ASHALL, ALAN FREDERICK
Name: Alan Frederick Ashall
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy Reserves
Unit: Attack Squadron 85, USS AMERICA (CVA 60)
Date of Birth: 06 June 1943
Home City of Record: Billings MT
Date of Loss: 29 August 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 185300N 1052300E
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: Robert R. Duncan (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.
REMARKS: SURVIVAL UNLIKELY
SYNOPSIS: Lt.JG Robert R. Duncan was a pilot and Lt.JG Alan F. Ashall a
bombardier/navigator assigned to Attack Squadron 85 onboard the aircraft
carrier USS AMERICA (CVA 60). On August 29, 1968 he launched from the
aircraft carrier in their A6B Intruder on an armed reconnaissance mission in
the Vinh Son area of North Vietnam.
Duncan and Ashall launched at 1:00 a.m. and proceeded to their assigned
station. Three surface-to-air missiles (SAM) were observed in the area. A
transmission was received from the aircraft reporting that they were
experiencing radion trouble, and then a transmission that sounded like,
"SAMs in the air" followed by "We shot a missile" or "I got a missile". No
distress signals were received and efforts to contact them were
Search and rescue efforts were initiated immediately, but the results were
negative. There was a large fireball observed on the ground in the vicinity
where the aircraft disappeared. It was suspected that the aircraft took a
direct or disabling hit by one of the three SAMs or collided with the
terrain while attempting to avoid the enemy fire.
Duncan and Ashall were classified Missing in Action. The Defense
Intelligence Agency further expanded their classification to include an
enemy knowledge ranking of 2. Category 2 indicates "suspect knowledge" and
includes personnel who may have been involved in loss incidents with
individuals reported in Category 1 (confirmed knowledge), or who were lost
in areas or under conditions that they may reasonably be expected to be
known by the enemy; who were connected with an incident which was discussed
but not identified by names in enemy news media; or identified (by
elimination, but not 100% positively) through analysis of all-source
The Commander of the Seventh Fleet, Vice Admiral William F. Bringle,
acknowledged that the missions required of the A6 pilots over North Vietnam
were among "the most demanding missions we have ever asked our aircrews to
fly." However, he added, "there is an abundance of talent, courage and
aggressive leadership" in the A6 squadrons.
Now, nearly 20 years later, men like Duncan and Ashall are all but forgotten
except by friends, family and fellow veterans. The U.S. "priority" placed on
determining their fates pales in comparison to the results it has achieved.
Since Duncan and Ashall went down, nearly 10,000 reports have been received
by the U.S. relating to Americans who are still prisoner, missing or
unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Many officials who have seen this largely
classified information are now convinced that hundreds of Americans are
still alive in captivity. Whether Duncan and Ashall are among them is not
known. What is certain, however, is that we, as a nation, are guilty of the
abandonment of nearly 2500 of our best and most courageous men. We cannot
forget, and must do everything in our power to bring these men home.
Let me inform you for the record, that US Navy Lt. Robert Ray Duncan and Lt.
Alan F. Ashall (M.I.A. since August 29, 1968) most probably have been
killed, when their A6B Intruder was shut down on the same date by
Soviet-made surface-to-air missile, launched by servicemen of the Soviet MAG
Vietnam. The aircraft exploded immediately after the wreck.
Here is the flight plan, picked up from the crash site:
In case if there is no other account on their life or death after
29.08.1968, let me convey my deep condolences to their families and
On behalf of the Soviet veterans of the Vietnam War
Sincerely, George Serdechny