EDWARD MONROE HUDGENS, MAJOR, U.S. AIR FORCE, BIG SPRING, HOWARD COUNTY, TEXAS
AWARDS AND DECORATIONS:
Air Force Senior Pilot Wings, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Air Force Commendaton's Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Edward was born and raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After high school and college, he entered the U.S. Air Force in 1951. After serving in Korea, he was selected to attend pilot training as a member of Class 53-F. These candidates were among 1148 student pilots who were trained for duty with the Air Force. Of the 1148, he was one of 900 who actually attained his wings. He trained at Webb Air Force Base in Big Spring, Texas. After receiving his wings, he married his wife, Mary. She was a native of Phoenix, Arizona. The Hudgens were the parents of four children.
He had tours of duty at several Air Force installations and the family came back to Webb Air Force Base in 1964 where then Captain Hudgens became an instructor on the T-37 as a member of he 3561st Pilot Training Squadron. Captain Hudgens was promoted to Major in 1967. In June 1969, he was levied to go Vietnam and he was sent to Hurlburt Air Force Base, Florida where he was trained in the A1-E as a member of Class 69-13. The AE-1 was a World War II two engine air craft that was used for close air-ground combat support. His family remained in Big Spring, as the children were in school.
Class 69-13 Hurlburt AFB-1969
After training, he returned for leave in Big Spring prior to leaving for Vietnam. He arrived in Vietnam in the fall of 1969. He was assigned as a pilot with the 22nd Special Operation's Sqandron, 56th Special Operation's Wing, 7th Air Force.
Major Hudgens in Vietnam 1969
Name: Edward Monroe Hudgens
Branch/Rank: United States Air Force/O4
Date of Birth: 06 September 1931
Home City of Record: TULSA OK
Date of Loss: 21 March 1970
Country of Loss: LAOS
Loss Coordinates: 173057 North 1054157 East
Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident:
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.
At Na Phao, 5 miles SW Mu Gia
REMAINS RECOVERED OCT 94 AND APRIL 95 ID MARCH 96
CACCF/CRASH/PILOT/18 YRS United States Air Force REFNO 1576
On March 19, 1970, Captain Richard A. Rash and 1st Lt. David G. Pugh were assigned a FAC mission along the Laotian-North Vietnamese border (Khammouane Province). When their F-4D was hit by hostile ground fire they ejected in an area approximately 15 kilometers south of the Mu Gia Pass. Airborne SAR forces established contact with both men but were unable to recover them due to darkness. The next day, SAR forces reestablished contact with 1LT Pugh, who reported that hostile forces were within ten meters of his position. He requested the SAR forces place ordnance on his position and he then held down the transmit key on his radio. Then, excited Asian voices were heard followed by 15 to 20 shots being fired, followed by silence. Ordnance was placed on his position as he requested and there was no further contact with him.
Captain Rash was rescued on March 21st and reported hearing the sound of small arms fire from Lieutenant Pugh's location after which he lost radio contact with him. Further efforts to locate Lieutenant Pugh were unsuccessful and he was declared missing in action.
Two other aircraft were lost during the SAR efforts. On 20 March 1st Lt D. P. Townsend of the 602nd SOS was shot down in A-1E tail number 52-135154; he was picked by by a JOLLY GREEN HH-53 from the 40th ARRS. On 21 March Major E. M. Hudgens, from the 22nd SOS, was shot down in A-1J 52-142065 shortly before Captain Rash was picked up. Major Hudgens did not escape his aircraft before impact and was killed in the crash. His remains were recovered on 07 Apr 1995 with positive identification announced on 06 Feb 1996.
At the time, it was announced that Major Hudgen's most likely was dead due to the visual verification of his aircraft when it went down, his wife was in Big Spring. Major Hudgen's was survived by his wife and their four children, Stacy age 14, student at Goliad Junior High School, son David age 10, Wendy age 8 and Jeff age 5. Major Hudgen's remains were not located until 1995 and they were buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in 1996.
Arlington National Cemetery
In the years after his death and before the location of his remains, the Air Force placed a memorial headstone in the Arizona National Cemetery in Phoenix, Arizona, the home of his wife.
National Cemetery of Arizona
In 1987, the City of Big Spring, Texas a street in Major Hudgen's Honor. The street leads to the Od East Main Gate of the old Webb Air Force Base, the base where Major Hudgen's had learned to fly and then had served as an pilot instructor for many years. The street also runs in front of the Big Spring Vietnam Memorial.
In 2000, the youngest son Jeff made a trip to Vietnam and visited the site as to where his father's remains were located in Laos. He placed a memorial plague to his father there.
Jeff Hudgens in Laos-2000 in front of his father's Memorial Plague