Arthur V. McLaughlin, Jr.
Missing In Action
|SYNOPSIS: Arthur V. McLaughlin was aboard a B52 shot down by a Surface to Air
(SAM) missile over Hanoi on December 20, 1972. He was attached to the 99th Bomb
Wing, temporarily assigned to 8th Air Force stationed at Guam. His B52 was one of
many involved in the successful "Christmas Bombings" of Hanoi that finally convinced
the Vietnamese to sit at the peace table.
There were a total of 12 men missing in close proximity to each other from B52 aircraft
on December 20. It is unclear which men were together on any given plane, although it
seems clear that the four missing were on the same plane as Madden and Martini, as
Defense Department notes that two men were released from Lerner and Perry's plane.
The total number listed exceeds a normal B52 crew capacity, which is six. McClaughlin's
craft was third in a flight of three B52s over Hanoi that day. The fate of all three planes
One thing that amazed analysts about the B52 bombers that were shot down over Hanoi
during this period was the high survival rate of the crewmembers. Many more were
returned as POWs than was expected. The B52s that were shot down were downed in
extremely hostile territory with little or no chance of rescue.
Unfortunately, it does not appear that all the prisoners were returned in 1973 at the end
of the war. Since 1975, thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. Government
relating to Americans still alive in captivity. Experts in the U.S. Government have stated
they believe they are being held. The question then, is no longer whether or not they are
alive, but who are they, and how can we bring them home?