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A special tribute to LtCol Bobby Neeld, missing in action, 04 January 1969, South Vietnam.

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Select one of my POW-MIA Dedication Pages:
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[Norwich Connecticut Memorial] [Viet Nam Veterans Memorial Wall]

Viet Nam Veterans Memorial Wall - Bobby Neeld and Mitchell Lane

NEELD, BOBBY GENE

Panel 35W - - Line 36

Name: Bobby Gene Neeld
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Unit: 188th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Tuy Hoa AB, South Vietnam
Date of Birth: 08 October 1928
Home City of Record: Albuquerque NM
Date of Loss: 04 January 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 120100N 1090200E (BP860291)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F100C
Refno: 1354

Other Personnel in Incident: Mitchell S. Lane (missing from another F100)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 with the assistance
of 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.

Actual USG definition of Category assigned to each POW/MIA

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS:  The North American F100 Super Sabre, nicknamed "Hun," was a
single seat jet fighter that first came into service during the Korean War. During the
Gulf of Tonkin Crises, which catapulted the United States head long into the Vietnam
War, the first Air Force F100 squadrons were sent to DaNang, South Vietnam in
August 1964. Interestingly, during both wars, the Hun's most valuable uses were in
close air support for ground troops, and as principle strike aircraft because it could
deliver its ordnance on target at treetop level at full speed.

On 3 January 1969, then Major Bobby G. Neeld and 1st Lt. Mitchell S. Lane
departed Tuy Hoa Airfield, South Vietnam, on a 2-aircraft flight that was forced
to divert to Phan Rang Airfield, Khanh Hoa Province, South Vietnam due to adverse
weather conditions. Phan Rang Airfield was approximately 100 miles southwest of
Tuy Hoa Airfield. The next day, 4 January 1969, Maj. Bobby Neeld was the pilot
of the lead aircraft, call sign "Taco 81;" and 1st Lt. Mitchell Lane was the pilot of
the #2 aircraft, call sign "Taco 82;" that comprised a 2-aircraft flight on a Troop
Assault Preparation mission against enemy positions near a landing zone (LZ).

Taco flight departed Phan Rang Airfield at 0717 hours on the briefed mission
and was to return to their base afterward. However, after completing the strike
mission, Taco flight was again diverted to Phan Rang Airfield by Tuy Hoa
Operational Control due to deteriorating weather conditions. At the time Taco
flight changed flight paths, Maj. Neeld had a fuel load of 5400 lbs. and
1st Lt. Lane had 5000 lbs. The fuel requirement for the flight from Tuy Hoa to
Phan Rang was 1750 lbs.

As Maj. Neeld and 1st Lt. Lane prepared to depart Tuy Hoa airspace, they
requested an in route descent to VFR condition which was disallowed by port
call (the flight control center) as their separation from IFR traffic could not be
guaranteed. At 0825 hours, Taco flight was given a vector of 160 degrees and
radar monitoring was discontinued by the control center.

Radio contact was established with Bobby Neeld and Mitchell Lane when they
were over rugged jungle covered mountains approximately 73 miles southwest
of Tuy Hoa, 11 miles west-northwest of Cam Ranh Bay Airbase and 11 miles
west of the coastline. Weather conditions included winds from 330 degrees at
2 knots, visibility of more than 6 miles. Broken stratus clouds had bases from
200 feet with tops at 3000 feet. There was also a solid cloud overcast layer
with its base at 9000 feet along with occasional light rain from the north and
with lower visibility in that direction. At the time of their last contact, there was
no indication of trouble with either aircraft.

By 1045 hours Taco flight had not landed at Phan Rang Airfield and all other
airfields in South Vietnam and Thailand were contacted in the hope they had
diverted to one of them instead. Over the next 3 days as weather conditions
improved, extensive visual and electronic search and rescue (SAR) efforts
were initiated over land and water adjacent to their last known location. These
efforts were terminated the evening of 6 January 1969 because of forecasted
poor weather conditions in the search area. At the time the formal SAR effort
was terminated, both Bobby Neeld and Mitchell Lane were listed Missing in Action.

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 and aircrews 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.

When the last American troops left Southeast Asia in 1975, some 2500
Americans were unaccounted for. Reports received by the U.S. Government
since that time build a strong case for belief that hundreds of these
"unaccounted for" Americans are still alive and in captivity.

"Unaccounted for" is a term that should apply to numbers, not men. We do not
know if Lane and Neeld are alive or dead, but it seems certain that some are
alive. As long as even one American remains captive, we as a nation owe
these men our best effort to find them and bring them home. Until the fates
of men like Lane and Neeld are known, their families will wonder if they are
dead or alive - and why they were deserted.

Virtual Wall Rubbing, Bobby Neeld
"Electronic Rubbing" courtesy of The VVMF--The Virtual Wall


 

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