Begley, Burriss Nelson, Col

Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Colonel
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
1115E-Pilot
Last AFSC Group
Aircrew
Primary Unit
1966-1966, 1115E, 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron
Service Years
1944 - 1966
Officer Collar Insignia
Colonel

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

12 kb

Home State
Kentucky
Kentucky
Year of Birth
1925
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by A2C Virgil Hornsby to remember Begley, Burriss Nelson, 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
Hyden
Last Address
Korat RTAFB

Casualty Date
Dec 05, 1966
 
Cause
Hostile, Died while Missing
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Vietnam, North (Vietnam)
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
13E 013

 Official Badges 

Combat Crew WW II Honorable Discharge Pin Fighter Weapons School


 Unofficial Badges 




 Military Association Memberships
Kentucky Vietnam Veterans MemorialVietnam Veterans Memorial
  1966, Kentucky Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

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Aviator (Command)


 
 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
13th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron68th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron53rd Fighter Group314th Air Division
61st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron831st Air Division421st Tactical Fighter Squadron561st Tactical Fighter Squadron
388th Tactical Fighter Wing562nd Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1955-1959, 13th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
  1958-1961, 68th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
  1959-1959, 1416, 53rd Fighter Group
  1959-1960, 1435Z, 53rd Fighter Group
  1960-1961, 1435Z, 314th Air Division
  1961-1963, 1125D, 61st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron
  1963-1964, 1431F, 831st Air Division
  1964-1964, 1115E, 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1964-1965, 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1965-1966, 1115E, 561st Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1966-1966, 388th Tactical Fighter Wing
  1966-1966, 1115E, 562nd Tactical Fighter Squadron
  1966-1966, 1115E, 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1944-1945 World War II
  1950-1953 Korean War
  1961-1973 Vietnam War
 My Aircraft/Missiles
P-47 Thunderbolt (Jug)  AT-6 Texan  P-51/F-51 Mustang  F-84 Thunderjet  
F-86 Sabre  F-102 Delta Dagger  F-106 Delta Dart  F-104 Starfighter  
F-105 Thunderchief (Thud)  
  145-1945, P-47 Thunderbolt (Jug)
  1944-1945, AT-6 Texan
  1945-1951, P-51/F-51 Mustang
  1950-1953, F-84 Thunderjet
  1953-1954, F-86 Sabre
  1954-1963, F-102 Delta Dagger
  1962-1962, F-106 Delta Dart
  1963-1964, F-104 Starfighter
  1964-1966, F-105 Thunderchief (Thud)
 Other News, Events and Photographs
 
  Nov 10, 2013, General Photos
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
This is a story of a hero's last mission
05 Dec 1966 
The 388th TFW (Tactical Fighter Wings), 421st TFS, Flintstone flight, departed Korat RTAFB (Royal Thai Air Force Base) on an Iron Hand (Surface to Air suppression) mission on the afternoon of 05DEC66. The target, SAM launch sites on the northern edge of Thud Ridge, in Route Pack 6 (RP6), NW of Hanoi.  The flight consisted of Flight leader, Flintstone 1, an F105F Wild Weasel 2 seat aircraft, piloted by Captain John Hill accompanied by EWO (Electronic Warfare Officer) John R Buick, from the 13th TFS (Tactical Fighter Squadron) and 3 F105Ds from the 421st TFS.  Flinstone 2 was piloted by Captain Frank Reamer, number 3 was Captain Norman Suits and in number 4 was 421st Operations Officer, Major Burriss Begley.
Summary of action
Upon arrival at the turning point to head down the ridge, Two Mig 17s were waiting behind the ridge. As Number 4 was making his turn under number 3 (at his most vulnerable position), Maj Begley called the break saying he was hit.  Maj Begleys last transmission was clear and calm indicating he had not been injured. He stated he had just crossed the Red, was losing power and altitude and was going to eject.
Interview: Captain John Buick                                                                             This interview took place in September 2018 nearly 52 years after the loss of Maj Begley.  John stated he did remember the incident as this was the only loss that occurred during a mission that he and John Hill lead.  His recollection was they were at 8,000 to 10,000 feet (normal when trolling for SAM sites) as they turned down the ridge.  He recalled the Migs were came up on them.  John said that it was unusual for a Major to be in the number 4 slot and asked if I knew why that was.  When I told him I had deducted that he was a spare, he stated that was not the reason.  He said that one of the duties of the Operations Officer was assignment of pilots for the mission, when he was assigning the pilots for the Iron Hand flight, the only pilot left for number 4 slot was a newbie Lt, that had just arrived.  Maj. Begley said he could not do that to a newbie and assigned himself to number 4 slot.                                                                                                  
NOTE: According to the History of the 421st TFS 1963-1967, only one Lt was assigned to the Squadron in December, 1Lt John R. Haack.  Lt Haack flew his 100th mission, after transfer to the 44th TFS.  He continued his military career and retired as Major General in the Florida Air National Guard.
 
