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Ronald Wayne Forrester was a First Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps when he went Missing In Action in North Vietnam on 27 December 1972. Forrester was born on 15 March 1947, and his home city of record is Odessa, Texas.


The Grumman A6 Intruder
The Grumman A6 Intruder is an all weather, low-altitude, carrier-based attack plane. The A6A primarily flew close air support, all-weather and night attacks on enemy troop concentrations, and night interdiction missions. Its advanced navigation and attack system, known as DIANE (Digital Integrated Attack navigation Equipment) allowed small precision targets, such as bridges, barracks and fuel depots to be located and attacked in all weather conditions, day or night. The planes were credited with some of the most difficult single-plane strikes in the war, including the destruction of the Hai Duong bridge between Hanoi and Haiphong by a single A6. Their missions were tough, but their crews among the most talented and most courageous to serve the United States.

The Incident
Members of the VMA 533, MAG 15, 1st Marine Air Wing, 1Lt. Ron Forrester and frequent flying companion Captain Ralph J. Chipman, a Mormon missionary from Utah, were assigned a night bombing mission north of the twentieth parallel in North Vietnam on 27 December 1972. They were to reconnoiter a road and drop their lethal pay load on any target they deemed worthy of destruction. A secondary target was assigned should reconnaissance fail to identify anything of military significance.

Few other facts could be ascertained. At 1944 hours, the A6A, designated as Tiny 05, lifted off from the Royal Thai Air Force base in Nam Phong. At 2020 hours, Tiny 05 radioed Moonbeam, which was the code for Ground Control. Tiny 05 informed Moonbeam, which was on site and were going tactical. That meant that maneuvers were to commence. They had flown into the danger zone.

That was it. Moonbeam had no other contact with Tiny 05. Since the mission was of the standard sortie variety, no other aircraft had visual contact. Fuel exhaustion for Tiny 05 was estimated at 2244 hours. When the aircraft did not return, both airmen were listed as missing.

A subsequent article in Quan Doi Nhan Dan, a daily Vietnamese newspaper described an aircraft downed by the Vietnamese. Apparently the pilot was reported to be dead, and possibly the co-pilot as well. Although this article was thought to possibly relate to Chipman and Forrester, it was not definite enough for proof of death. Both men were classified Missing in Action. It is believed that the Vietnamese could account for them.

All Biographical and loss information on Vietnam Era POW/MIA's provided by Operation Just Cause have been supplied by Chuck and Mary Schantag of POW/NET. Please check with POW/NET regularly for updates. Incident of loss information and photo provided to me by the Forrester family.