Thursday, May 21, 2015 – Captain John Robert Baldridge, MIA, Vietnam Conflict
Captain John Robert Baldridge, MIA, Vietnam Conflict
Name – John Robert Baldridge, Jr.
Rank – Captain
Panel – 16 W 97
Status – MIA
I wore the POW bracelet with the name John R. Baldridge, Jr. on it while I attended undergraduate school at Stephen F. Austin State University (1967-1971). That would mean almost my four years in college.
I continued to wear it until it became too fragile to wear. The bracelet is lost among the memories of time but the memory of him is not.
Unfortunately, I never met him. But I never forgot his name. The first time I visited the Vietnam Wall in Washington D. C. in the mid 1990’s I did a rubbing of his name. I did not realize the significance of the symbol beside his name until I had returned to Texas.
When the Vietnam Traveling Wall came to Georgetown, Texas about seven years ago, I took this photograph. It hangs on a wall in my office.
Since the days of wearing Captain Baldridge’s name on my wrist, with the help of the internet and social media, I learned that Butch, as his friends called him, attended Texas A&M University.
With those tools in mind, here’s hoping someone might read this, see his name, recognize some of the data in the linked websites and can provide more information.
With that in mind, here are some links that tell the story of John Robert, “Butch,” Baldridge, Jr.beginning with basic data from a compilation of sources and resources. The symbols +++ are used to separate the various sites. Yes, the + is intentional and similar to the symbol that precedes Captain Baldridge’s name on the Vietnam Wall.
Basic information and data
BALDRIDGE, JOHN ROBERT
Name: John Robert Baldridge
Rank/Branch: United States Air Force/O2
Date of Birth: 02 November 1946
Home City of Record: Memphis TN
Date of Loss: 20 November 1969
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 152300 North 1073200 East
Status (in 1973): Presumptive Finding of Death
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: O2A #21301
Other Personnel in Incident: Walter Renelt, still missing,PFOD
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File.
No further information available at this time.
From The Vietnam Letters website
John Robert Baldridge Jr.
Unit: 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron
Date of Birth: 2-Nov-46 Date of Death: 20-Nov-69 City: Memphis State: TN
Notes: Captain Baldridge was a member of the 20th Tactical Air Support Squadron. On November 20, 1969, he was the pilot of a Cessna Skymaster Observation Aircraft (O-2A) on a mission over Laos when his aircraft was shot down. His remains were not recovered. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial.
Did you know John Robert Baldridge Jr.? Did you serve with him? Did you wear his bracelet? Do you have a story of him or photo to share? If you can answer yes to any of those questions, please leave a comment, so all can know that he has not been forgotten.
This website details the crash.
The Virtual Wall
The Virtual Wall provides the best memory of Captain Baldridge. It is an interactive site that allows one to search names on Vietnam Wall. Click on the link below and see his medals learn a bit more about him.
On May 31, 2010, in Captain’s Baldridge’s home state of Tennessee, he and others from the state were honored by The Single Chair. As of that date there were still 32 MIAs from Tennessee alone!
How many others still have a status of POW/MIA? Click on the link – POW/MIA.us
and watch the names scroll across your screen.
Thank you, Butch and all the others for your sacrifice.