Interview: Captain Frank Reamer
Two Mig 17s were waiting for us behind the ridge when we arrived at our turn point to go down the ridge. As Number 4 was making his turn under number 3 (at his most vulnerable position), Maj Begley called the break saying he was hit. Flight lead and I jettisoned everything and broke right pulling max Gs. We were bouncing so much that we could not get a visual on Maj Begley.
s plane. Number 3 turned to pick up the Mig on number 4s six. His guns jammed and he did not get off a shot. Maj Begleys last transmission was clear and calm indicating he had not been injured. He said he had just crossed the Red, was losing power and altitude and he was going to eject. We determined that he had not actually crossed the Red river (a safer place to eject), just a tributary of the Red River. I did not hear a beeper, but there was a lot of chatter. Some pilots preferred to disconnect the beeper. I dont know if that was Maj Begleys preference. No search and rescue was attempted due to the location of the crash.
 
After action report - Captain Norman L Suits 
At approximately 1552 as we were approaching our turn point to head down the ridge, I looked around to my wingman, Flintstone 4, and observed a Mig coming out of the sun and firing at number 4. I called him to break but was blocked out by his transmission saying he was hit. I saw pieces of the tail and drag chute coming off his plane. The Mig overshot in a left climbing turn and I got him in my sights, but the gun would not fire. I then jettisoned everything and turned to pick up number 4. I saw his airplane burning and observed another Mig coming in at my six. I went burner and accelerated past number 4 and his aircraft (62-4331) crashed near a wooded hill about 15 miles from Yen Bai. I was about 2 miles from him and did not see a chute.
Excerpt from 421st TFW History 1963-1967                                                      Flying out of the sun, two Mig 17s attack the flight from the rear, Capt. Suits spotted the Migs when he looked back to check on Maj Begley, his wingman flying 500 to six hundred feet behind him.  He saw the first of the two Migs already firing on Begley and tried to warn him, but it was too late.  Suits saw the aircraft on fire and pieces of his wingmans aircraft and the drag chute coming off.  Suits had to evade the Migs coming up on him.  The Migs overshot Capt. Suits and one went into a climbing left turn directly in front of him, 500 to 1,000 feet away.  Suits lined up on the Mig for a perfect upward shot at the Migs 8 oclock.  He squeezed the trigger and nothing happened.  He squeezed several more times but the gun would not fire.  (The post flight check found the gun control box to be inoperative. Providing no power to the gun.  Suits saw another Mig firing at him and he lit the afterburner and outran the smaller jet. The three pilots in Flintstone flight joined up about 30 miles from where Begley had crashed.
      
