DONALD W BRUCH - 1LT
- DATE OF BIRTH:
- August 27, 1941
- DATE OF CASUALTY:
- April 29, 1966
- BRANCH OF SERVICE:
- Air Force
- North Vietnam
Donald William Bruch, Jr. was born on August 27, 1941. His home of record is Montclair, NJ.
He entered the US Air Force and attained the rank of First Lieutenant (1LT).
Bruch is listed as missing in action as of April 24, 1966.
Synopsis (from the POW Network) as to the circumstances behind being listed as MIA:
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. Between 1965 and 1971, the aircraft was equipped with armor plate, a secondary flight control system, an improved pilot ejection seat, a more precise navigation system, better blind bombing capability and ECM pods for the wings. The D version was a single-place aircraft.
Eighty-six F-105Ds fitted with radar homing and warning gear formed the backbone of the Wild Weasel program, initiated in 1965 to improve the Air Force's electronic warfare capability. Upon pinpointing the radar at a missile site, the Wild Weasel attacked with Strike missiles that honed on radar emissions. The versatile aircraft was also credited with downing 25 Russian MiGs. Thirteen of these modified F's were sent to Southeast Asia in 1966.
On April 29, 1966, 1LT Donald W. Bruch, Jr., was the pilot of an F105D sent on a combat mission over North Vietnam. As his aircraft was about 12 miles northeast of the city of Hanoi, it was struck by anti-aircraft fire while making an attack on a target. LT. Bruch was instructed to climb, and as he did the aircraft went out of control, entered a steep dive, and crashed. No parachutes were seen and no beepers were heard. Donald Bruch was not recovered.
LT Bruch was continued in a "missing" status until 4 May 1966 when a determination was made that he could not have survived and his status was changed to "killed in action" at the time of the incident.
Since his remains have not been recovered and returned, he is listed by the Department of Defense as "unaccounted for in Southeast Asia."
Sources: POW Network and NJVVMF.
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