PARKER, JOHN JACKSON

Name: John Jackson Parker
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 86, USS CORAL SEA (CVA 43)
Date of Birth: 12 August 1943 (Savannah GA)
Home City of Record: Tallahassee FL
Date of Loss: 04 March 1970
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 182059N 1075159E (ZF029311)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A7A
Refno: 1566
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:

SYNOPSIS: The USS CORAL SEA participated in combat action against the
Communists as early as August 1964. Aircraft from her squadrons flew in the
first U.S. Navy strikes in the Rolling Thunder Program against targets in
North Vietnam in early 1965 and participated in Flaming Dart I strikes. The
next year, reconnaissance aircraft from her decks returned with the first
photography of Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) sites in North Vietnam. The A1
Skyraider fighter aircraft was retired from the USS CORAL SEA in 1968. The
CORAL SEA participated in Operation Eagle Pull in 1975, evacuating American
personnel from beleaguered Saigon, and remained on station to assist the
crew of the MAYAGUEZ, which was captured by Cambodian forces in 1975. 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.

One of the aircraft that launched from the decks of the CORAL SEA was the
Vought A7 Corsair II. The Corsair was a single-seat attack jet utilized by
both the Navy and Air Force in Vietnam, and had been 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 John J. Parker was an A7A pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 86 onboard
the USS CORAL SEA. In early March, 1970, the carrier was conducting flight
operations in the South China Sea. On March 4, Parker launched in his A7A,
and immediately after takeoff, crashed into the sea. A search and rescue
helicopter was immediately on the scene, but was unable to find LT Parker.
He was initially listed as Missing, but later changed to Reported Dead.

(NOTE: Even though Air Force records indicate that the CORAL SEA was
conducting flight operations in the South China Sea, Parker's loss
coordinates as given by the Defense Department are unquestionably in North
Vietnamese waters -- in the Gulf of Tonkin, about 100 miles offshore east of
Ha Tinh. Perhaps the carrier was on Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin and
dispatching aircraft south.)

Parker is listed with honor among the Americans still prisoner, missing or
unaccounted for in Southeast Asia because his body was 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. Distractors 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?