KARDELL, DAVID ALLEN Remains Returned 890731 Name: David Allen Kardell Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy Unit: Fighter Squadron 154, USS CORAL SEA (CVA43) Date of Birth: 12 June 1939 Home City of Record: Sonoma CA Date of Loss: 09 May 1965 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 194158N 1052658E (WG471781) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8D Refno: 0083 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews: 15 March 1990. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: NO PULLOUT - NO PARA/BEEP - J SYNOPSIS: The Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of Tonkin reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively by the Navy and Marine air wings and represented half or more of the carrier fighters in the Gulf of Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The aircraft was credited with nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam. The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were the C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie carried only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions as CAP (Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a heavier reinforced wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were used to attack ground targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo version launched with less fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and frequently arrived back at ship low on fuel. The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar fighters. Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader pilots were recovered; 47 were not. Fourteen of these pilots were captured and released. The other thirty-three remained missing at the end of the war.The breakdown of those not recovered is as follows: A/C Total Number Number MIA/Released by Year Model Lost MIA/RELSD 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 F8E 28 18/10 4/3 5/3 6/3 4/0 --- --- --- --- F8C 7 4/3 --- 1/0 3/3 --- --- --- --- --- F8D 6 5/1 5/1 --- --- --- --- --- --- --- F8J 4 4/0 --- --- --- --- --- 1/0 1/0 1/1 F8H 2 2/0 --- --- --- 1/0 1/0 --- --- --- Lt. David A. Kardell was the pilot of an F8D Crusader assigned to Fighter Squadron 154 on board the USS CORAL SEA. On May 9, 1965 Kardell and Lt. Jack Terhune were providing fighter protection for a flight of attack aircraft on a road reconnaissance mission in North Vietnam. The target area was just inside Thanh Hoa Province, about 10 miles southwest of Co Dinh near the Nghe An Province border. Toward the end of the flight, the attack planes spotted a military vehicle which they did not want to attack with bombs because it was too near a populated area. The leader of the attack planes called for assistance in destroying the vehicle. Lieutenant Kardell initiated a strafing attack against the target, with Lieutenant Terhune following. His attack was right on target, but instead of pulling out at a safe altitude, his plane was observed to continue its dive until it impacted with the ground and exploded. It is not known whether his plane was hit by ground fire or some other malfunction developed during the dive. There was no radio transmission indicating that he was experiencing trouble, nor did the pilots on the scene receive any answer to their transmission telling Lieutenant Kardell to pull up. Lieutenant Terhune, his wingman, witnessed the entire dive and was certain that Lieutenant Kardell had not ejected. He searched the area thoroughly for a parachute or other signs of survival, with negative results. 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. Fighter pilots in Vietnam were called upon to fly in many dangerous circumstances, and were prepared to be wounded, killed, or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they proudly served. On July 31, 1989, the Vietnamese returned the remains of Capt. David Kardell. For over 20 years, they had denied knowledge of his fate, even though his aircraft went down in an area relatively teeming with enemy movement. His family can at last be assured that he was dead, and not among the many Americans thought to be still alive in Southeast Asia. For many other families, however, the wait continues.