Remains returned 12/2009

Name: Russell Clemensen Goodman
Rank/Branch: O4/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 19 July 1934
Home City of Record: Salt Lake City UT
Date of Loss: 20 February 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 194158N 1054257E (WG750782)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B
Refno: 0597

Other Personnel in Incident: Gary L. Thornton (released POW)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 with the assistance
of 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 2010.


SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served
a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2),
and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission
type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and
high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art
electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing
capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest"
planes around.

Major Russell C. Goodman was an Air Force pilot flying as a liaison officer
between the Air Force and the Navy. On 20 February 1967, he was the pilot of
an F4B Phantom fighter jet with Ensign Gary L. Thornton flying as his
weapons/systems officer. The team was scheduled to fly a bombing mission
against a railroad siding in North Vietnam.

At a point about 8 miles south of the city Thanh Hoa in Thanh Hoa Province,
North Vietnam, Goodman's aircraft was hit by a surface-to-air missile (SAM)
in the left front section. Ensign Thornton could not establish contact with
Maj. Goodman. Before he ejected from the badly damaged jet, Thornton noted
that Goodman was either dead or unconscious because his head was down and
wobbling back and forth.

Ensign Thornton was captured by the North Vietnamese and returned to U.S.
control on March 4, 1973 during Operation Homecoming. During his debriefing,
Thornton expressed his belief that Maj. Goodman did not exit the aircraft.

Since American involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, nearly 10,000 reports
relating to Americans missing, prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in
Indochina have been received by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having
examined this largely classified information, have reluctantly concluded
that many Americans are still alive today, held captive by our long-ago

Maj. Russell C. Goodman probably died the day his Phantom took a SAM hit.
But one can imagine that he would gladly be among those first in line to
help bring his comrades home. It's time the war ended. It's time our men
came home.

Subject: Return of Maj Russell Goodman

On December 23, 2009 GARY THORNTON  sends:
The remains of MAJ Russell C. Goodman, USAF have been Id'd and are returning to Nellis AFB on 13 Jan. The USAF
Thunderbirds are sponsoring a "Honoring Ceremonies" (my term) to take place at the Thunderbird hangar, Nellis on 14
January at 1000 hours.

MAJ Goodman was killed during the shoot-down. I was his back seat. I have more info (some) if you'd like.

Remains of Vietnam War pilot identified

Updated: Tuesday, 12 Jan 2010, 3:59 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 12 Jan 2010, 3:59 PM EST

WASHINGTON - The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced Tuesday that the remains of a U.S. pilot, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial.

Air Force Maj. Russell C. Goodman of Salt Lake City, Utah,.....


DOD Press Release Jan 12, 2010 Vietnam MIA identified and returned


 The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of a U.S. serviceman, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial.

Air Force Maj. Russell C. Goodman of Salt Lake City, Utah, will be honored this week at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., home of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbird demonstration team. At the time of his loss, Goodman was assigned to the Thunderbirds and was flying with the U.S. Navy on an exchange program. He will be buried in Alaska at a date determined by his family. 

On Feb. 20, 1967, Goodman and Navy Lt. Gary L. Thornton took off in their F-4B Phantom from the USS Enterprise for a bombing mission against a railroad yard in Thanh Hoa Province, North Vietnam. They were struck by enemy antiaircraft fire and their plane exploded. Thornton was able to eject at just 250 feet altitude, but Goodman did not escape. Thornton survived and was held captive until his release in 1973.

Search and rescue attempts were curtailed because of heavy anti-aircraft and automatic weapons fire in the area of the crash. 

Between October 1993 and March 2008, joint U.S.-Vietnamese teams led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) investigated the crash site twice and conducted two excavations, recovering human remains and pilot equipment. The aircraft debris recovered correlates with the type of aircraft the men were flying.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA - which matched two of his maternal relatives -- in the identification of Goodman's remains.

For additional information on the Defense Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Website at or call (703) 699-1169.


Memorial for T-bird, 43 years after death

By Bruce Rolfsen - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Jan 15, 2010 5:41:07 EST

Thunderbird team members, new and old, will gather Thursday in a hangar at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., to honor a Thunderbird who died on a 1967 raid into North Vietnam and whose remains were recently identified.....