PIKE, DENNIS STANLEY Name: Dennis Stanley Pike Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy Unit: Attack Squadron 192, USS KITTY HAWK Date of Birth: 02 July 1940 Home City of Record: Bagdad AZ Date of Loss: 23 March 1972 Country of Loss: Laos Loss Coordinates: 152200N 1073400E (YC755030) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A7E Refno: 1803 Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled 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 in 2016. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: The USS KITTY HAWK was on duty in Vietnam as early as 1964 and had 131 combat sorties to its credit by the end of 1965, and many more through the remaining years of the Vietnam war. The KITTY HAWK was one of the Forrestal-class "super" carriers, and could operate up to ninety aircraft from her angled deck. One of the aircraft launched from the deck of the KITTY HAWK was the Vaught A7E Corsair II, a single-seat attack jet utilized by both the Navy and Air Force in Vietnam. The aircraft was designed to meet the Navy's need for a subsonic attack plane able to carry a greater load of non-nuclear weapons that the A4 Skyhawk. The aircraft's unique design completely freed the wingspace for bomb loading; the Pratt and Whitney jet engine was beneath the fuselage of the aircraft. The Corsair was used primarily for close air support and interdiction, although it was also used for reconnaissance. A Corsair is credited with flying the last official combat mission in the war - bombing a target in Cambodia on 15 August 1973. LT Dennis S. Pike was an Corsair assigned to Attack Squadron 192 onboard the KITTY HAWK in the spring of 1972. On 23 March, Pike and other aircraft from the squadron were assigned a mission near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Vietnam. Pike did not return from the mission. CDR Robert Taylor was the commanding officer of the KITTY HAWK based Attack Squadron 192 and recalls the March 23 mission: "We were on a mission just south of the DMZ," remembers Taylor. Government forces were being overrun by the Viet Cong, and a T-28 with an American pilot and Vietnamese observer also went down. We were on target about forty minutes and finally had to leave. I watched Pike disappear on the way out, and that scene, those ten or fifteen seconds, are embedded in my mind, lived over and over. I was about a mile-and-a-half behind him, saw the smoke come out of his tailpipe and called him up asking if there were any problems. He replied, 'Yeah, I've got some oil pressure problems.' We were only about twenty miles inside of Laos, and I told him to take a heading toward Da Nang. He rolled out and made the turn from southwest all the way around to the east at five thousand feet. I told him, 'If you pass three thousand feet and don't have anything left, then [get] out.' He replied, 'Roger that,' followed by an 'Uh oh, there goes the engine. Well, see you guys later.'" Pike indicated that he had to eject. Taylor saw the canopy shatter and a black object came out. Taylor and his wingman saw the ejection, but lost visual contact. Taylor is certain that something left the airplane. Four days prior to Denny Pike's aircraft failing, another A7 had failed, but just after it had launched from the carrier. The pilot was recovered. There were questions at that time as to whether to ground the aircraft, but it was kept in the air. After Pike's aircraft failed, the A7 was grounded. But the North Vietnamese were staging an invasion on the south, and to ground the A7 meant to essentially ground the entire strike force, and there was uncertainty as to the exact cause of the two A7 accidents. It was finally concluded that the engine problems had been caused by foreign object damage and the A7 was airborne once more. Of 600 American servicemen lost in Laos during our military involvement in Southeast Asia, not one was released when the war ended. The Pathet Lao insisted that Americans held in Laos would be released from Laos, but the U.S. did not include them in peace agreements reached in Paris in 1973. Since the war ended in 1973, thousands of reports relating to Americans prisoner, missing or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. The official policy is that no conclusive proof has been obtained that is current or specific enough to act upon. Detractors of this policy say conclusive proof is in hand, but that the willingness or ability to rescue these prisoners does not exist. Men like Dennis Pike went to Southeast Asia because they were asked to do so by the country they loved and served. That country, in turn, has a legal and moral obligation to bring them home--alive.09/22/2013
Lemoore remembers those that will never be forgotten
Executive Officer Cmdr. John Brattain, Lou Ann Pike, and Chaplain Brian Hamer stand behind the POW/MIA remembrance table while Pike holds a ...