Robert Austin Stubberfield
45TH TAC RECON SQDN, 6250TH CBT SPT GROUP, 39TH AIR DIV, 13TH AF
United States Air Force
Birth: Nov. 29, 1929
North Carolina, USA
Death: Sep. 27, 1973, Vietnam
US Air Force LtCol Robert Austin Stubberfield, Vietnam Veteran, Born In Greensboro, NC, he became a native of Hamlet, NC. He was declared Missing In Action in North Vietnam, His remains were returned on 23 June 1989.
US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Robert Austin Stubberfield was a casualty of the Vietnam War. As a member of the Air Force, LTC Stubberfield served our country until September 24th, 1973 in North Vietnam. He was 43 years old and was married. Robert died when his plane crashed. His body was recovered in June 1989. Robert was born on November 29th, 1929 in Greensboro, North Carolina. He served our country for 10 years.
SYNOPSIS: The RF101 first saw action in Vietnam in late 1961, flying photo missions over the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the primary communist supply line through southern Laos, and the Plain of Jars to the northwest where Soviet transports were delivering supplies to communist troops. The Voodoo later began conducting reconnaissance over South Vietnam as well. By February 1965, the RF101 had been modified, making it stronger and more durable. The newer RF101C model, instead of taking pictures, navigated for fighter/bombers for a brief period, then returned to photo reconnaissance. The RF101C was an outstanding reconnaissance craft, and although it looked "hot" and was fast enough (max. speed 1000 mph) to leave a MIG-17 far behind, it could not race away from the faster MIG-21, and was gradually phased out and replaced by the RF4C Phantom II with its greater speed and superior surveillance technology. On May 6, 1965, Capt Robert A. Stubberfield was the pilot of an RF101C Voodoo on a mission which took him over Quang Binh Province, South Vietnam. This northern province is the southernmost province in North Vietnam and tt's border to the south was the Song Ben Hai River. The five mile region surrounding the river comprised the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). U.S. Military Rules of engagement prohibited ground or artillery attacks into this buffer zone established at the 1954 Geneva Conference, and it was not long before the Vietnamese discovered they could move their heavy artillery there and fire upon U.S. and South Vietnamese forces to the south of the DMZ. Capt Stubberfield's mission was doubtless a reconnaissance mission relating to these enemy activities. During the mission, Stubberfield's aircraft was shot down just west of the city of Vinh Linh. Although Stubberfield's emergency beeper was heard, indicating that he successfully ejected from the aircraft and probably reached the ground, search and rescue efforts were unsuccessful. Stubberfield's wife and family knew there was a very good chance that he had been captured, and waited for the war to end. In 1973, 591 American prisoners of war were released from Hanoi, but Stubberfield was not among them. The Vietnamese denied any knowledge of him.
On June 23, 1989, the U.S. announced that remains previously returned by the Vietnamese had been identified as those of Capt Robert Austin Stubberfield.
He received his Lt commission at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX in 1956. Initially he flew F86s, F89s, F100s, F94s, all in Fighter Interceptor Squadrons. He was very interested in photography and I think that's why he moved to photo recon and started flying the F101. The picture above was taken at the Misawa, Japan airbase just before he deployed to Vietnam.
He served with the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron, 39th Air Division, 13th Air Force.
He was awarded The Bronze Star Medal, The Purple Heart Medal for his combat related wounds, The Vietnam Service Medal, The Republic of Vietnam Campaign Service Medal, The National Defense Service Medal, The Air Medal with Multiple Oak Leaf Clusters.
General things going on in Hamlet
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