COSKEY, KENNETH LEON
RIP June 29, 2013
Name: Kenneth Leon Coskey
Rank/Branch: O5/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 25, USS AMERICA (CVA 66)
Date of Birth: 26 December 1929
Home City of Record: Detroit MI
Date of Loss: 06 September 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 183900N 1054300E (WF755620)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 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: 730314 RELSD BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: Commander Kenneth L. Coskey was a pilot assigned to Attack
Squadron 85 onboard the aircraft carrier, USS AMERICA. On September 6, 1968,
Cdr. Coskey launched in his A6A Intruder on a night armed reconnaissance
mission over North Veitnam. On approach to the target area, anti-aircraft
artillery resistance was encountered. His aircraft sustained a direct hit.
Neither Captain Coskey or his backseater sustained any injuries from the
hit. Coskey then lost control of the aircraft and ordered and ejection. The
aircraft crashed on an island in the Song Ca River, southeast of the city of
Search and rescue efforts were immediately initiated upon receipt of the
emergency signal from Cdr. Coskey's aircraft. The crewmember of the first
two aircraft to arrive at the scene of the crash heard the distress signals
(beepers) which were presumed to be radiating from the portable radio sets
carried by both crewmembers. Both of these aircraft established voice radio
contact with Cdr. Coskey at which time he reported that he was in dense
underbrush and had twisted either his leg or his ankle. He further reported
that he would work his way toward the eastern end of the island toward the
site of the downed aircraft.
As the rescue helicopter approached the area where Cdr. Coskey was believed
to be located, the search lights were turned on. Cdr. Coskey had previously
beentold that the rescue helicopter was on the way and that he should try to
turn on his strobe light to assist in pinpointing his location. Three
figures were observed standing near the crash site but due to distance and
darkness, these figures could not be identified. The helicopter encountered
ground fire from small arms weapons and was forced to depart without having
found Cdr. Coskey.
U.S. Navy public records on the incident of Cdr. Coskey do not indicate the
name or the fate of the crewman, but Cdr. Coskey is the only man ever listed
missing on September 1968 from an Intruder aircraft. It is assumed,
therefore, that the backseater was rescued.
The U.S. was not sure what happened to Cdr. Coskey. He was known to be alive
and slightly injured when last seen. He was declared Missing in Action.
On October 31, 1968, Coskey's status was changed to Prisoner of War. He had
been captured by the North Vietnamese and for the next five years, was held
in various prisoner of war camps in North Vietnam. He was released in
Operation Homecoming on March 14, 1973.
Coskey was one of the lucky ones. Scores of individuals who remain missing
were last seen in situations similar to his -- alive and well on the ground,
enemy approaching. Others were actually photographed in captivity but never
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing,
prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S.
Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive
today. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned
American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return
unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the
honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly
held. It's time we brought our men home.
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret),
Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original
publication (including date and spelling errors).
KENNETH L. COSKEY Captain- United States Navy
Shot down: September 6, 1968
Released: March 14, 1973
My last tour of duty was as Commanding Officer of an A-85 off the U.S.S.
America. I was shot down in September 1968.
I have a BS degree from Naval Postgraduate School at Monterey, California. I
plan to go to school for a time to complete a Master's degree and then
continue my Navy career. I was selected for Captain on the last list.
My Message: Thanks to all in America for their thoughts hopes prayers and
many kindnesses to us during our time in Hanoi and since our return. I will
be ever grateful and will never forget it.
Kenneth Coskey retired from the United States Navy as a Captain. He and his
wife Rosemary resided in Virginia until his death.
Former Vietnam Prisoner of War and ex-Naval Historical Center Deputy
Captain Ken Coskey, USN (Ret.) passed away Saturday, June 29th, at the
Living Facility where he lived. Funeral plans for Arlington National
still pending. I'll provide the details when known. He had been in
throughout the year. His photo (before capture, on release in 1973) is
on the banner
above our new POW exhibit in the Cold War Gallery (attached).
The Captain Ken Coskey Naval History Prize is sponsored by the Naval
Foundation as a National History Day prize. Ken Coskey served his nation
distinction throughout a long career including nearly five years as a
POW. During his fifteen years in leadership roles at the Naval
(79-82) and the Naval Historical Foundation (87-99), he became a strong
of National History Day. The award is given to the best entry on naval
Naval Historical Foundation