four airmen shot down on November 18, 1967 survived to be captured is uncertain, but the notion is not unreasonable. Although the Vietnamese have conducted site excavations in an effort to show "good will" in recovering U.S. remains, they are known to have stockpiled hundreds of American bodies awaiting politically expedient moments to return them, a few at a time.

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.

Edward W. Lehnhoff, Jr. was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Oscar M. Dardeau, Jr. and Leslie J. Hauer were promoted to the rank of Colonel, during the period they were maintained Missing in Action. 

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.


Posted: 1 July 2002 - Updated: 23 November 2003  Updated: 17 Setpember 2005
US Military Academy (West Point) SEAL
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Distinguished Flying Cross
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Air Medal
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Purple Heart Medal
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Vietnam Campaign Medal
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