CARLTON, JAMES EDMUND JR.
Name: James Edmund Carlton, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O3/US Marine Corps
Unit: VMA 242, MAG 11
Date of Birth: 10 July 1939
Home City of Record: Birmingham AL
Date of Loss: 17 April 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 183100N 1055300E (WF923471)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident: James M. McGarvey (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: 01
January 1990. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2020.
SYNOPSIS: The Grumman A6 Intruder is a two-man all weather, low-altitude,
carrier-based attack plane, with versions adapted as aerial tanker and
electronic warfare platform. The A6A primarily flew close-air-support,
all-weather and night attacks on enemy troop concentrations, and night
interdiction missions. Its advanced navigation and attack system, known as
DIANE (Digital Integrated Attack navigation Equipment) allowed small
precision targets, such as bridges, barracks and fuel depots to be located
and attacked in all weather conditions, day or night. The planes were
credited with some of the most difficult single-plane strikes in the war,
including the destruction of the Hai Duong bridge between Hanoi and Haiphong
by a single A6. Their missions were tough, but their crews among the most
talented and most courageous to serve the United States.
On April 17, 1967, Major James M. McGarvey, pilot, and Capt. James E.
Carlton, Jr., systems operator, were assigned a mission against a well
defended target located approximately twenty miles southeast of Vinh, Nghe
An Province, North Vietnam. At 11:12 p.m., during McGarvey's attack run, the
aircraft trailing McGarvey's by approximately eight miles reported seeing a
brilliant orange flash mushrooming from the area of the lead aircraft, after
which no radio contact could be established with the aircraft. Search and
rescue operations were initiated and lasted until April 26, 1967, with
negative results. Both McGarvey and Carlton were declared Missing in Action.
Throughout the war, the McGarvey and Carlton families waited, knowing it was
possible that their men had been captured, even though they heard no word of
either of them. At the end of the war, however, when 591 Americans were
released from POW camps, McGarvey and Carlton were not among them. The
Vietnamese denied any knowledge of them.
It is unlikely that the aircraft carrying McGarvey and Carlton was sighted,
shot down, exploded into a brilliant orange flash and crashed in a heavily
defended area without being detected by the Vietnamese. It is unlikely that
no information is available on their fates, although the Vietnamese continue
to deny knowledge of them.
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports have been received by the U.S.
Government related to Americans missing in Southeast Asia. The Vietnamese
protests that they know nothing are mocked by the reports of their own
Many authorities now believe that there are still a large number of
Americans alive in Southeast Asia, still held prisoner. McGarvey and Carlton
were not known to die in the crash of their aircraft, and could be among
them. It's time we brought our men home