Barton Scott WadeLieutenant Commander
VA-75, CVW-3, USS SARATOGA
United States Navy
26 August 1939 - 24 August 1976
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The database page for Barton Scott Wade
LCDR Bart Wade was one of those unselfish A-6 aircrew heroes of the Vietnam war who couldn't stay away from the action until it was finished. Volunteering to come back to Vietnam and fly in combat again, he joined VA-75 in 1972 and was declared missing in action on the night of 21 December 1972, along with his pilot LCDR Bob Graustein, after a night low level bombing mission on Kien An Airfield, near Haiphong, North Vietnam.
From a friend and squadronmate,
He shall grow no more old...
I knew Bart Wade throughout my entire time flying the A-6A Intruder. Bart and I were assigned to the same training class in VA-128 at NAS Whidbey Island in early 1968. I was a new Ensign, only 8 months since commissioning, and Bart was a lofty Lieutenant, having entered the Naval Flight Officer program after a tour as an aircraft maintenance officer. We both were assigned to VA-196 at the end of our Bombardier/Navigator training in early 1969, and deployed to Vietnam on board USS Ranger in October of that year. The squadron returned home in June of 1970 after a long, tough deployment that saw four of our aircraft shot down - the only combat losses for the entire Ranger air wing.
Our paths diverged when I went to another squadron and Bart stayed with VA-196 for a second deployment. After that, although he was entitled to a (safe) assignment on shore, Bart elected to join another deploying squadron and returned to the war.
Bart was a bachelor. I remember that he lived with two other single fliers in a waterfront house on Whidbey Island that had a sign out front - "The Bachelors". They shared ownership and care of a one-eyed collie named Jack. Their outdoor deck was always good for a Sunday afternoon party in the summertime. After he had a few beers, Bart could recite long passages from Rudyard Kipling's poetry. I don't remember him ever being sad or down.
Bart was a true hero in that he chose to do a dangerous job even when he could have honorably been elsewhere. He wanted to fly and wanted to make a difference in the service of his country, and died doing what he loved to do.
It remains for those of us who came through unscathed to remember him and his shipmates.
"They will grow no more old, as we that are left grow old.From a friend,
Notes from The Virtual WallDuring the "Christmas Bombing" at the end of 1972 the A-6 Intruder squadrons operating off the carriers were heavily tasked with night low-level bombing missions. Attack Squadron 75 embarked in USS SARATOGA launched several such strikes on the night of 21/22 December. As noted above, LCDR Robert S. Graustein, pilot, and LCDR Barton S. Wade, bombardier-navigator, in A-6A BuNo 152946 were tasked against the Kien An Airfield with a target time shortly after dusk. The Haiphong and Kien An Airfield areas were well defended by a mix of conventional and missile antiaircraft sites.
The crew reported a successful drop on the target but shortly thereafter other aircrews noted an airborne explosion followed by a fire on the ground. When Graustein and Wade failed to return it was assumed that they had been lost in the target area and the crew was placed in MIA status.
None of the POWs repatriated in Feb/Mar 1973 had any knowledge of the two men, and they were continued in MIA status until the Secretary of the Navy approved Presumptive Findings of Death, Graustein on 3 March 1975 and Wade on 24 Aug 1976.
On 7 March 1986, the Government announced that the remains of the two aircrewmen were among a group of remains turned over by the Vietnamese government on 04 Dec 1985.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/10/2009