Benjamin Franklin DanielsonCaptain
558TH TFS, 12TH TFW, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
31 March 1943 - 19 July 1976
Panel 15W Line 026
The database page for Benjamin Franklin Danielson
I have worn Captain Danielson's POW/MIA bracelet for many years and just wanted him to be remembered here.
(E-Mail address no longer valid)
Maybe it was your name (Benjamin Franklin has always been one of my favorites in history), possibly your extremely handsome face or just your bravery that made me decide to choose you for my goddaughter, Courtney Harris' MIA bracelet. She will be celebrating her 18th birthday in November; I wanted to give her a special gift that won't be forgotten next week. I want her to look at your name each day with hope and thankfulness and pray that you will return to your home one day soon. She will realize that because you were willing to fight for us that we all enjoy the freedom you so generously bestowed upon us. I thank you for guarding us so honorably and showing us the true meaning of HERO. I wish you God's peace until you return back home.
"They shall not grow old,
I have been wearing your name around my wrist for almost 14 years now. I picked up your bracelet when I was in the first or second grade on a visit to Washington D.C. I have worn it constantly; it is a little bent and a little faded, but it means so much to me.
Every time I visit the Wall, I say a little prayer for you and take an etching of your name. You are in my thoughts, and your sacrifice and bravery will never be forgotten.
I am a Minnesota State Trooper. In 1994, my brother (active duty USAF at the time) ordered a POW/MIA bracelet with a request of 'Air Force' and 'Minnesota'. He received a bracelet with Captain Danielson's info. When he looked at the bracelet, he noticed that Captain Danielson was listed missing on my birthday. Finding that an interesting coincidence, he sent the bracelet to me.
I put it on in 1994 and have not taken it off since (except for a short stint in surgery. I argued that I wasn't taking it off, but I lost). I resigned myself to the fact that I would likely be wearing this for the rest of my life.
Imagine my surprise (and joy) when I heard the news that he was coming home. It has been such a part of me for 13 years that I will feel a loss when I take it off. I can't even begin to comprehend the feeling of loss the family has endured for 38 years.
God Bless you, Captain Danielson. And God Bless all of the men and women who put themselves on the front lines every day to provide the safety and security to which I have become accustomed.
Notes from The Virtual WallOn 05 Dec 1969 two F-4C Phantoms from the 558th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Cam Ranh Bay were tasked against a choke point on the Ho Chi Minh Trail near Ban Phanop in southern Laos. The wing position was flown by Capt Benjamin F. Danielson, pilot, and 1stLt Woodrow J. Bergeron, navigator, in F-4C tail number 63-7444 using the call sign "Boxer 22".
As Boxer 22 was passing through 6000 feet while pulling off after its first attack the F-4 was hit by 37mm antiaircraft fire. Danielson turned toward South Vietnam but lost aircraft control and the crew was forced to eject a few miles east of the target. Both men reached ground safely but were several hundred yards apart and on opposite sides of a river. Worse yet, they landed in an area heavily populated by well-armed and unfriendly NVA troops. The only good news was that Danielson and Bergeron could communicate with each other and with supporting aircraft using their survival radios.
SAR efforts began at once but the rescue helicopters found themselves flying into a virtual storm of fire. At least 7 helos from Nakon Phanom and Udorn made rescue attempts, and all were shot up with one crewman killed in action: A1C David M. Davison, 40th ARRS, in HH-53C tail number 68-8283. A total of 88 SAR sorties were flown before sundown on the 5th, but to no avail.
The SAR forces returned at first light on the 6th, with fixed-wing aircraft hosing down the area in an attempt to suppress the ground fire. During the morning hours Bergeron advised that he heard shouts and gunfire from the area where Danielson was hiding and that he'd not been able to contact Danielson since. Fixed-wing aircraft laid smoke screens for the helicopters, but repeated rescue efforts ended with shot-up helicopters and no success (one HH-53 got stuck in a tree and was able to break loose only by breaking the tree). A total of 154 sorties were flown on the 6th, but at sundown Bergeron still was on the ground. After sundown, Bergeron could hear NVA troops using dogs in an attempt to find him amongst the bamboo and tall grass in the river valley.
The SAR attempts began again at sunrise on the 7th with fixed-wing strikes on the NVA positions, but the first HH-53 in was driven off by ground fire. Following additional air strikes, another smoke tunnel was laid and an HH-53C was brought in, flanked by A-1 Skyraiders blasting away at everything in sight. Bergeron saw the approaching helicopter and broke cover, heading toward the river. The HH-53C crew spotted Bergeron, dropped a rescue hoist, and reeled him in.
The SAR effort extended over 51 hours and involved a total of 366 aircraft sorties. Although Bergeron's evidence indicated Captain Danielson had been located by the NVA and apparently killed in a shootout, there was no positive evidence of Danielson's death. He was carried as Missing in Action until 19 July 1976, when the Secretary of the Air Force approved a Presumptive Finding of Death. His remains have not been recovered.
The photo above was the cover photograph for Parade Magazine on Sunday, 30 May 1993. The photo at the top of this page and the ones below are courtesy of Sue T., Teresa J., and Carrie S., who posted them on the Find-A-Grave web site.
The point-of-contact for this memorial is|
one who wears his MIA bracelet.
E-Mail address not available
Top of Page|
With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 3 Apr 2004
Last updated 11/15/2007