June 22, 2017 —
Air Force Col. Roosevelt Hestle, Jr., has now been accounted for.
On July 6, 1966, Hestle was a pilot assigned to the 388th Tactical Fighter Squadron, aboard the lead aircraft in a flight of four F-105s on a strike mission against surface-to-air missile sites in northern Vietnam. As they approached the target, Hestle issued a missile launch warning, and all aircraft began evasive action by diving toward the ground. As the aircraft approached the town of Thai Ngyuen, anti-aircraft began firing at them. Due to the evasive action, the other aircraft lost site of Hestle. Crews aboard one aircraft observed a large ball rising from the ground, though no crash was observed. Contact attempts were unsuccessful and no parachutes or distress signals were seen or heard. Due to hostile conditions in the area, search and rescue attempts could not be initiated and an aerial search of the area produced no results. Based on this information, Hestle was declared missing in action.
The support from the government and the people of Vietnam was vital to the success of this recovery.
Interment services are pending.
Hestle's name is recorded on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Honolulu, along with others unaccounted-for from the Vietnam War. A rosette will be placed next to his name to indicate he has been accounted for.
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