Lt. Col Terrin Dinsmore Hicks – Together We Served (Joseph Shanahan)

“Capt. Terrin D. Hicks was the pilot and Capt. Joseph F. Shanahan the navigator on a reconnaissance version of the Phantom conducting a recon mission over North Vietnam on August 15, 1968. During the mission, the aircraft was shot down and crashed about 5 miles east of the city of Ron in Quang Binh Province. Hicks and Shanahan ejected from the aircraft and talked during the descent. They landed about a mile apart with a hill between them. Shanahan was captured immediately and thought he heard a gun battle in Terry’s direction. When Shanahan asked about Hicks in camp, he was told that Terry had been shot in the leg and was in Dong Hoi hospital.

Hanoi media reported the capture of Hicks, but not Shanahan. On the 1969 list provided to international agencies, Shanahan’s name appeared, but not Hicks’. The U.S. apparently received intelligence that Hicks was dead, but the nature of this information is not publically known.

In 1973, Shanahan was released by the Vietnamese, but Hicks was not. Vietnam denies any knowledge of him. Hicks was never officially declared a Prisoner of War, but was maintained in Missing in Action status.”


The site provides greater detail of the incident:

“At 0930 hours, the Phantom was struck by enemy ground fire while making a photo run approximately 7 miles southwest of Quang Khe, 13 miles northwest of Dong Ho, 11 miles due west of Ly Nhon Thom and 12 miles from the North Vietnamese coastline. When the RF4C failed to make radio contact or return to base at the time the aircraft’s fuel would have been exhausted, an aerial visual and electronic search and rescue (SAR) was initiated. However, the SAR aircrews found no trace of the aircraft or its aircrew. At the time the formal search was terminated. Terrin Hicks and Joseph Shanahan were listed Missing in Action.

Subsequent information received by US authorities confirmed that Capt. Shanahan was in fact a Prisoner of War and his status was changed accordingly. He returned to U.S. control on 14 March 1973 during Operation Homecoming. During his debriefing, Joseph Shanahan reported that after the aircraft was struck by ground fire, he and Terrin Hicks both safetly, ejected from their disabled jet. Joseph Shanahan landed in the backyard of a hut in Cu Nam village, Bo Trach District, and was captured almost immediately. However, once on the ground and before capture, he saw Capt. Hicks’ parachute on the ground, was in communication with him over his survival radio and heard him radio a ‘Mayday’ call.

As Capt. Shanahan was led away, he heard continuous small arms fire from the direction where Capt. Hicks had landed. The next day Joseph Shanahan was given Terrin Hicks’ boots to wear as his boots had been taken from him after his capture. Later an interrogator told him that ‘Capt. Hicks was alive and being treated in the Dong Hoi hospital for a broken leg.’ While skeptical Capt. Shanahan had no reason to disbelieve the information provided by the interrogator…

On 17 and 19 June 1989, the Joint Task Force for Full Accounting (JTFFA) sent a US/Vietnamese investigative team to Cu Nam village, Bo Trach District to follow up on loss of Terrin Hicks. The team interviewed a witness who stated ‘that an RF-4C aircraft was shot down over the village in the fifth Lunar month of 1968.’ The witness added that ‘both pilots ejected; one was captured immediately, the other was shot to death when he resisted capture, and he was buried near where he fell.'”

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