Smith J Swords

480TH TFS, 366TH TFW, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
17 July 1929 - 17 August 1979
Los Angeles, California
Panel 33E Line 005


USAF Pilot

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Smith J Swords

06 Jul 2006

On September 10, 1989, POW/MIA Recognition Day, at the request the of the Big Spring Memorial Committee, the City of Big Spring, Texas renamed Eighth Avenue and the intersecting Avenue D to Rackley Street and Swords Avenue to honor LtCol Inzar Rackley and LtCol Smith Swords, two Howard County residents who are missing in action in Southeast Asia. Three more trees had been planted, one each for Rackley and Swords and a third for Major Edward Hudgens, who is no longer missing in action as his remains were returned in 1997.

Remembered by the Big Spring Vietnam Memorial.

Billy M. Brown
4015 Melody Lane, Odessa, Texas 79762

Notes from The Virtual Wall

A flight of two F-4C aircraft of the 480th Tactical Fighter Squadron departed Danang Air Base in the early evening of 30 December 1967, bound on a "Steel Tiger" interdiction mission against the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. Their call signs were Flamingo 01 and 02.

On arrival in the target area about 25 miles southwest of the Ban Karai Pass, Flamingo lead checked in with the Forward Air Controller and received a target briefing for rocket attacks against truck traffic. Target area weather was good - no moon, no clouds, and a horizon visible by starlight. As it happened, Flamingo 02 (F-4C tail number 63-7658) was the first aircraft cleared for a firing run.

Flamingo 02 approached from the east in a shallow dive delivery, releasing his rockets while the FAC and Flamingo 01 watched. After Flamingo 02's weapons impacted, Flamingo 02 itself hit the ground about a quarter mile beyond the target, exploded, and skipped like a rock for about two thousand feet before coming to rest. The wreckage burned for 15 minutes or so. There were no indications that Flamingo 02's two crewmen had escaped their aircraft.

On termination of airborne SAR efforts - the enemy presence precluded inserting a ground team - the two crewmen were classed as Missing in Action:

Eventually the Secretary of the Air Force approved Presumptive Findings of Death for the two men, Wortham on 18 Jan 1977 and Swords on 17 Aug 1979.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 06 Jul 2006
Last updated 08/10/2009