• verona
  • Essex
  • October 13, 1942
  • October 07, 1966
  • Air Force
  • RANK:
  • MAJ
  • MIA
  • North Vietnam


Eugene M. Pabst, "Gene", was born to Marion and Fred Pabst of Pompton Lakes, NJ, on October 13, 1942, in Verona, NJ. His father, Fred, was a New Jersey State Trooper. His mother, Marion Gaffney Pabst, was a homemaker. Gene was their only child.

Gene graduated from St. Brendan's Grammar School in June 1956. He then went to Fordham Preparatory School where he became involved in track and cross-country for four years, serving as Outdoor Captain for two. During this time the team established themselves as "the one to beat", bringing home trophy after trophy, topping it with the Catholic High School Athletic Association award for two years straight.

In September 1960, Gene entered Fordham University and the Air Force ROTC program. During his four years at Fordham, he continued to show and improve his abilities both in track and in the classroom. Gene also ranked at the top of his Air Force ROTC class and was a member of the Arnold Air Society. He was a cadet non-commissioned officer in charge of the Air Force Drill Team and was a member of the rifle team as well. He served as class Vice President in his junior year. In June 1964, he graduated from Fordham with a degree in economics and a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Air Force. Pabst received the Thomas Paradine Award, the coveted Silver Saber, as the Most Outstanding Air Science Student for 1963-1964 at Fordham University.

Pabst received and completed his pilot training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, TX. He was assigned to the 497th Tactical Fighter Squadron at McDill Air Force Base in Florida. On October 7, 1966, Pabst was sent on a reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam near the city of Ba Don. During the mission, his aircraft was hit by enemy fire and crashed. He was listed as Missing in Action. Pabst was promoted to the rank of Major during the period he maintained Missing in Action. He was later presumed dead in 1973.

The awards Major Pabst received include the Air Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Purple Heart.

Synopsis (from the POW Network) as to the circumstances behind being listed as MIA:
Pabst was the co-pilot of an F-4C aircraft on a nighttime strike mission on October 7, 1966, when his aircraft failed to recover from its dive during an attack. The wingman reported seeing a fireball and a fan shaped oil fire. An aircraft, number two in a flight of two, had successfully completed a rocket pass when number one observed a bright flash in the water. No parachutes were seen and no beepers heard. No evidence of the plane nor Pabst was ever found. Since his remains have not been recovered and returned, he is listed by the Department of Defense as unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.

Sources: Grace Rork (cousin) and NJVVMF.


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