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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 158691
Last updated: 24 May 2020
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Type:Silhouette image of generic A6 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Grumman A-6A Intruder
Owner/operator:VMA(AW)-533 USMC
Registration: 154166
C/n / msn: I-301
Fatalities:Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 2
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:10 miles NW of Thon Cam Son, Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam -   Vietnam
Phase: Combat
Departure airport:Chu Lai AB, near Tam Kỳ city, Quảng Nam Province, South Vi
Destination airport:Chu Lai AB, near Tam Kỳ city, Quảng Nam Province, South Vi
A-6A Intruder BuNo. 154166 (Call Sign HELLBORN 20) of VMA(AW)‑533, MAG‑12, USMC, based at Chu Lai Air Base. Lost on combat operations July 25 1968: Hit by 37 mm flak about 10 miles northwest of Thon Cam Son, Dong Hoi, Quang Vinh Province, North Vietnam while on armed reconnaissance sortie just north of the DMZ

Both crew - Major Curtis G Lawson (pilot) and 1st Lt Paul Gordon Brown - ejected. Aircraft reportedly disappeared off Gel radarscope at 21:30 hours at approximate Coordinates: 17'14.00" North 100'51.00" East. No radio transmissions received from aircraft. Major Lawson rescued by HH-53 JOLLY GREEN GIANT helicopter, on 26 July 1968. 1st Lt Brown captured, taken POW. Brown would initially be recorded as MIA, but was actually made a PoW and returned to the USA in 1973. According to a published testimony from 1st Lt Brown:

"I was assigned to VMA(AW)-533 in Chu Lai...A-6As. I was the Bombardier/Navigator for a night road recce on Jul 25, 1968. We were hunting trucks along Highway 1 in North Vietnam from the DMZ to Dong Hoi. We were shot down near Delta 55 around 21:30 hours. The right engine exploded, the aircraft was on fire and descending; I ejected passing 1000 feet going down. The A-6A had separate ejection systems.

I came down near a triple AA site. With my aircraft burning in a column of orange fire less than a mile away, I looked for Major Lawson's parachute between me and the fire. I didn't see it. I broke my back on the ejection and was nicked on the arm by rifle fire on the way down. I did everything that seemed reasonable at the time...field packed my chute and hid it, moved away from my landing spot, fell into a ravine and was knocked unconscious, and found a dense clump of bamboo trees to hide in.

There were people searching for me all night...with dogs. There was no aircraft overhead after we were bagged all night. There was no emergency 243.0 traffic from my pilot or anyone else all night. In fact, I was very concerned that a radio broadcast would give away my position.

The villagers must have followed my boot prints and/or blood trail to the bamboo stand. At first light, my position was discovered. I broke the antenna of the pocket radio and buried it as I slowly got to my feet. On the way to the nearby village, stripped and under guard of 10 villagers, a F-100 went overhead at low altitude...probably 1,000 feet. Gutsy move!

Later that afternoon while I was bound in an underground cave, I heard a small war going on to the East of this village. I didn't have a watch but would guess it was mid-afternoon. That was the extraction of Major Lawson...I learned when I returned to the USA and met him again.

Major Lawson was VERY fortunate! The Jolly Greens, A-1 Spads and Fast FACs men should be getting a case of good scotch from Maj. Lawson every Christmas".


1. A-6 Intruder Units of the Vietnam War By Rick Morgan

Revision history:

20-Aug-2013 08:33 Uli Elch Added
20-Aug-2013 08:50 Uli Elch Updated [Date, Registration, Cn, Operator, Total fatalities, Location, Narrative]
19-Mar-2016 23:43 Dr.John Smith Updated [Time, Operator, Other fatalities, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
19-Mar-2016 23:46 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
19-Mar-2016 23:49 Dr.John Smith Updated [Narrative]
27-Dec-2019 15:06 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Operator]

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