Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Further Details

Name: David J Rickel Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 05 October 1945 Home City of Record: Ft. Lauderdale FL Date of Loss: 16 May 1968 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 173300N 1061800E (XE361472) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 1177

Other Personnel in Incident: Gerald J. Crosson (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 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: 01 January 1990. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998.


Capt. David J. Rickel, pilot, and Lt. Gerald J. Crosson, Jr., navigator/bombardier, were assigned an F4D mission over North Vietnam on May 16, 1968. Rickel was four years out of the Air Force Academy where he had been named to the Superintendent's List all eight semesters he attended the Academy. He had a promising career ahead.

At a point about 20 miles southwest of the city of Quang Khe, Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam, Rickel and Crosson were shot down. Other air crew in the area did not see parachutes indicating that the two had ejected from their aircraft, nor did they hear emergency beeper signals. Searches were eventually cancelled and both men were classified Missing in Action.

When 591 American POWs were released from Southeast Asia in the spring of 1973, Rickel and Crosson were not among them. No returning POW reported being held with them, and their names appeared on no lists provided by the Vietnamese. The Vietnamese denied any knowledge of them.
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