BUSHNELL, BRIAN LEE Name: Brian Lee Bushnell Rank/Branch: E3/US Navy Unit: Carrier Early Warning Squadron 116, US CORAL SEA (CVA 43) Date of Birth: 09 March 1949 Home City of Record: Tualiton OR (misspelled in USG records - correct spelling Tualatin.) Date of Loss: 09 April 1970 Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water Loss Coordinates: 174757N 1074659E (YE950700) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 5 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: E2A Refno: 1590 Other Personnel in Incident: Larry C. Knight; Charles B. Pfaffmann; Andrew A. Horchar Jr. (all missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 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. NETWORK 2007. REMARKS: DWN AT SEA - NO SURV OBS - J SYNOPSIS: The USS CORAL SEA participated in combat action against the Communists as early as August 1964. Aircraft from her squadrons flew in the first U.S. Navy strikes in the Rolling Thunder Program against targets in North Vietnam in early 1965 and participated in Flaming Dart I strikes. The next year, reconnaissance aircraft from her decks returned with the first photography of Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) sites in North Vietnam. The A1 Skyraider fighter aircraft was retired from the USS CORAL SEA in 1968. The CORAL SEA participated in Operation Eagle Pull in 1975, evacuating American personnel from beleaguered Saigon, and remained on station to assist the crew of the MAYAGUEZ, which was captured by Cambodian forces in 1975. The attack carriers USS CORAL SEA, USS HANCOCK and USS RANGER formed Task Force 77, the carrier striking force of the U.S. Seventh Fleet in the Western Pacific. One of the aircraft that launched from the decks of the CORAL SEA was the Grumman E2A Hawkeye was a strange-looking aircraft, with twin turboprop engines, four vertical stabilizers (three of which were actually necessary for controlled flight, the remaining surface being added for appearance's sake), and a large, 24-foot diameter radome which rotated at six revolutions per minute, on a pylon directly above the fuselage. The E2A mission was airborne early warning, vectoring fighters and strike bombers to and from targets on the ground, as well as airborne threats of MiG interceptors. The Hawkeye was literally the aerial nerve center of the fleet, controlling bomber strikes and MiG-killing missions with equal facility. LTJG Charles B. Pfaffmann was an E2A pilot assigned to Carrier Early Warning Squadron 116 onboard the USS CORAL SEA. On April 9, 1970, he and his co-pilot LT Larry C. Knight and technicians Seamen Brian L. Bushnell and Andrew A. Horchar Jr. were launched in their E2A Hawkeye on a routine mission over Vietnam. Immediately after launch, the aircraft crew reported a fire and their intention to return to the ship. LT Pfaffmann's aircraft impacted the water about three miles ahead of the CORAL SEA. A rescue helicopter and escort destroyer were on the scene within minutes. No survivors were seen, and no remains were recovered. The crew of the Hawkeye is listed among the missing because their remains were never found to send home to the country they served. They died a tragically ironic death in the midst of war. But, for their families, the case seems clear that the men died on that day. The fact that they have no bodies to bury with honor is not of great significance. For other who are missing, however, the evidence leads not to death, but to survival. Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports received relating to Americans still held captive in Indochina have convinced experts that hundreds of men are still alive, waiting for their country to rescue them. The notion that Americans are dying without hope in the hands of a long-ago enemy belies the idea that we left Vietnam with honor. It also signals that tens of thousands of lost lives were a frivolous waste of our best men.