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Name: Paul David Derby
Branch/Rank: United States Marine Corps/O3
Unit: VMFA 115 MAG 13
Date of Birth: 04 January 1943
Home City of Record: MENOMONIE  WI
Date of Loss: 17 November 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 150115 North  1083026 East
Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B #149456
Other Personnel in Incident:
Refno: 1326

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.


Special thanks go to Recongoddess for her investigation into the follwing information, which until now, was none existant

Paul Derby was a Capt in the US Marine Corps who was born in Menomonie, WI

His plane crashed after being shot and the only thing that was ever recovered was his dogtags.

MENOMONIE - DERBY, PAUL DAVID (Marine/CPT) 39W 077 (on the Vietnam wall)

Plane was a Mach II Phantom F4B. F-4B was originally designated F4H-1 by the US Navy. The F4 was later transitioned to the A-model Hornets in 1985.


VMFA 115's mission -- "Intercept and destroy enemy aircraft and missiles under all weather conditions, and attack and destroy surface targets and conduct other such operations as may be directed."

They routinely deploy to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan

The unit VMFA 115 were known as the Able Eagles during Vietnam.

History about VMFA 115 :

The "Able Eagles" were deployed to Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, Oct.14, 1965. From Da Nang, the Squadron provided missions such as interdiction, landing zone preparation, helo escort, and close air support for numerous U.S. Army, Marine, and South Korean ground units proving its determination to support ground forces engaged with the enemy. Serving from bases such as Udorn Airbase, Thailand, to the "Rose Garden" in Nam Phong, the Squadron participated in such battles as the Tet Offensive, Hue City, Khe San, and Task Force Delta.

During the Vietnam War, VMFA-115 flew more than 34,000 combat sorties, at a cost of 14 aircraft lost, 21 aircrew killed in action, and six Marines killed in action, as a result of enemy rocket attacks on the airfield. Despite these losses, the "Able Eagles" accomplished a 10,000 hour accident-free milestone in combat, and were awarded the Hanson Trophy in 1971 by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Additionally, the squadron was recognized for its third and fourth Presidential Unit Citations, three Navy Unit Commendations, and one Meritorious Unit Commendation for its exemplary and heroic dedication to duty in Southeast Asia from October 1965 to August 1973.

During the Vietnam conflict, 72 Marine F-4Bs were lost in combat (one to a MiG, 65 to AAA, and six to mortar or sapper attacks on their bases) and 23 others were destroyed in operational accidents.


*Info about the pic of his plane I have on file : This F-4B was shot down during a close air support mission in south Vietnam. Pilot Capt. Paul D Derby and RIO 1Lt Thomas A Reich were killed. It was took a waiting an engine test at NAS Atsugi on October 10, 1968. Many Marine F-4Bs flew to NAS Atsugi these days for the repair. They came back to the battlefield again in about two weeks.


served in Quang Ngai, South Vietnam

Chu Li in MAG 13 ?...misc. notes that I wanted to write downstill working on this one tid bit


Fire support in Vietnam for the 1st Battalion 6th Infantry from the United States Air Force and Marines came in several forms: (1) close air support (CAS) for troops on the ground in contact with the enemy; (2) pre-planned air strikes; (3) "Daisy Cutter" blasts to create small landing zones for helicopters; and (4) so-called "beacon drops" through cloud cover when troops were not nearby. Although the famous B-52 "Arc Light" strikes could be heard in the distance from the 1st Bn 6th Inf tactical area of operations, those earth-shaking missions were targeted at enemy concentrations many miles away to the west.

