Skip to comments.Vietnam Fighter Pilot Finally Comes Home (Maj James Blair White, AFA Class of 1964)
Posted on 10/20/2019 4:46:25 PM PDT by robowombat
Vietnam Fighter Pilot Finally Comes Home By Cory Angell, West Point Garrison Public Affairs / Published June 20, 2018
Lt. Col. Robert Marsi, West Point Garrison chaplain, led those gathered in prayer at the conclusion of the ceremony and noted what an honor it was to celebrate the life of Maj. White, an American Hero.
WEST POINT, N.Y. (AFNS) -- Maj. James Blair White went missing in Southeast Asia on Nov. 24, 1969. He was finally laid to rest at West Point alongside of his mother, father and brother, June 19, 2018.
His wife, Sharon Cook, and daughter, Katherine White, were in attendance. Katherine was less than a year old when her father went missing.
When we were in high school, he was always incredible at sports, said Cook. It could be a game where they were losing and the odds seemed impossible, that seem to drive him even more. Early on I expected him to knock on the door any day. I figured if anyone could make it, it would be him.
According to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, White, a 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron fighter pilot, was in a flight attacking enemy troops when weather conditions deteriorated and contact with him was lost after his first pass. When wreckage was sighted four days later, a ground team searched the area and found small pieces of wreckage, but no remains were recovered.
White was later declared missing in action. He was not accounted for until recently, when scientists from DPAA and the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System used mitochondrial DNA analysis, dental and anthropological analysis, as well as circumstantial evidence to identify his remains.
The headstone he will be buried under reads, Missing in SE Asia. His father, Air Force Maj. Gen. Edward H. White, West Point Class of 1924, and his mother Mary Haller White, are named on the same stone.
His brother Air Force Lt. Col. Edward H. White II, is buried one stone away. His stone says, First American to walk in space. He was an astronaut killed Jan. 27, 1967 while rehearsing on the launch pad for the upcoming Apollo I launch. A fire broke out in the capsule killing him, Virgil Grissom and Roger Chaffee.
Inspired by his brothers accomplishments, Jim also wanted to enter the space program and to do that you needed to be a test pilot, said Lt. Col. Robert Marsi, West Point garrison chaplain. To be a test pilot he needed flight time in combat and volunteered for service in Vietnam.
Whites Air Force Academy classmates also attended the ceremony along with veterans, POW/MIA supporters, friends and members also attended. The Air Force and the West Point Band provided honors. A missing-man F-15 Eagle flyover opened the events.
I am proud to join you all here today in honoring Maj. James Blair White, an American hero, Marsi said.
Last Known Activity Major White was the son of USAF Major General Edward H. White.
After graduating from the USAFA, Major White attended Georgetown University. He received his initial pilot training at Williams AFB. From 1966-1968, he was an instructor pilot at Webb AFB. In 1968, he was assigned to Takhli RTAFB, Thailand.
On 24 November 1969, then Captain James B. White was the pilot of an F105D, call sign "Shark 02," that departed Takhli Airbase at 1501 hours as the #2 aircraft in a flight of two. Their mission identifier was "Barrel Roll." Weather conditions consisted of a thin overcast of clouds with the cloud base at 6,500 feet and visibility of 5 to 6 miles. The target was known enemy positions in rugged, jungle covered mountains approximately 10 kilometers south of Ban Ban, Xiangkhouang Province, Laos.
Once they arrived in the target area, Shark flight made contact with the on-site Forward Air Controller (FAC) who cleared them in to attack the communist positions. Shark Lead pulled off target on his first pass and stayed below the clouds while Captain White made his run over the target and released his ordnance, then pulled off target normally.
After conferring with the FAC, Shark Lead instructed his wingman to make a second pass. James White replied that he was on top of the clouds and for Lead to watch out for him as he descended through them for his next pass. This was the last contact anyone had with Captain White. When Lead could not establish communication with Shark 02 on any radio frequency, including Guard channel, an electronic search was immediately initiated. No emergency beeper was heard and no parachute was sighted during the aerial search.
Over the next three weeks continuous search and rescue (SAR) efforts located the possible crash site of Shark 02 approximately 20 kilometers west-northwest of Ban Ban, 11 kilometers north of Nong Pet and 3 kilometers north of Ban Xaophay. A ground search team was inserted into the rugged mountain site where they found only very small pieces of aircraft wreckage that could not be positively identified as belonging to the missing Thunderchief. Further, there was no sign of Captain White in or around the wreckage. The organized search was suspended on 18 December 1969 due to the critical tactical situation in the area. At that time, James White was formally listed Missing in Action.
He left a wife and daughter at his death.
Me too. My cousin’s name is on the wall from 1970. Jane should have been shot instead of him.
No words,just tears;Godspeed.
Welcome home Major White. Thank you
Rest In Peace Maj. James Blair White.
This one’s for you:
Two-Ship F-4 Phantom Flybys/Low Approaches
Story brings back memories, frustration and anger. If you ever visit the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado there is a memorial listing all the names of the Academy graduates, including Major White who died in Vietnam. Many on that wall died in Communist prison camps. A heroic, brave effort was made to liberate some of those prisoners at Son Tay. However the strike force found the prisoners had been transferred two weeks before the raid. It was obvious that an American traitor had tipped off the communists. Instead of being liberated, some of those prisoners died in captivity.
It is galling that brave young Americans were betrayed. Yet does any rational person deny that given the moral depravity tolerated and ever present within the DC swamp, that it would happen again?
Welcome home, Major White.
Finally laid to rest back home...
I have lived with the bitterness for 46 years. About 20 years ago I thought I might be getting a handle on it and low and behold we do the same thing again in the Middle East. Will the insanity ever end?
Madame Fonda, we shall NEVER forget.
[After conferring with the FAC, Shark Lead instructed his wingman to make a second pass. James White replied that he was on top of the clouds and for Lead to watch out for him as he descended through them for his next pass. This was the last contact anyone had with Captain White.]
Did he get taken out by a SAM in the clouds? Dang.
Thank you for getting him home
Or flew into a mountain under the cloud cover
RIP SIR and Thank You for Your Service.
Prayers done for the Survivors.
Returned Home PING.
May God Bless
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