Lawrence W Whitford Jr.

Lawrence W Whitford Jr.
U.S. Air Force
Colonel [O-6]
Lawrence William Whitford Jr. graduated from Cedar Falls High School in the class of 1947. His father, L.W. “Mon” Whitford, was a longtime University of Northern Iowa baseball coach. Lawrence went on and earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Iowa State University. Upon graduation, Whitford was commissioned an officer after completing the Air Force ROTC program. While in the service Whitford met his wife Patrice Joan Lee, they were married in November 1953 outside of Dallas, Texas. The couple had two children, Nancy and Larry Jr. The family moved from base-to-base all across the country. They lived in places like Indiana, Florida, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and briefly overseas in England. LT COL Whitford piloted F-100 Super Sabre jets and received two Air Medals during his service. In February 1969 he was sent to Southeast Asia and assigned to the 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron in the 31st Tactical Fighter Wing, better known as their radio call sign “Misty”. The Mistys conducted classified missions over Laos. Their mission was to identify and intercept enemy supply lines along the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail. This was an extremely dangerous assignment. The Mistys had a 28 percent casualty rate and infiltrated deep behind enemy lines. On November 2, 1969, LT COL Whitford and his navigator, Michigan native 1LT Carroll, departed their airbase in South Vietnam on a visual reconnaissance mission over the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos. During the flight Whitford radioed he was running low on fuel. Whitford’s F-100 never returned to base. Several months later, a damaged plane thought to be the plane flown by Carroll and Whitford was found in the area with no bodies inside. Both men were declared missing in action by the Air Force. Later, in 1978, the Department of Defense reclassified the airmen as “presumed killed.”
Black Hawk
City of EntryCedar Falls
Conflict/Time PeriodVietnam War
Service Location
Separation StatusMissing in Action (MIA)
Specific Jobs