(1) Close Air Support (CAS) also known as Tac Air. Air support was available for many years in the Quang Ngai and Quang Nam provinces of South Vietnam from the air base at Chu Lai. Marine Air Groups 12 and 13 of the 1st Marine Air Wing provided support. For additional details about air support from the Chu Lai facility



Casualty Record for Paul David Derby

(Click here for help with decoding this information)


Home Menomonie, Wisconsin

Birth Date 1943-01-04

Sex- Male

Race- Caucasian

Married/Single -Married

Religion- Roman Catholic

Citizen- Yes


Service Marine Corps

Rank- CPT

Serial Number- 092335

Component- Reserve

Grade- O3

MOS- 7521

Length of Service- 06

Start of Tou-r 1968-11-17


Casualty Date- 1968-11-17

Casualty Type- Hostile, Died

Reason Air Loss, Crash - Land

Air or Ground Fixed Wing - Pilot

Country- South Vietnam

Province- Quang Ngai

Posthumous- Promotion No change

Body Recovered- Body not recovered

Location on The Wall Panel 39W - Row 077

RefNo 9777

Processed Date 6811


**info about his flight officer : Reich, Thomas Alan (Pennsylvania State 1966) - USMC naval flight officer, died 11-17-1968


CLEONA - REICH, THOMAS ALAN (Marine/1LT) 38W 004 (on the Vietnam wall)

REICH THOMAS ALAN 1LT O2 M 19440201 19681117 CLEONA PA 38W 004


Casualty Record for Thomas Alan Reich

(Click here for help with decoding this information)


Home Cleona, Pennsylvania

Birth Date 1944-02-01

Sex- Male

Race- Caucasian

Married/Single- Single

Religion Protestant - No Preference

Citizen- Yes


Service Marine Corps

Rank- 1LT

Serial Numbe-r 0101415

Componen-t Reserve

Grade- O2

MOS- 7582

Length of Service- 02

Start of Tour 1968-09-24


Casualty Date 1968-11-17

Casualty Type Hostile, Died

Reason Air Loss, Crash - Land

Air or Ground Fixed Wing - Crew

Country- South Vietnam

Province- Quang Ngai

Posthumous Promotion- No change

Body Recovered- Body recovered

Location on The Wall Panel 38W - Row 004

RefNo 9778

Processed Date 6811


**info about a helicopter pilot that died while searching/reconning the area of the down pilots:

SP5 Wayne A. Tice

03 Apr 48

18 Nov 68

Gallup NM


On 18 November, while reconning an area where a USMC F-4 had been shot down and the pilots were still missing, Dolphin 428 came under enemy fire. The ship took more than 15 hits. Although critically wounded, SP5 Tice, the crewchief, returned fire until the aircraft was out of the area. Tice was medevaced to Chu Lai, but later died of wounds. In recognition of gallantry, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, posthumously. John O'Sullivan was the aircraft commander and the copilot was "Smokey" Grykin. Source: 174th historical document for Operation Vernon Lake II, 1 November 1968 to 31 Dec 1968 provided to Fred Thompson by John O' Sullivan (May 1991).

Wayne Tice on left and Carl Martin on right. Notice bandage on Tice's arm. He was wounded that day while flying with John O'Sullivan. This photo depicts our drunken celebration of Wayne "cheating death". Wayne's wound was not bad enough for him to be grounded. Horrorably enough, he flew the next day and was KIA. See the details of Wayne's lose at Crew Losses Page.

*Journal entry notes from a soldier*


LZ Dragon was hit with mortar rounds. This was part of a coordinated attack against fixed installations in Quang Ngai Province that included ground attacks against LZ Snoopy, the Binh Son District Headquarters, the Nui Dop (?) Outpost, Quan Lac Hamlet, and the Phu Lac Refugee Camp.



Combat assault from a Special Forces Camp to a landing zone a considerable distance away to search for a downed USMC F4. The Special Forces Camp is probably CIDG A-104 at Ha Thanh. The downed F4, tail number not identified, is almost certainly the jet downed Nov 18 which resulted in the death of SP5 Wayne A. Tice from the 174 AHC while searching for the pilots on board Dolphin 428.


"Those who would trade Freedom for security, deserve neither."