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Clyde William Campbell was a First Lieutenant in the United States Air Force when he was killed in Laos on 01 March 1969. Campbell was born on 26 July 1944, and his home city of record is Longview, Texas. Campbell's remains were identified and buried in 2012.

The Douglas A1 Skyraider

The Douglas A1 Skyraider ("Spad") is a highly maneuverable, propeller-driven aircraft designed as a multipurpose attack bomber or utility aircraft. The H and J models were single seat aircraft, whereas the E model generally carried two crewmen. The A1 was first used by the Air Force in its Tactical Air Command to equip the first Air Commando Group engaged in counterinsurgency operations in South Vietnam, and later used the aircraft as escort for rescue units.

The general procedure for a rescue escort entailed two A1 aircraft flying directly to the search area to look for sign of the downed cewmen while two other A1s escorted the rescue helicopter to the area. If it was necessary, the A1s would attack enemy in the area with bombs, rockets and cannon fire so that the helicopter could land.

The Incident

1Lt. Clyde W. Campbell was the pilot of a J-model Spad on an operational mission over Laos on 01 March 1969. His precise role on that day is unclear. The mission took him in northern Xiangkhoang Province near the city of Na Khang. This area was in Military Region II and on the northern edge of the Plain of Jars region.

FAC (Forward Air Control) in Laos was conducted by RAVENS, who were volunteers clandestinely stationed in Laos to support anti-communist efforts in that country. These unconventional pilots were among the best the Air Force had to offer, and saw more combat flying during a tour than any other single group. FACs had to be intimately familiar with the terrain and populous of their regions, and have an excellent handle on enemy activity as well.

Na Khang was the location of Lima Site 36. North Vietnamese forces had been building towards an attack on Lima Site 85 (some 150 miles to the north) for several weeks. Lima 85 was the northernmost site and was the base for radar and radio equipment used to direct air traffic over North Vietnam. Lima 36, the next base south, was used at this time for a staging area. Indigenous troops were flown out of this site and aircraft could refuel here.

Lima 85 was overrun and taken later on 18 March 1969. Following the fall of "the Rock", Lima Site 36 was taken. Enemy activity in Military Region II was greatly increased during this time period, and U.S. aircraft were brought in from neighboring Thailand in great numbers.

At a point about 10 miles west of Na Khang, Campbell's aircraft was shot down. Others in the area reported that Campbell was dead, and the Air Force listed him Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered.


Biographical and incident of loss information was obtained from either POW/NET and/or Task Force Omega, Inc (unless otherwise noted). Additional information may be found via remembrances at The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund or The Virtual Wall Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

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