Charles Arthur Brown, Jr.
|SYNOPSIS: Frustrated by problems in negotiating a peace settlement, and pressured
by a Congress and public wanting an immediate end to American involvement in Vietnam, President Nixon ordered the most concentrated air offensive of the war - known as Linebacker II - in December 1972. During the offensive, sometimes called the "Christmas bombings", 40,000 tons of bombs were dropped, primarily over the area between Hanoi and Haiphong. White House Press Secretary Ronald Ziegler said that
the bombing would end only when all U.S. POWs were released and an internationally recognized cease-fire was in force.
On the first day of Linebacker II, December 18, 129 B52's arrived over Hanoi in three
waves, four to five hours apart. They attacked the airfields at Hoa Lac, Kep and Phuc
Yen, the Kinh No complex and the Yen Vien railyards. The aircraft flew in tight cells of
three aircraft to maximize the mutual support benefits of their ECM equipment and flew
straight and level to stabilize the bombing computers and ensure that all bombs fell on
The pilots of the early missions reported that "wall-to-wall SAMS" surrounded Hanoi
Onboard the first aircraft shot down on December 18 was its pilot, Lt. Col. Donald L.
Rissi and crewmen Maj. Richard E. Johnson, Capt. Richard T. Simpson, Capt. Robert
Capt. Hal K. Wilson was in the lead aircraft of a B52 cell from Utapoa. Also on board
Radio Hanoi announced that Poole had been captured and that he was uninjured.
The "Christmas Bombings", despite press accounts to the contrary, were of the most
precise the world had seen. Pilots involved in the immense series of strikes generally
agree that the strikes against anti-aircraft and strategic targets was so successful that
To achieve this precision bombing, the Pentagon deemed it necessary to stick to a
Linebacker II involved 155 Boeing B52 Stratofortress bombers stationed at Anderson
AFB, Guam (72nd Strat Wing) and another 50 B52s stationed at Utapoa
Airbase, Thailand (307th Strat Wing), an enormous number of bombers with over one thousand
men flying the missions. However, the bombings were not conducted without high loss
Reports mount that have convinced many authorities that Americans are still held
|SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and spelling errors).
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
CHARLES A. BROWN Captain - United States Air Force
My name is Captain Charles A. Brown (Charlie Brown) and I was shot down and
captured over Hanoi in North Vietnam on December 19, 1972 while on a B-52 bombing
mission. My feeling at the time was initially one of great sadness because it was within
three days of being reunited with my wife, who was scheduled to board a plane to come
and visit me eighteen hours after I was shot down. I found out later that she got as far
My initial reaction to imprisonment was, of course, one of shock mixed with deep sorrow for me, my family and all my friends. I was kept in solitary for only 36 hours, due to the fact that during the period of December 18 to 28, 1972 the "Hanoi Hilton" received a lot of uninvited guests. The short solitary confinement helped to ease any feelings of loneliness that I might have had. I knew of the negotiations in Paris and I had the hope that the agreement would be signed soon. Thank God it was signed at the end of January and I was only in jail for 101 days - a short stay but still too long.
In the sixty-one days between January 28 and March 28, 1973, the Vietnamese "fed"
Now that my imprisonment is over, I plan to stay with my wife and start a family. I will separate from the service on about August 1, 1973 and enter civilian life.
My message to the American People: We never know what we have until we lose it and freedom is one of the most important facets of life that is all too easily taken for granted. Throughout history, and even today, men are enslaved throughout the world while America stays free. Cherish your freedom, for it is very precious and very hard earned throughout the years. God HAS blessed America!
Charles Brown Jr. retired from the United States Air Force Reserves as a Lt. Colonel.