McKINLEY, GERALD WAYNE Name: Gerald Wayne McKinley Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy Reserves Unit: Attack Squadron 215, USS HANCOCK (CVA 19) Date of Birth: 22 May 1940 (Columbus OH) Home City of Record: Danbury CT (or Fairfield CT) Date of Loss: 31 March 1965 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 175659N 1962959E (XE588851) Status (in 1973): Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered Category: 3 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A1H Refno: 0062 Other Personnel in Incident: (none 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 1998. REMARKS: CRASH ON TGT RUN SYNOPSIS: The USS HANCOCK first saw action in Vietnam when aircraft from her decks flew strikes against enemy vessels in Saigon Harbor in late 1944. The Essex class carrier, extensively modernized, returned to Vietnam during the early years of the Vietnam war. 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. The HANCOCK was the smallest type of flattop to operate in the Vietnam theater, but pilots from her fighter and attack squadrons distinguished themselves throughout the duration of the war. On June 12, 1966, Commander Hal Marr, the CO of VF-211 gained the first F8 Russian MiG kill. One of the aircraft launched from the HANCOCK was Douglas Aircraft's A1 Skyraider ("Spad"). The Spad is a highly maneuverable, propeller driven aircraft designed as a multipurpose attack bomber or utility aircraft. The H model is a single-seat aircraft. The A1 was first used by the Air Force in its Tactical Air Command to equip the first Air Commando Group engaged in counterinsurgency operations in South Vietnam, and later used the aircraft as escort for rescue units. LTJG Gerald W. McKinley was a Spad pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 215 onboard the USS HANCOCK> On March 31, 1965, McKinley was launched on a bombing mission over Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. During the mission near the city of Ron, McKinley was making bombing runs on a target, when, on his last pass, his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed. Search and rescue efforts were unable to locate McKinley. He was listed Reported Deceased the same day. McKinley is listed among the prisoners and missing in Southeast Asia because his remains were never recovered. Others who are missing do not have such clear cut cases. Some were known captives; some were photographed as they were led by their guards. Some were in radio contact with search teams, while others simply disappeared. Since the war ended, over 250,000 interviews have been conducted with those who claim to know about Americans still alive in Southeast Asia, and several million documents have been studied. U.S. Government experts cannot seem to agree whether Americans are there alive or not. Detractors say it would be far too politically difficult to bring the men they believe to be alive home, and the U.S. is content to negotiate for remains. Over 1000 eye-witness reports of living American prisoners were received by 1989. Most of them are still classified. If, as the U.S. seems to believe, the men are all dead, why the secrecy after so many years? If the men are alive, why are they not home?