Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Further Details


Name: Francis Barnes Midnight Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 11 July 1939 Home City of Record: Gary IN Date of Loss: 23 August 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 171800N 1063600E (XE712139) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 0806 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 1990 from 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.


SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around.

When Frank B. Midnight graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1964, he went on to pilot training at Webb Air Force Base in Texas. It was not long before he was assigned to Vietnam as an F4 pilot.

On 23 August 1967, First Lieutenant Midnight was assigned a combat mission over North Vietnam. He and his back-seater (name unknown) were about 5 miles southwest of the city of Dong Hoi in Quang Binh Province when their aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed.

The prescribed ejection procedure in the F-4 is for the rear-seater to eject first, followed by the pilot of the aircraft. Thus, it is not uncommon for the two crewmembers to be separated by considerable distances. Apparently, as no second F-4 crewmember is missing in this locality on this date, the rear-seater on Midnight's aircraft was rescued. Midnight was not. He was classified Missing in Action.

The Defense Intelligence Agency further expanded Midnight's classification to include an enemy knowledge ranking of 2. Category 2 indicates "suspect knowledge" and includes personnel who may have been involved in loss incidents with individuals reported in Category 1 (confirmed knowledge), or who were lost in areas or under conditions that they may reasonably be expected to be known by the enemy; who were connected with an incident which was discussed but not identified by names in enemy news media; or identified (by elimination, but not 100% positively) through analysis of all-source intelligence.

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