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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Brenham in Washington County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Lest They Be Forgotten

 
 
Lest They Be Forgotten Marker image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 8, 2021
1. Lest They Be Forgotten Marker
Inscription.  

In 1963 the United States started sending military observer and advisers to South Vietnam to augment their conflict with communist North Vietnam. By 1967 the U.S. was fully engaged in the conflict with ultimately 500,000 U.S. troops engaged in active combat both in South Vietnam and in the air over North Vietnam. In 1972 the North Vietnamese were holding more than 500 U.S. servicemen as prisoners of war (POWs) in prisons in and around Hanoi, North Vietnam. That year the United States initiated negotiations with the North Vietnamese to gain their release. These talks were held in Paris, France.

In support of this political effort, in September 1972 the 429th and 430th Tactical Fighter Squadrons of the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing deployed to Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base (AFB), Thailand, from Nellis AFB, Nevada. This military operation was called Operation Linebacker II/Constant Guard V. When the North Vietnamese delegation would break off the peace talks, the men of the 474h Tactical Fighter Wing would "saddle up and go downtown." Night after night the F-111As would penetrate the heavily defended area around Hanoi and Haiphong
Lest They Be Forgotten Memorial and the F111A image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 8, 2021
2. Lest They Be Forgotten Memorial and the F111A
Harbor and strike strategic military targets. Alone and unescorted by other military aircraft, the F-111As were nicknamed "whispering death" by the North Vietnamese. Finally on January 27, 1973, the Paris Peace Accords were signed by the United States and North Vietnam insuring the release of all POWS being held by North Vietnam. By the end of March 1973 all acknowledged POWs were returned to the United States.

This victory came at a high cost. Six F-111As were among the many aircraft lost due to enemy fire over North Vietnam during Operation Linebacker II/Constant Guard V. Of the twelve aircrews shot down, two became POWs, themselves - CAPT Robert (Bob) Sponeybarger and 1st LT Bill Wilson. The other ten aircrew who did not survive were:

LT COL Ronald J. Ward
MAJ James R. McElvain
MAJ William Clare "Bill" Coltman
MAJ Robert M. Brown
CAPT Donald Dean Stafford
CAPT Charles Joseph Caffarelli
CAPT Robert D. Morrissey
CAPT James A. Hockridge
1st LT Robert Arthur "Lefty" Brett, Jr.
1st LT Allen U. Graham


The aircraft you see here serves as a memorial to these ten men who sacrificed their lives so that their comrades could finally return home to their families. It also serves as a reminder to all who view it that "freedom is not free," but is paid for by the sacrifices of our service men
Closeup of the Lest They Be Forgotten Memorial and the F111A image. Click for full size.
By James Hulse, January 8, 2021
3. Closeup of the Lest They Be Forgotten Memorial and the F111A
and women who willingly stand between us and those who would do us harm.

CAPT Don Holley
429th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Washington County Veterans Association

The F-111A on display is actually F-111A, Serial No. 67-012, but painted and marked to depict F-111A, Serial No.67-068, assigned to the 429th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Takhli RTAFB during Linebacker II operations in 1972-73. This F-111A, Serial No. 67-012 is on loan from the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Photo by TSGT Jose Lopez

 
Erected 2018 by Washington County Veterans Association.
 
Topics. This memorial is listed in this topic list: War, Vietnam.
 
Location. 30° 10.442′ N, 96° 23.966′ W. Marker is in Brenham, Texas, in Washington County. Memorial is on North Park Street (Business State Highway 36) 0.1 miles north of North Market Street, on the right when traveling north. The memorial and aircraft are located in the western section of the City of Brenham's Henderson Park. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Brenham TX 77833, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Brenham Maifest (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Methodist Church (approx. ¼ mile away); First Baptist Church (approx. 0.3 miles away); First Christian Church of Brenham
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(approx. 0.4 miles away); B'Nai Abraham Synagogue (approx. 0.4 miles away); Site of Masonic Academy (approx. 0.4 miles away); Giddings Wilkin House Museum 1843 (approx. 0.4 miles away); Giddings-Wilkin House (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brenham.
 
Also see . . .
1. F-111 Jet Dedicated in Henderson Park. On hand for the ceremony were Capt. Robert Sponeybarger and 1st Lt. Bill Wilson, who were shot down in their F-111 near Hanoi in 1972.  They successfully ejected from the jet, but were captured by North Vietnam forces and held as POWs until the end of the war.  The F-111 on display in Brenham bears the tail number of their jet that went down in Vietnam.  The two were also honored with their names being painted on each side of the cockpit of the jet. Source: KWHI.COM (Submitted on January 13, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 

2. F111 Aardvark. The F-111 pioneered several technologies for production aircraft, including variable-sweep wings, afterburning turbofan engines, and automated terrain-following radar for low-level, high-speed flight. Its design influenced later variable-sweep wing aircraft, and some of its advanced features have since become commonplace. The F-111 suffered a variety
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of problems during initial development. Several of its intended roles, such as an aircraft carrier-based naval interceptor with the F-111B, failed to materialize. Source: Wikipedia (Submitted on January 13, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on January 14, 2021. It was originally submitted on January 13, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. This page has been viewed 31 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 13, 2021, by James Hulse of Medina, Texas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.
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Jan. 22, 2021