Coltman, William Clare, Col

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1972-1972, 430th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
Service Years
1956 - 1972

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt John Paul Jones, Sr. (JJ) to remember Coltman, William Clare, 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
Last Address
Takhli RTAFB, Thailand

Casualty Date
Sep 29, 1972
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
01W 076

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Aviator (Command)

 Unit Assignments
Air Force Security Service - Silent Warriors474th Tactical Fighter WingTactical Air Command (TAC)428th Tactical Fighter Squadron Detachment 1, 428th Tactical Fighter Squadron - Buccaneers
430th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
  1963-1964, Air Force Security Service - Silent Warriors
  1963-1972, 474th Tactical Fighter Wing
  1963-1972, Tactical Air Command (TAC)
  1968-1968, 428th Tactical Fighter Squadron Detachment 1, 428th Tactical Fighter Squadron - Buccaneers
  1972-1972, 430th Fighter-Bomber Squadron
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1968-1968 Vietnam Air/Ground Campaign (1968)/Operation Lancaster II
  1972-1972 Vietnam Cease-fire Campaign (1972-73)/Operation Linebacker I
 My Aircraft/Missiles
F-111 Aardvark  
  1972-1972, F-111 Aardvark
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

The F-111A was first used in SouthEast Asia (SEA) in Mar 1968 during Operation Combat Lancer and flew nearly 3000 missions during the war. After repeated problems and losses the aircraft was grounded. Extensive testing to work out  bugs in the aircraft and to change a few procedures were undertaken by the manufacture and the US Air Force.

Col. William C. Coltman Sr. was one of those guys. He was an Air Force test pilot for the F-111A Ardvark and knew the airplane inside out. Attached to the 474th TFS Nellis AFB Nevada, after a tour in Viet Nam the then Maj, and his Squadron were getting the chance to do it again.

On September 25, 1972 48 F-111's of the 474 TFW deployed to Viet Nam in support of Operation Linebacker II.Arriving on September 27th.  This was Maj. Coltmans second Combat Tour in Southeast Asia. The Major was a likable guy, the men that worked on his aircraft and new him at Nellis and Thakli said he was always just one of the guys, happy, helpful and fun to be around. "Wild Bill" Coltman made a name for himself at Nellis in 1967 as one of the first to test the new F-111 Tactical Fighter-Bomber, and then take into Combat in 1968. When ask to name the greatest fighter pilot who ever lived, he would respond, " Your Lookin at him".

On the night of September 28, 1972 Maj. Coltman as the Aircraft Commander  and 1LT. Robert A Brett  as the Mission Commander took off from Takhli AB on the First Night Strike Mission with the F-111  since their arrival on the 27th.

The night was heavy with rain and Thunder Storms in the area of operations and with the F-111's mission to fly low and fast they were out of radio contact within minutes. Their last known position was on the Red River about 10 miles southwest of the city of Yen Bai in North Vietnam but close to the Laotain border. When the aircraft failed to return from their mission, the two men were declared missing at the time of estimated fuel exhaustion. 

The remains of Colonel William Clare Coltman Sr. of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvaina and 1st Lt. Robert A Brett were recovered in the Houaphan Province, Northern LAOS not Viet Nam  and repatriated on August 28, 2000. Col. Coltmans  remains were Identified in Feb. of 2002.He and Capt. Brett were buried together with full Military Honors at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia on April 3, 2002.

Note: Maj. Coltman received two promotions until the Secretary determined he was KIA.

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