 
Major Begley was declared Missing in Action (MIA), REFNO 0542, 05 Dec 1966 and was subsequently promoted to Colonel. He continued in this status until changed to presumptive finding of dead, remains not recovered, 04 Apr 1978.  USAFHQ
Colonel Begley was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) for a mission conducted 05Nov66 (one month prior to his loss). The citation stated He was flight leader of a flight of four F105 aircraft on a combat support mission over hostile territory. Despite intense barrages of hostile fire, Major Begley successfully led his flight to the secondary target (a moving train), when the primary target was obscured by bad weather. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Major Begley, during this mission, reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force. NPRC
Colonel Begleys previous experience included combat missions flown in the P-51D in the Pacific Theatre, during WW II (1945), and in the F-84E in the Korean conflict (1952), plus a previous TDY to Viet Nam in 1965. NPRC
On 4 November 1993 A U.S./S.R.V. Joint Team in the Doan Hung District, the recorded location of Col. Begleys loss, but failed to find any evidence of an aircraft crash. The team interviewed local informants but obtained no information related to this case. Additional information from the Vietnamese Government on the (Dec 1986) repatriated remains indicated they were recovered in another location, Thai Long Village, Yen Son District.

On 11 Mar 1994 a joint U.S./S.R.V. team conducted an investigation in Thai Long Village. The Team interviewed one witness who provided firsthand information concerning the crash of an F105 aircraft. The Witness was Mr. Tieu Van Chang, a 71 year old resident and former Chairman of the Thai Long Village. Mr. Chang provided the following information:
The date of the incident was in the tenth Lunar month of 1966, during rice harvest. The time was about 4 pm and he was standing outside his house and observed 3 aircraft approaching his village from West to East. One of the 3 was on fire and crashed into a partially constructed food warehouse, about 500 meters from his house. killing two women inside. Mr. Chang also saw the pilot eject, but the chute did not open. The pilot landed in a rice field about 300 meters from the aircraft. The other two aircraft continued their flight. Mr. Chang learned later from a local NVA unit that the downed aircraft was an F-105.
Mr. Chang immediately went to the site where the pilot landed and found the pilot dead and strapped in his seat. The pilot was not wearing a helmet, yet the only apparent damage was a broken left leg. Mr. Chang left the pilot outside and returned to bury the body on the following morning. He buried the body in the spot where he landed about 1.5 meters deep. About 2 years later he wished to cultivate the field and exhumed the remains placing the remains in two ammo boxes, and reburied them a few meters away. In an unrecalled year, a province team led by Mr. Son, came to the village and exhumed the remains and took the two ammo boxes. Shortly after the crash, a province team led by Mr. Cats came to collect the pilots equipment and personal effects, 46 items, including watch, ring, revolver, uniform, seat, chute and picture of woman and two children .The aircraft wreckage was loaded onto vehicles and transported. JTFFA 

On 26 November 1986, The S.R.V, repatriated to the U.S skeletal remains they associated with Burriss N Begley.  They were received at the Central Identification Lab in Honolulu, Hawaii.   The CID were unable to identify the remains.  Note: His (our) mother passed away 2 months later, January 27, 1967.
On 11 December 1991, 4 bone samples were submitted to the Armed Forces Identification lab for mitochondrial DNA.  AFID failed to sequence sufficient mtDNA for comparison.  On 15 March 1993 two bone samples were submitted to the University of California-Berkley for mtDNA.  Results from the UCLA-Berkley were inconclusive, In November 1994 the AFDIL reopened the case and successfully sequenced mtDNA from all 4 bone samples.  Those mtDNA sequences matched mtDNA sequences derived from a blood sample obtained from a maternal relative of Col. Begley 
On 4 November 1993 A U.S./S.R.V. Joint Team in the Doan Hung District, the recorded location of Col. Begley loss, but failed to find any evidence of an aircraft crash. The team interviewed local informants but obtained no information related to this case. Additional information from the Vietnamese Government on the (Dec 1986) repatriated remains indicated they were recovered in another location, Thai Long Village, Yen Son District.


Colonel Begleys remains (13 bones) were ultimately identified in 1994 (28 years MIA) and interred in Arlington. Colonel Burriss N, Begley (Red) was buried with full honors, including a fly by of F-15s, in section 60, grave 7141, in Arlington
National Cemetery, on 4 Oct 1996.
 
 
Welcome home my hero and my brother. Rest in Peace
 
Virgil Hornsby
 
 
 
 

 
   
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