LINEBERGER, HAROLD BENTON

Name: Harold Benton Lineberger
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Unit: 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron, Operating Location 1, Ubon AB TH
Date of Birth: 19 September 1934
Home City of Record: Austin TX
Date of Loss: 29 January 1971
Country of Loss: Cambodia
Loss Coordinates: 124141N 1060117E (XV109035)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: OV10A
Refno: 1695
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 31 April 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
NETWORK 1998.

REMARKS: DEAD/IR 6 918 7335 74

SYNOPSIS: Major Harold Lineberger was assigned to the 23rd Tactical Air
Support Squadron operating from Ubon Royal Thai Air Base. Lineberger's unit
operated in northeastern Cambodia flying aerial reconnaissance and
interdiction missions. They would try to stop motorized sampans on the
Mekong River between Laos and South Vietnam as well as to stop vehicles on
Route 13, the main highway running from Saigon through Cambodia into Laos.
(NOTE: Air Force records list Lineberger's unit as the 8th Tactical Fighter
Wing at Ubon.)

Lineberger normally teamed up with John Evans, an aerial combat
photographer. On the morning of January 29, 1971, however, Lineberger
departed Ubon alone in an OV10A Bronco to return to an area he and Evans had
been to on January 26 and 27. They had destroyed several motorized sampans
on the Mekong close to Sambor village, a small settlement on Route 13 ten
miles north of the provincial capitol of Kratie. On January 27, they had
seen what appeared to be an abandoned truck, and it was Lineberger's plan to
go back to destroy it.

Evans took off with another pilot to photograph other possible targets, and
the two were to relieve Lineberger at about 0900 hours. As they flew out to
relieve Lineberger, they attempted to raise him by radio, without success.
They later learned that contact with Lineberger had been lost at 06:43 hours
when he reported his position as being 27 miles WSW of Stung Treng and 51
miles NNW of Sambor, Cambodia. He never returned from the mission.

Search efforts were conducted in the area for the next several days, but no
trace of Lineberger's plane was found. Evans had seen intelligence that any
Air Force personnel who were captured were summarily executed by the Khmer
Rouge, who controlled their entire area of operations. He didn't hold out
much hope, but the fate of his friend and pilot haunted him.

On March 25, 1971, a Khmer Rouge rallier reported during interrogation that
he had observed an OV10 near Kratie during the time Lineberger disappeared.
The rallier had gone to the crash site with a friend and had been told by
villagers that the aircraft flew over in a wavering pattern, went into a
dive, crashed and exploded. The source had seen two badly burned bodies in
the cockpit - one very large in the front, and one small and skinny in the
rear seat. The bodies were removed from the aircraft and buried. The Air
Force determined that the source had not correctly identified what was in
the back seat and mistakenly believed it was a body. They correlated this
report to Major Lineberger, who had flown alone.

Lineberger is one of nearly 2500 Americans still missing from the Vietnam
War. Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports have been received on these
men, convincing many authorities that hundreds are still alive in captivity.
Whether Lineberger is among those who survived and are still alive or
whether he died when his plane went down may never be known. One of the few
people still looking for him is his friend, John Evans.