5 December 1956 – A Northrop XSM-62 Snark, 53-8172, N-69D test model, fitted with a new 24-hour stellar inertial guidance system, launches from Cape Canaveral Missile Test Annex, Florida. It wanders off-course, ignores destruct command, disappears over Brazil. It is found by a farmer in January 1983. The Day They Lost the Snark By J.
William Ray Gower - KIA
“Capt. Billy Ray Gower began his Air Force career as a radar observer before entering flight school. Capt. Gower became a B-47 bomber pilot with the Strategic Air Command, where he remained from 1960 until… he was transferred to Luke AFB near Phoenix, Ariz., for fighter training in the F100.
Gower, a graduate of Marshfield High School, was well known as an athlete, and had tried out with a Cincinnati Reds farm team before joining the Air Force. He is a former Southwest Missouri State College student.”(1)
On July 29, 1966, Capt’ Gower’s F-100 was hit by multiple ground file about 25 miles west of Saigon and he perished. It was his first tour in Vietnam and his third mission.
“At the time of his death Capt. Gower was married with three children: a son, and two daughters.” (1)
William is buried at Marshfield Cemetery, Marshfield, Webster County, MO, and is honored on the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC. Name inscribed at VVM Wall, Panel 09e, Line 87.
(1) The Leader & Press, Springfield, MO, Tuesday, August 2, 1966