Class Of 1964 USAF Academy

Further Details

Name: James Blair White Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron Date of Birth: 14 March 1942 Home City of Record: St. Petersburg FL Date of Loss: 24 November 1969 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 193500N 1033100E (UG318745) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 4 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F105D Refno: 1529 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 September 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 2000 with information from the National Alliance of Families.

SYNOPSIS: 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. Capt. James B. White was the pilot of an F105D assigned a mission north of the Plain of Jars region of Xiangkhoang Province, Laos, on November 24, 1969. This area was long controlled by the communist Pathet Lao and a continual effort had been made by the secret CIA-directed force of some 30,000 indigenous tribesmen to strengthen anti-communist strongholds there. The U.S. committed hundreds of millions of dollars to the war effort in Laos. Details of the "secret war" in Laos were not released until August 1971.

White was flying as the number two aircraft from his base at Takhli, Thailand. According to the Air Force, White simply failed to return to base, and no other details are given. White was classified Missing in Action, and it is uncertain if the enemy could account for him.

Because Laos was "neutral", and because the U.S. continued to state they were not at war with Laos (although we were regularly bombing North Vietnamese traffic along the border and conducted assaults against communist strongholds throughout the country at the behest of the anti-communist government of Laos), and did not recognize the Pathet Lao as a government entity, the U. S. did not negotiate for Americans lost in Laos.

James White's brother was Astronaut Edward H. White. Edward White (an AF Colonel) was killed on January 27, 1967, along with Astronauts Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee, when a fire swept through their Apollo spacecraft during training session.

The father was a retired AF General, at the time. He lost both his children.

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