DONALD L. RISSI, LTCOL, USAF
Donald Rissi '55
Date of birth: March 20, 1931
Date of death: December 18, 1972
From the 1955 Lucky Bag:
From the Vietnam Virtual Wall:
The "Christmas bombing" of North Vietnam began on the night of 18/19 Dec 1972 with a total of 129 B-52 bombers directed against a number of high-value targets in and around Hanoi. The operation consisted of three waves of heavy bombers spaced several hours apart. B-52G tail number 58-0201 (340th Bomb Sqd, 72nd Strat Wing) was in the first wave and was targeted against the Yen Vien railway yard 2 miles north of Hanoi but was struck by two SA-2 surface-to-air missiles before bomb release. Three of the crewmen were able to escape the burning aircraft, but three were not:
- LtCol Donald L. Rissi, Collinsville, IL
- Capt Robert J. Thomas, Miami, FL
- SMSgt Walter L. Ferguson, Detroit, MI
Their remains were repatriated on 23 August 1978. The other three crewman were captured and released with the other American POWs in early 1973. They were Major Richard E. Johnson, Captain Robert G. Certain, and Captain Richard T. Simpson.
Thomas Moore '55 was also in 1st Company.