Robin Frederick Gatwood, JrCaptain
42ND TEW SQDN, 388TH TFW, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
05 December 1946 - 20 July 1978
Hickory, North Carolina
Panel 02W Line 128
The database page for Robin Frederick Gatwood, Jr
I have adopted 1st Lt Gatwood on the ojc.org.
It has been a long time, almost forty years, since I first met Robin. I had just returned from Vietnam and he was getting ready to go; from one soldier to another I think he was ready to do his part. I was already out of the Marine Corps after spending 28 months in Vietnam (1st Force Recon) and was devastated to learn of his death.
He was born and raised in Hickory, NC. The movie "BAT-21" is based on his last flight.
If you have any pictures of him please have them put on the Virtuall Wall, with any other info you can provide.
May you rest in peace my brother in arms, for you will never be forgotten.
I never knew my father, Captain Robin Frederick Gatwood Jr. USAF, I was only 13 weeks old when his EB-66 (BAT-21) went down on April 2, 1972. This was his first mission, and he wanted to be there. Everything I have learned of my father was that he was a kind and proud man. I wish I could have grown up with him around, but unfortunatly that was not God's will.
I have a plaque that belonged to him hanging in my house, stating what he felt about War. In short it reads "War is a terrible thing, but to have nothing worth fighting for is far worse." I truly believe this.
To all those that have lost a family member in any War, God Bless You and your family. To those who serve or have served in any branch of the military, THANK YOU! If it wasn't for all of you we would not enjoy the freedom we share today.
Hopefully one day my father, and the rest of those missing, will be recovered. Then maybe we all may have some sort of closure.
From his son,
A Note from The Virtual WallOn 02 Apr 1972 two EB-66 electronic warfare aircraft departed Korat RTAFB in Thailand to provide EW support to B-52 bombers operating south of the DMZ. BAT 21 was lead with BAT 22 as number two. The "Easter Offensive" had just begun and very large North Vietnamese forces were moving south through the DMZ.
Although numerous SA-2 missiles were fired at the B-52s, there were no hits ... until BAT 21 was hit while turning south to vacate the target area. The stricken EB-66 broke up at about 18,000 feet, but only one crewman - navigator Lt Col Iceal Hambleton - was able to parachute to safety on the ground.
The safety was illusory, though, since Hambleton landed in the midst of the south-bound NVA forces. SAR and strike aircraft supported Hambleton as he moved south toward a pick-up point, but it soon became apparent that the area was simply too "hot" for SAR helicopter operations. After 11 days of travel by night, Hambleton was able to join up with a South Vietnamese SEAL team led by US Navy Lieutenant Tom Norris and was successfully rescued.
The downing of BAT 21 and the subsequent SAR efforts were costly in terms of aircraft and aircrews:
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 11 Mar 2004
Last updated 08/10/2009