Ayers, Richard Lee, Col

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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1969-1970, 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing
Service Years
1960 - 1970
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

142 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by A3C Michael S. Bell to remember Ayers, Richard Lee, Col.

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Waterloo, IA
Last Address
Tan Son Nhut AB

Casualty Date
Apr 16, 1970
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery - San Antonio, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
11W 012

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 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

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Aviator (Basic)

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing
  1969-1970, 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron
  1969-1970, 460th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1970-1970 Non-operation sorties/Reconnaissance missions over Laos
 My Aircraft/Missiles
F-4 Phantom  
  1969-1970, F-4 Phantom
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Capt. Robert E. Rausch was the pilot and Major Richard L. Ayers the
Weapons/Systems officer of an RF4C Phantom from the 12th Tactical
Reconnaissance Squadron based at Tan Son Nhut Airbase, South Vietnam. On
April 16, 1970, an RF-4C with a two man crew of Major Ayers and Captain
Rausch departed Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Saigon to conduct reconnaissance
along the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Vietnam as well as
the adjacent area of Savannakhet Province, Laos.

Subsequent to their disappearance, Radio Hanoi's domestic service reported
its forces had shot down an RF-4C in the Vinh Linh Special Zone, the North
Vietnamese side of the DMZ, on the afternoon of April 16, 1970. This report
was correlated to the loss of Major Ayers' aircraft.

On April 17, 1970, a People's Army of Vietnam unit radioed a report
concerning four recent U.S. aircraft shoot downs. Three of the aircraft
were F-4 and the completely burned remains of one crewman were found in one
F-4 crash site wreckage. The pilot of the fourth aircraft, an RF-4C, was
also killed. The portion of this radio message dealing with the RF-4C was
believed associated with Major Ayers' shoot down even though People's Army
forces only reported (one) pilot killed.


10 Jun 2004
by a friend.
18 Mar 2005

I have this Hero's POW/MIA Bracelet.
I wore it till it cracked.
It rests on my dresser.
You are forever in my mind, heart, and soul.

Maureen Doig Moore
03 Nov 2006

I proudly wore Colonel Ayers' POW/MIA bracelet for many years. I have thought about him frequently over the years but quite regularly during the Iraq War. My prayers are with his family.

Lisa Peacock
29 May 2007

As I hold Richard Ayers' bracelet in my hand, I think about all of the joys and sorrows he never had the chance to experience while we have had the privilege to experience ours. My very heartfelt thanks to you, Richard Ayers.

Teri S. Neff
Springfield, Ill.

On 16 Apr 1970 an RF-4C (tail number 66-0409) of the 12th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron was lost while on a photo recon mission in the southern Laos/DMZ area. The aircraft's last known position was west of Tavouac, near the A Shau Valley. The two crewmen were classed as Missing in Action and remained in that status until the Secretary of the Air Force approved Presumptive Findings of Death for them on the dates indicated:

* Colonel Richard L. Ayers, Waterloo, IA (06/29/1978)
* Major Robert E. Rausch, Hicksville, NY (10/09/1973)

Their remains have not been repatriated.

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