Donald Elliot WestbrookColonel
602ND AIR CMDO SQDN, 56TH ACW, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
28 August 1926 - 27 April 1978
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The database page for Donald Elliot Westbrook
I have been wearing Donald Westbrook's POW/MIA bracelet since 1970. I have visited The Wall many times and have left notes and other items. I have never been able to contact his family, and know nothing about them. If they read this, I just want them to know that I care and I remember him. I have never removed his bracelet, and never will. I will pass this commitment on to my children and ask that they carry it after I am gone. Bless all of the missing. Forgive the US for not rescuing them.
A Note from The Virtual WallThe TSQ-81 radar was a high-resolution radar originally used to score practice bombing runs during traing - but with very slight modification it could be used equally well to guide bomb-dropping aircraft to a release position. Operating under disguise, the Air Force established LIMA SITE 85, a combination TSQ-81 and TACAN radio navigation site physically located near the top of a 5900 foot high mountain about 12 miles west of the Lao/North Vietnam border. Once operational (01 Nov 1967) LIMA 85 allowed aircraft not equipped for radar bombing to make accurate, ground-controlled bombing runs in northern Laos and North Vietnam. The North Vietnamese were well aware of LIMA 85's potential and determined that the site must be destroyed.
LIMA 85 was subjected to a massive ground attack on 11 March 1968 and the site was overrun and captured with the loss of 11 Americans. HQ 7th Air Force undertook to destroy the TSQ-81 radar and other physical facilities by air strike, and four A-1 Skyraiders from the 602nd ACS were sent on the morning of 13 March to do the job. By this time the NVA had consolidated their hold on the mountaintop and the Skyraiders were subjected to heavy fire. Although the strike was successful, one aircraft - A-1E 52-133888 flown by Major Donald E. Westbrook - was lost.
Westbrook was flying just below the summit - LIMA 85 was located on a lower outjutting plateau - when he was hit and his aircraft impacted the side of the mountain. Although there was no evidence that he survived the crash, Westbrook was classed as Missing in Action until the Secretary of the Air Force approved a Presumptive Finding of death on 27 April 1978. His remains have not been repatriated.
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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