Hrdlicka Plane Lost May 18 '65: Seeking Information
Posted by Tim Streeter on 2/18/2019, 15:47:21
I am building a scale model of an F-105D Thunderchief 95-117 flown by Col. David L. Hrdlicka on his final mission over Laos on May 18, 1965, as a member of the 563rd TFS stationed at Takhli Air Force Base in Thailand.
David was a classmate of my fathers at St. Johnís in Collegeville, MN. I am building this model as a tribute to David, who was taken prisoner and held by the Pathet Lao. David was initially reported as a POW, and then his status was changed to having died while in captivity. But reports surfaced in 1972 that he was still alive. In spite of more than a decade of efforts by my father, his classmates, and Davidís wife to determine his status, we are still no closer today to knowing Davidís true fate, and if he is still alive.
In order to make as accurate a representation of Davidís Thud, Iím searching for the following information that you may know or can direct me to:
Photos of 563rd Thuds at Takhli
Iím looking for the proper markings on the planes during April/May 1965 when the 563rd was stationed at Takhli. My research shows that a pilot named Bill Sparks confirmed that these planes had red and white stripes on the tips of the wings and stabilators as well as a portion of the vertical tail. Iím looking for confirmation of this color scheme (a photo is attached of another modelerís work on a plane flown by Lt. Col. Thomas Henry Kirk, shot down on October 28, 1967; I thought all or most of the Thuds had transitioned to the green/tan camo design by that time). Iíve also seen a lightning bolt insignia on the tail attributed to 563rd and 562nd planes, though I know the 563rd emblem was the ďflying aces.Ē
Photos of David Hrdlicka with His Plane
I have photos of David in uniform, and as a POW, but not with his plane. Iím curious if he had a personal emblem painted on the fuselage side under the wing as seen on many Thuds. I will create a plaque to accompany this model that tells Davidís story and a photo of him with his plane would be a nice addition and could help answer some of my questions.
The mission of Davidís sortie was to bomb a road. I am guessing that he may have carried a load of M117s and Bullpups, but Iím still trying to determine the true type of bombs, their number, and arrangement on the wingsóas well as the number of fuel tanks required that day. Would there be records of that?
I appreciate any information that could answer these questions. Whether David is dead or remains a prisoner to this day, he lost his life serving his country. I want to do the best job I can to honor him with this remembrance.
tkbe@NSmsn.com (remove the ďNSĒ after the ď@Ē)