Robert Franklin Coady
Major, United States Air Force
Robert Franklin Coady was born on September
11, 1939 and joined the Armed
He served in the United States Air Force, 602 SPE OP, and attained the rank of Major.
Robert Franklin Coady is listed as Missing in Action.
There is an "In Memory Of" stone in his name
in Arlington National Cemetery.
Robert "Wild Bill" Coady and I flew together nine times in Vietnam. He was new to combat and flew my wing in formation. In an attempt to rescue Lieutenant Colonel Lurie Morris, Wild Bill was shotdown. I was in the flight which rescued Morris, however the helicopter he was in crash landed. Presently I'm writing a book about rescues made in Vietnam during April 1968-69. Would like to make contact with people who knew him.
Posted By: George Marrett - email@example.com
Name: Robert Franklin Coady
Rank/Branch: Major/US Air Force
Unit: 602nd Special Operations Squadron, Nakhon Phanom Airfield, Thailand
Date of Birth: 11 September 1939
Home of Record: New Orleans, Louisiana
Date of Loss: 18 January 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Status in 1973: Missing In Action
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A1H "Skyraider"
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
With its fantastic capability to carry a wide
range of ordnance (8,000 pounds of external armament), great flight range
(out to 3,000 miles), and the ability to absorb punishment, the single-seat
Douglas A1 Skyraider became one of the premier
At 0523 hours on 18 January 1969, then Captain Robert F. Coady was the pilot of an A1H Skyraider, call sign "Sandy 10," that departed Nakhon Phanom Airfield as the #2 aircraft in a flight of two. Capt. Coady was operating as the low element in a high/low flight formation conducting a first light search and recovery (SAR) mission to pick up the 2-man crew of "Stormy 02," an F4D that was shot down the afternoon before. The Phantom crew was attacking an active 37mm anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) site when it was struck by AAA fire from that gun emplacement. Their target was located in rugged jungle covered mountains approximately 23 miles west-northwest of Khe Sanh, South Vietnam; 3 miles southeast of Muang Xepon, and 7 miles west of Tchepone, Savannakhet Province, Laos.
This area of eastern Laos was considered a major gateway into the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail. When North Vietnam began to increase its military strength in South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some years before. This border road was used by the Communists to transport weapons, supplies and troops from North Vietnam into South Vietnam, and was frequently no more than a path cut through the jungle covered mountains. US forces used all assets available to them to stop this flow of men and supplies from moving south into the war zone.
At 0625 hours on 18 January, the co-pilot of
Stormy 02 made radio contact with Sandy flight. Because of clouds and fog
over the survivor's position, the rescue operation was delayed until 0900
hours. By that time the weather cleared with only a few scattered clouds
left and visibility of 7 miles. After Sandy 09 and Sandy 10 made their
first pass over his location, Lieutenant Fegan, the downed co-pilot, advised
the Sandy pilots that there was automatic weapons fire coming from the
east and southeast of him. Further, repeated weapons fire was noted on
each subsequent pass over the survivor's position. Sandy 09 received 7
hits from small arms fire.
According to Sandy 09, at 0932 hours he heard
an unidentified radio call saying, "What in the world is that?" Looking
around while pulling off the target, Sandy 09 observed a dust cloud, a
white phosphorous cloud and smoke from burning gasoline. The entire length
from dust to smoke was approximately 125 yards. The dust cloud from the
crash path was located in a small jungle clearing that then penetrated
the jungle growth from an easterly heading. Sandy 09 saw the aircraft wreckage
approximately 5 miles southeast of Muang Xepon and 5 ½ miles west
Robert Coady is among nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many of these men were known to be alive on the ground. The Laotians admitted holding "tens of tens" of American Prisoners of War, but these men were never negotiated for either by direct negotiation between our countries or through the Paris Peace Accords which ended the War in Vietnam since Laos was not a party to that agreement.
Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by our government. Many of these reports document LIVE America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
Pilots in Vietnam and Laos were called upon
to fly in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded,
killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could
be abandoned by the country they so proudly served.
Posted: 24 May 2002