Eric James Huberth
20 January 1945 – ????
On 13 May 1970, Capt. Alan R. Trent, pilot; and then 1st Lt. Eric J. Hubert, co-pilot; comprised the crew of an F-4D (serial # -0607), call sign “Cobra 84,” that departed Phu Cat Airbase in a flight of two to conduct a scramble alert mission in support of US/allied troops operating in the tri-border region where South Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia meet. The target area was located in the rugged jungle covered mountains of Cambodia.
The briefed flight path was from Phu Cat Airbase to the target and back to base.
As soon as Cobra flight arrived in the target area, the flight leader established radio contact with the Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center for updated mission information. In turn, the ABCCC handed Cobra flight over to the onsite Forward Air Controller (FAC) who was directing all air operations in this sector. The FAC cleared the Phantoms in to bomb an identified target.
At 1450 hours, Capt. Trent and 1st Lt. Huberth initiated their first close air support attack pass on a communist position. As the Phantom pulled off target, intense and accurate enemy .30 and .50 caliber machine-gun fire struck it. Other pilots watched in horror as the aircraft crashed into a ridge line.
The FAC saw no one eject the crippled aircraft, saw no parachutes and heard no emergency radio beepers emanating from the jungle below. The other F-4 onsite had a clear view of the crash site.
The aircrew reported the aircraft exploded on impact with a full load of munitions on board and the resultant wreckage was spread over a 500-meter area.
Aerial search and rescue (SAR) operations were immediately initiated and ground teams were inserted into the crash site the next day, but found no trace of either pilot. Aerial searches continued on 15 May with negative results.
At the time the formal search was terminated, Al Trent and Eric Huberth were reported as Missing in Action.