EDWIN J PEARCE
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HONORED ON PANEL 2W, LINE 122 OF THE WALL

EDWIN JACK PEARCE

WALL NAME

EDWIN J PEARCE

PANEL / LINE

2W/122

DATE OF BIRTH

12/08/1947

CASUALTY PROVINCE

LZ

DATE OF CASUALTY

03/29/1972

HOME OF RECORD

MILFORD

COUNTY OF RECORD

Pike County

STATE

PA

BRANCH OF SERVICE

AIR FORCE

RANK

CMS

REMEMBRANCES

LEFT FOR EDWIN JACK PEARCE
POSTED ON 12.8.2017
POSTED BY: Dennis Wriston

I'm proud of our Vietnam Veterans

Chief Master Sergeant Edwin Jack Pearce, Served with the 16th Special Operations Squadron, 8th Tactical Fighter Wing, 7th Air Force.
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POSTED ON 5.9.2016
POSTED BY: wkillian@smjuhsd.org

Final Mission of SSGT Edwin J. Pearce

Final Mission of SSGT Edwin J. Pearce
On the night of March 29, 1972, an AC-130A Hercules "Spectre" gunship (#55-0044, nicknamed "Prometheus") departed Ubon Airfield, Thailand on a night reconnaissance mission over supply routes used by North Vietnamese forces in Laos. The crew of the aircraft consisted of pilots MAJ Irving B. Ramsower II and 1LT Charles J. Wanzel III, the navigator, MAJ Henry P. Brauner, and crew members MAJ Howard D. Stephenson, CAPT Curtis D. Miller, CAPT Barclay B. Young, CAPT Richard Castillo, CAPT Richard C. Halpin, SSGT Merlyn L. Paulson, SSGT Edwin J. Pearce, SSGT Edward D. Smith Jr., SSGT James K. Caniford; and Airmen First Class (A1C) William A. Todd and Robert E. Simmons. As the aircraft was in the jungle foothills 56 miles east of Savannakhet in southern Laos, it was shot down by at least one, possibly two Russian surface to air missiles (SAM). According to the F-4 Phantom II pilots escorting the ship, the AC-130 was in a valley a few miles west of Tchepone, Laos. The gunship was working over targets in the area. Visibility was about four miles with scattered clouds at 6,000 feet. The aircraft was illuminated by the full moon to the west, a gunners' moon. Triple-A (anti-aircraft fire) was moderate, nothing unusual, until the fighter pilots saw a SAM launch from their port side. It rose up in an arc headed for the AC-130. As the gunship rolled right to avoid the first SAM, two more were fired at it from different locations. There was no way out as they were bracketed. The escort pilots agreed, he took a hit on the right wing inboard engine and an explosion and fire resulted. As the gunship started to drop down, another explosion occurred and something large and flaming was seen to separate from the aircraft. "There was no mayday call," said the Phantom pilot. "We heard a couple beepers very distinctly, but all we could see down there in the darkness were fires on the ground." This word that a number of beepers were heard caused speculation that the North Vietnamese were trying to lure rescue crews into an ambush. U.S. government sources stated in February 1986 that a fighter escort plane reported that the aircraft crashed in a fireball, no parachutes were seen, nor was radio contact made with the AC-130 or any of its crew. In 1972, however, the Pearce family was told that an F-4 support plane traveling with the AC-130 heard "so many beepers they couldn't count them" and that the emergency beeper type carried by the crew could only be activated manually. The Pearce family took this as strong proof that a number of the crew survived. The support aircraft plane left the area to refuel. When it returned, there were no signs of life. The U.S. and Laos excavated this aircraft's crash site in February 1986. The teams recovered a limited number of human bone fragments, personal effects and large pieces of plane wreckage. It was later announced by the U.S. Government that the remains of Castillo, Halpin, Ramsower, Simmons, Todd, Paulson, Pearce, Wanzel and Smith had been positively identified from these bone fragments. They were interred in Arlington National Cemetery on June 18, 2010. [Taken from pownetwork.org and us-mil-thai.tripod.com]
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POSTED ON 12.3.2013
POSTED BY: Curt Carter ccarter02@earthlink.net

Remembering An American Hero

Dear CMS Edwin Jack Pearce, sir

As an American, I would like to thank you for your service and for your sacrifice made on behalf of our wonderful country. The youth of today could gain much by learning of heroes such as yourself, men and women whose courage and heart can never be questioned.

May God allow you to read this, and may He allow me to someday shake your hand when I get to Heaven to personally thank you. May he also allow my father to find you and shake your hand now to say thank you; for America, and for those who love you.

With respect, and the best salute a civilian can muster for you, Sir

Curt Carter
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POSTED ON 8.16.2011
POSTED BY: Robert Sage

We Remember

Edwin is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
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POSTED ON 5.27.2010

Laos, March 29, 1972: Missing in Action (National Geographic Magazine, November 1986)

Laos, March 29, 1972: Missing in Action (National Geographic Magazine, November 1986)
The November 1986 edition of National Geographic magazine reported on the previous February’s ten-day recovery effort of a four-engined U.S. Air Force AC-130 (call sign Spectre 13) that took place 80 miles east of the city of Savannakhet, Laos. This U.S./Lao joint crash-site search fielded a six-man team from the U.S. Army’s Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii accompanied by a medic and two explosives-disposal experts. Fifteen Lao assisted in the search; Laos also supplied cooks, radio operators, and guards, some 200 people in all. Ten days of searching yielded some 5,000 bone fragments, many no larger than a rice kernel due to the plane’s high speed impact and secondary explosions. Despite that, at the time of the article’s writing, the 60 teeth and other fragments helped provide six identifications of the Spectre 13’s 14 crew members.



In the above image, United States Army team members seek what can be found of the 14-man crew of a U.S. Air Force AC-130, brought down by a surface-to-air missile in Laos on March 29, 1972. While one member of the team holds back an aluminum fuselage section, another attaches a cable so that the pile of wreckage can be pulled apart with block and tackle.
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