William David Frawley
Killed In Action - Body Not Recovered
|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.
Lt. William D. Frawley was a pilot assigned to Fighter Squadron 143 onboard the
After routine aerial refueling, they began their mission into what was deteriorating
weather conditions. While just off the coast of North Vietnam and at extremely low
The flight leader radioed Frawley to see if he held the flight leader visually. Frawley
responded that he did not. The flight leader then joined up on the third F4, but neither
were able to contact or get a visual on Frawley's aircraft. The flight leader contacted
Limited search efforts were begun by the USS Berkeley, USS Isbell and HU-16 and
It was learned later that during the course of events, the crew of the second aircraft did near a surface-to-air missile (SAM) alert warning on UHF radio, but no missiles were seen or reported fire. Circumstances strongly suggest collision with the water, however enemy action was not ruled out. Their last known location was approximately 50 miles southwest of Haiphong, and about 10 miles south of the city of Hoanh Dong, North Vietnam. Both men were declared Missing in Action, but because it was suspected they crashed in the Gulf of Tonkin, it is not believed their remains, if killed, are recoverable.
The following day, evidence of an aircraft crash was located just off the shoreline which
was believed to increase the chance that the plane was shot down by enemy fire. No
In 1973, 591 Americans were released from prisons in Vietnam. A list of those who died in captivity was provided, and some of their remains were repatriated. Some remains have been repatriated since. There were many men who were known to have survived their loss incident who did not return. The Vietnamese deny any knowledge of these men, even though some were photographed as their captives.
Unlike "MIAs" from other wars, most of the over 2300 remaining missing in Southeast
could be accounted for. Because of this, and because the U.S. has received thousands
Perhaps Frawley and Christenson perished. Perhaps in their story, they have another
mission to fly -- that of telling us never to quit, never to give up until ALL Americans