Last Known Activity|
A flight of five F-105s departed TAKHLI RTAFB at 1516 hours on 16 January 1966. Their target was automated AAA gun positions in the Plain of Jars, Laos. Don C. Wood's F-105D fighter aircraft was flying as the number five aircraft, equipped with two 70mm camera pods. His mission was to photograph the damage inflicted by the strike for damage assessment. He followed every run in, not necessarily in formation to get photos.
They made one bombing run, one rocket run, and two strafing passes. During the third strafing pass #4 thought his gun blew up. At the same time #1 called and asked who headed north and did a 360 degree roll. Lead had seen an F-105 cross about 5000 feet in front of him on a northerly heading in a 20 degree climb. That was Don Wood's F-105D.
Confusion ensued as #3 checked #4 for damage. Radio contact could not be established with Olds 5 on the tactical channel or on guard channel. Olds 5 was not seen to crash, but was believed to have crashed 8 to 15 miles north of the target. Olds 1 and 2 searched the area north and east for wreckage while #3 and #4 refueled by air tanker. Then Olds 3 and 4 took up the search until dark. All four F-105s had to land at Udorn due to minimum fuel.
Captain Don Wood was declared Missing in Action as the first USAF loss of 1966. Promoted while in MIA status, Wood held O-6 (Colonel) rank when a Presumptive Finding of Death was issued on 3 March 1980 - 14 years after his last flight over Laos. His remains have not been repatriated.