• newark
  • Essex
  • February 05, 1939
  • January 17, 1971
  • Air Force
  • RANK:
  • MAJ
  • MIA
  • South Vietnam


Robert H. Mirrer was born February 5, 1939, to Mac and Fannie Mirrer.  His home of record was Newark, NJ.  He had one brother, Mel.

Mirrer entered the US Air Force where he attained the rank of Major (MAJ) and was assigned to the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron,Danang.

Mirrer was listed as missing in action on January 17, 1971.  He was survived by his wife, Pam.

Bob, was a great guy. Growing up, he was ten years older than I. He had a gang of friends. Athletic and good-looking, the girls seemed to chase him. I inherited his 3 speed 'English Racer' (bicycle) when he moved on to cars. I remember him explaining how a manual transmission worked.

In college, he excelled at R.O.T.C. and after graduation as a mechanical engineer, he was commissioned a reserve second lieutenant and trained for nuclear-combat as a Minuteman Missile control officer, a job he hated. His first marriage failed and he applied for a commission as a regular officer and for pilot training. The failure of this marriage and placing of his infant son for adoption weighed heavily upon him. Later, he remarried and spent three years in Japan/Korea as an F-4 pilot. 

I caught up with him at Danang Airbase, Vietnam (1970), where he was posted as a command pilot with the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron. He was now a Captain and would eventually reach the rank of Major. I was with the 620 TCS at Monkey Mountain north of the airbase. We got together five or six times during our tour. Once after a visit to China Beach his little motorcycle broke down and we pulled into a naval facility waiting "rescue" from his squadron mates.

I was impressed at how generous he was to folks of all ranks, stopping the squadron van to pick up all military hitch-hikers. Toward the end he was flying a lot of flak-suppression missions over the Ho Chi Minh trail in Laos so slow-moving aerial gun-ships could destroy enemy re-supply trucks. While clearing DaNang, I ran into one of his squadron-mates at sick call. This pilot admitted that recent missions were pretty hairy with lots of anti-aircraft fire.

I stopped by to say goodbye to Bob as he assembled with his squadron for a big-mission briefing. I took lots of pictures that day, but nothing came out. The day after my return he went missing-in-action. Three weeks later he was declared presumed dead, remains un-recovered. The information was that after incurring grievous damage to the aircraft from ground-fire they managed to make it over water (the preferred ejection area) before abandoning the aircraft. Bob may have already been wounded. His back seat man (the weapons officer) was picked up by Air Sea rescue. There had been no visible parachute for Bob. Nonetheless, this is all hearsay. A few years later I was able to name my first son after him. Bob Mirrer is still missed.

Written by Lae Gilinsky, Cousin

Synopsis (from the POW Network) as to the circumstances behind being listed as MIA:
On January 17, 1971, MAJ Mirrer was a pilot of an F-4E aircraft.  While on a strike mission, the aircraft was hit by hostile fire and crashed over water.  Both crewmembers ejected over the water.  The aircraft observer was rescued uninjured, but MAJ Mirrer's body was never recovered.

Robert Mirrer was listed as missing in action.  In March 1971, the US Air Force was informed that his plane did crash and that he had drowned.  Because his remains were never recovered, he is listed by the Department of Defense as unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.

Sources: Lar Gilinsky (cousin), POW Network and NJVVMF.


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