BARTOCCI, JOHN EUGENE
Name: John Eugene Bartocci
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Date of Birth: 19 February 1934
Home City of Record: New York NY (family in Overland Park KS)
Date of Loss: 31 August 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: (none given)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
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.
SYNOPSIS: John Bartocci had a bright future when he graduated from the U.S.
Naval Academy in 1958. He was married the same year and began a family. His
and Barbara's marriage was right out of a storybook. Barbara later said it
was a "happy-ever-after dream."
John's Navy career moved the family from base to base until he was
ultimately sent to Vietnam. In Vietnam, Bartocci flew the Vought F8
"Crusader". 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 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; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and
released. The other 43 remained missing at the end of the war.
On August 31, 1968, during a carrier night-landing attempt, John Bartocci's
aircraft went down. His body was never recovered. His son, John was 7 years
old. He still believed his dad would come home to him.
It took John ("Barty") 15 years to understand what the loss of his father
meant. His bitter resentment of a promise broken had a disastrous impact on
his life. He was a problem child. Barbara, an accomplished author, wrote a
book about the trials of her family, "My Angry Son". Today, over 20 years
later, John Bartocci's family has grieved and accepted his death. It was a
hard won victory for all of them.
Other families suffer the same suspension of grief that Bartocci's family
did, but are not able to grieve and heal. Nearly 10,000 reports related to
Americans still missing, prisoner or otherwise unaccounted for have been
received by the U.S. Many authorities who have seen this largely classified
information believe that hundreds of Americans are still alive. Their
families endure the deepest agony wondering if their loved ones are alive or
dead. There are hundreds of children like Barty whose lives are paralyzed
waiting for their fathers to keep a promise to come home to them. There are
hundreds of captive Americans waiting for their country to keep a promise to
them to bring them home.
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.