Richard Conroy Halpin
United States Air Force
San Diego, California
July 23, 1946 to May 31, 1977
(Incident Date March 29, 1972)
RICHARD C HALPIN is on the Wall at Panel W2, Line 122

Richard C Halpin
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22 July 2001

For the family and friends of
Kate and Helen

From a friend.
E-mail address is not available.

02 Apr 2003

To all my fellow countymen,

I've had Captain Halpin's MIA bracelet since I was 11 or 12 years old and I would pray for him each night. It was such a relief, and quite emotional as well, to find this site and a picture of him, why he's beautiful, just beautiful. My husband and I visited the wall last year and found Captain Halpin's name amongst all the others, surely it was a sad chapter in our history, however one we can be proud of when you think these men put their lives on the line. That kind of dedication and committment demands our respect.

I feel like I've connected with this man in some way, I've had his bracelet for so long and it's traveled with me through life all these years. If anyone in the family would like to contact me, I would be happy to send the Captain's bracelet on to them. Best wishes to everyone....

Maureen Walton

15 Feb 2004

I have also had Captain Richard C. Halpin III, POW bracelet since about 1972. If this is the same one ... I did not know multiple bracelets were sold. I was glad to see this site in memorium to our POW's and MIA's. I have always felt like a part of his history and family. Richard Halpin is an absolutely beautiful man inside and out. If any family member is interested in having the bracelet I still have, I gratefully will mail it to them. I can be reached at

E. Yvette Wilson

19 Aug 2004

Dick Halpin was a very good friend of mine. We were in high school together in Sacramento and maintained contact during and after college. He was indeed a fine man and we all feel his loss daily. If anyone wants to know the cost of war there is no more instructive example than his death. I was told that he volunteered to go on this mission after completing his own tour. He is a hero and we are all diminished by his loss.

Haldane King
E-mail address is not available.

29 Nov 2004

My grandmother also had a POW bracelet for Captain Halpin and it was handed down to me when she passed away. I know that both she and I prayed often for him, so I was touched to see this page and his picture. If any family members would like to have this bracelet, feel free to contact me.

Kristin Lee Huebner

18 Feb 2005

Richard Conroy Halpin should be honored. Today, I had the honor of speaking to his sister, Helen Conroy. As she shed her tears, so had I. I can't imagine losing my brother and holding up for this long. I truly and deeply respect the Halpin family for never forgetting their son or brother. May he rest in peace, forever.

From a friend.
E-mail address is not available.


Notes from The Virtual Wall

On the night of March 29, 1972, an AC-130A Hercules "Spectre" gunship of the 16th Special Operations Squadron departed Ubon Airfield, Thailand, on a night reconnaissance mission over supply routes used by North Vietnamese forces in Laos. Captain Richard C. Halpin, a navigator, was among the 14 crewmen. The AC-130 was accompanied by a section of F-4 Phantoms.

At approximately 0300, while attacking a convoy approximately 56 miles east of Savannakhet in southern Laos, the AC-130 was hit by a Surface to Air Missile (SAM). A few seconds later the AC-130A impacted the ground on the east side of a jungle covered mountain and was consumed by secondary explosions. As one of the F-4D escorts flew low over the burning wreckage, he was unable see any sign of survivors. However, several minutes later emergency beeper signals were heard by the F-4D escorts and another AC-130A gunship operating nearby ("Spectre 10") and his escorts. No voice contact was established with any of the downed aircrew.

At 0350 hours, a "Nail" Forward Air Controller (FAC) arrived on station to cover the crash site area and control the search and rescue (SAR) efforts that were immediately initiated. He did not hear emergency beepers, nor was he able to locate any signs of survivors. SAR efforts were terminated at 1830 hours on 30 March 1972 when no trace of the downed crew was found. All 14 crewmen were listed Missing in Action:

  • Major Irving B Ramsower, pilot and aircraft commander;
  • Captain Curtis D Miller, copilot;
  • 1st Lt Charles J Wanzel, copilot;
  • Major Henry P. Brauner, navigator;
  • Major Howard D Stephenson, electronic warfare officer;
  • Captain Richard Castillo, infrared sensor operator;
  • Captain Richard C Halpin, low light TV senior operator;
  • Captain Barclay B Young, fire control officer;
  • Staff Sgt James K Caniford, illuminator operator;
  • Staff Sgt Merlyn L Paulson, flight engineer;
  • Staff Sgt Edwin J Pearce, aerial gunner;
  • Staff Sgt Edward D Smith, aerial gunner;
  • Airman 1c Robert E Simmons, aerial gunner; and
  • Airman 1c William A Todd, aerial gunner.
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.

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