Richard Milton Cole, Jr
The database page for Richard Milton Cole, Jr
YOU ARE GREATLY LOVED AND MISSED, AND YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN! YOU ARE NOT 'JUST A NAME ON A WALL' YOU HAVE BEEN IN MY THOUGHTS DAY AND NIGHT FOR 29 YEARS, AND YOU WILL ALWAYS BE MY "KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR." A MAN IS NOT DEAD UNTIL HE IS FORGOTTEN, NONE OF YOU WILL EVER BE FORGOTTEN, AND I WILL FIGHT FOR THE TRUTH UNTIL MY DYING BREATH!
I LOVE YOU, MY KNIGHT!
My complete memorial to Dick Cole is located at
The MissionThe 16th Special Operations Squadron, based at Ubon, Thailand, flew the AC-130 SPECTRE gunship. On the night of 18 June 1972, an AC-130A Spectre gunship (tail number 55-0043, call sign "Spectre 11") launched on a night armed reconnaissance mission to attack NVA along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The crew consisted of 15 men:
At least three men were thrown clear of the aircraft as it broke up and parachuted safely to the ground. SAR efforts were begun at daybreak and Capt. Bocher, 2nd Lt. Reid and SSgt. Patterson were successfully picked up. The three men are reported to have stated, during debrief, that they saw at least one additional parachute.
Although the SAR efforts continued for six days, no trace of the rest of the crew was found. No ground search was possible due to the intense enemy presence in the region. When the formal search was terminated, the remaining 12 crewmen were declared Missing in Action.
At this point, matters become less certain. There were reports that some of the Spectre 11 crewmen had been captured, but in a 12 November 1993 letter Major General Thomas H. Needham, then Commander, Joint Task Force - Full Accounting, states that
"4. In June 1993, a joint investigation team located two witnesses who produced dog tags relating to two individuals (Harrison, Wilson) involved in this incident, along with three flight helmets. The team photographed the dog tags and helmets which were retained by the witnesses. The team traveled to the crash site and conducted a survey. During the survey, the team recovered portions of a flight suit and survival vest. The team also observed the tail assembly from a C-130 aircraft.The US government holds that the remains recovered and other evidence is sufficient evidence that the twelve men died in the crash. Three of the crewmen were identified individually from the recovered remains - Maj. Gerald F. Ayers, Capt. Mark Danielson, and Senior Master Sgt. Jacob Mercer. On 17 November 1994, a group burial of the co-mingled remains of the AC-130A Spectre gunship crew was held at Arlington National Cemetery.
However, as pointed out on Beverly Haire's site, there may well be unanswered questions. Additional information can be found on the
Richard Cole served his country faithfully and was lost in that service.
That undisputed fact is sufficient to demand that we remember him.
A memorial from one who remembers,|
25 Sep 1999
(Updated 31 Dec 2001)
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)