The Shoot Down, Evasion, Attempted Rescue and Capture of Jackel-33B

On 22 December 1972, an F-111 call sign Jackel 33 was flying a night strike mission over North Vietnam. Jackel 33 was manned by its pilot, Captain Bob Sponeybarger and its Weapons System Operation, 1stLt William (Bill) Wilson. Jackel 33’s assigned targets were the river docks in the middle of Hanoi. For this mission, they flew from Thailand, north and west of Hanoi, looping back around, flying a southerly direction through the eastern expanses of Hanoi to strike their targets. Once shot down, Bill evaded for a week on the ground – the whole time being pursued by North Vietnamese soldiers. Using the training from USAF Survival School in the Philippines, as well as relying on his acumen of the woods, developed as a young scout, Bill eluded capture for a week. Bill (and his pilot) remainder POWs for the remainder of the war.

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