Barry Martin Searby

Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class
United States Navy
07 May 1948 - 16 March 1970
Santa Rosa, CA
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USN Aircrew

National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Barry Martin Searby


We didn't get to catch up with each other in Japan but you can bet we will on the other side.

Thanks for being there.

The Mission

The EC-121 was a radar flight following and communications/electronics surveillance aircraft, a variant on the civilian Super Constellation. EC-121s from the Air Force and Navy routinely operated over the Gulf of Tonkin providing support to combat aircraft "over the beach" in North Vietnam. The EC-121 Warning Star was a large aircraft, far too big to operate from carriers, and was based ashore in Vietnam and/or the Philippines.

Petty Officer Searby was a crewman aboard a Warning Star of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE (VQ-1). At 11:25 AM on 16 March 1970, his aircraft attempted a landing at Da Nang Air Base, SVN. It was a windy day, and the aircraft's number four engine was dead. The pilot banked while flying over a concrete revetment and caught the tip of the left wing on a shelter. The EC-121 immediately cartwheeled, striking a revetment containing an RF-4C, causing an explosion. The explosion's force broke the EC-121 into three sections. One of these flying sections hit a tar truck, knocking it into two power poles. The poles were severed and live power lines were strewn over the area.

Although ground personnel made heroic efforts to rescue the 31 men aboard the EC-121 - braving gasoline and jet fuel fires and the risk of electrocution - 23 men were either dead or fatally injured.

Petty Officer Barry Searby was one of the 23 dead.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009