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[Spacer] [Air Force - .8K] Robert Malcolm Elliot
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[Bunting - .4K]  Remains Identified - 1999   [Bunting - .4K]

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  • Name: Robert Malcolm Elliot
  • Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
    (Promoted to O6 while in Missing status.)
  • Unit: 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Korat Airbase, Thailand
  • Date of Birth: 08 November 1929
  • Home City of Record: Springfield MA
  • Date of Loss: 14 February 1968
  • Country of Loss: North Vietnam
  • Loss Coordinates: 205400N 1055800E (WH988945)
  • Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
  • Category: 2
  • Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D
  • Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
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    [Up - .1K] [Spacer] SYNOPSIS [Spacer] [Down  - .1K]

    SYNOPSIS: Capt. Robert M. Elliot was assigned to the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at
    Korat Airbase in southern Thailand. On Valentine's Day 1968, Elliot was the pilot of an
    F105D fighter jet assigned a combat mission near Hanoi, North Vietnam.

    The F105 Thunderchief ("Thud"), in its various versions, flew more missions against
    North Vietnam than any other U.S. aircraft.  It also suffered more losses, partially due
    to its vulnerability, which was constantly under revision.  Between 1965 and 1971, the
    aircraft was equipped with armor plate, a secondary flight control system, an improved
    pilot ejection seat, a more precise navigation system, better blind bombing capability
    and ECM pods for the wings.  While the D version was a single-place aircraft, the F
    model carried a second crewman which made it well suited for the role of suppressing
    North Vietnam's missile defenses.

    Eighty-six F-105Ds fitted with radar homing and warning gear formed the backbone of
    the Wild Weasel program, initiated in 1965 to improve the Air Force's electronic warfare
    capability.  Upon pinpointing the radar at a missile site, the Wild Weasel attacked with
    Shrike missiles that homed on radar emissions.  The versatile aircraft was also credited
    with downing 25 Russian MiGs.  Thirteen of these modified F's were sent to Southeast
    Asia in 1966.

    Capt. Elliot's Thunderchief was number two in a flight of four.  The flight was to make
    successive runs on their target near Hanoi. As Elliot was pulling off the target during one
    of his planned runs, his aircraft was hit by hostile fire.  He radioed that he was hit, but
    the rest of the flight did not see any parachute or hear emergency beeper signals indica-
    ting that he was able to eject from the aircraft.  Elliot was declared Missing in Action.

    The Air Force was careful not to declare Elliot dead unduly, even though no evidence
    existed to indicate that he survived. Early in the war, pilots had been declared dead
    because of the grim circumstances surrounding the crash of their aircraft, only to turn
    up in the prison systems of North Vietnam.  Indeed, several intelligence reports were
    received that indicated Elliot had been captured, although outside confirmation of this
    fact was apparently never made.

    Elliot is among many Americans on whom information is almost certainly held by the
    Vietnamese, but the Vietnamese continue to deny knowledge of him or of his fate.  As
    reports mount convincing many authorities that Americans are still alive in Southeast
    Asia, held captive by our long-ago enemy, one must wonder if one of those said to be
    still alive is Robert Elliot.  He may not know that he has been promoted to the rank of
    Lt. Colonel.  What must he be thinking of us?

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    [Up - .1K] [Spacer] UPDATE [Spacer] [Down  - .1K]

    No. 195-M  MEMORANDUM FOR CORRESPONDENTS  December 27, 1999

    The remains of an American serviceman previously unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial in the United States.

    He is identified as Air Force Colonel Robert M. Elliot of Springfield, Mass.

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