HOFF, MICHAEL GEORGE Name: Michael George Hoff Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy Unit: Attack Squadron 86 "Sidewinders", USS CORAL SEA Date of Birth: 11 September 1936 (Baker OR) Home City of Record: LaGrande OR (resided in Orange Park FL Date of Loss: 07 January 1970 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 164300N 1055100E (XD158627) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A7A Refno: 1546 Other Personnel In Incident: (none 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. NETWORK 2009. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: On January 7, 1970, LtCdr. Michael Hoff was launched from the USS Coral Sea as the pilot of a Sidewinder A7A Corsair aircraft. His mission was to perform armed reconnaissance over Laos. The weather in the area was clear and visibility was about 10 miles. Hoff's aircraft was completing a strafing run near the city of Sepone when Commander Hoff radioed that he had a fire warning light and was going to have to bail out. The flight leader could not see the aircraft at that time. The leader did sight the aircraft just as it impacted in an area which was flat with dense vegetation and high trees. The pilot of another aircraft reported sighting Hoff's aircraft below him, when it was approximately 2,000 feet above the ground. The aircraft at that time commenced a roll and, prior to reaching an inverted position, a flash was observed which was initially thought to be the ejection seat leaving the aircraft. Immediately afterwards, the aircraft impacted and exploded. No parachute was seen, nor were emergency transmissions received. During ensuing search operations, aircraft reported that they received heavy enemy automatic weapons fire. Two aircraft were able to make repeated low passes in the crash area looking for a parachute or survivor, but the results were negative. Nearly 600 Americans were lost in the country of Laos during the war with Vietnam. Although the numbers of men actually termed "prisoner of war" are quite low, this can be explained in understanding the blanket of security surrounding the "secret war" the U.S. waged in Laos. Only a handful of publicly exposed cases were ever acknowledged POW, even though scores of pilots and ground personnel were known to have been alive and well at last contact (thus increasing the chance they were captured alive). The Lao communist faction, the Pathet Lao, stated on several occasions that they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, but the Pathet Lao were not included in the Paris Peace agreements ending American involvement in the war. As a consequence, no American POWs held in Laos were negotiated for. Not one American held in Laos has ever been released. Reports continue to be received that Americans are alive today, being held captive. They deserve better than the abandonment they received by the country they proudly served. Michael G. Hoff was promoted to the rank of Commander during the period he was maintained missing.
A symbol made for memories
Hoff - an Orange Park woman whose idea led to the creation of the POW/MIA flag - knows what it's like to learn that your husband's plane has been shot down ...