Name: James Joseph Connell
Branch/Rank: United States Navy/O3
Unit:  Attack Squadron 55
Date of Birth: 06 May 1939
Home City of Record: WILMINGTON DE
Date of Loss: 15 July 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 204700 North  1055400 East
Status (in 1973): Presumptive Finding of Death
Category: 1
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4E
Other Personnel in Incident:

Official photo

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File. Updated 2020.





No further information available at this time.

Message edited

From - Sun Jul 23 09:44:49 2000
From: "Donald R. Spoon"

My apologies to ANYONE who has read this stuff.  I didn't say it!!.....

-Don Spoon-

Dear Mr. Sampley,

This evening, I ran across a web site called "" which
will do a web search on your name and provide up to 20 web sites that
contain your name.  I was curious, but didn't expect much since I have
not done much to attract attention.  I was a POW in North Vietnam from
Jan 67 until Mar 73, so I did expect a few references from that

Five of these returned "hits" contained the SAME quote about one of the
other POWs that was attributed to me.  Four of the five "hits" were in
articles written by you.  Here is the quote:

" When the communists led Connell away for the last time, he told another
prisoner, Donald Spoon, "they want my hands . . . they are going to cut them
off."  Spoon said he took Connell's last statement to mean the interrogators
planned to break him even if it meant cutting off his hands. Connell was
never seen alive again." Author:  Mr. Ted Sampley

This statement simply isn't true!!

The closest I ever came to J.J. Connell was in the late spring of 1967,
when I was transiently housed in the "GARAGE" at the North Vietnamese
POW camp know as the "ZOO".  At that time, J.J. Connell was housed in
a small group of cells about 30 yards away that could be seen through
the cracks in my cell's doors. I did NOT know who he was, and didn't
find out about him until I moved into another room in 1968 with some
"older" POWs who knew Connell's story.  I was NEVER a roomate with
J.J. Connell, and I NEVER had any contact with him other than the
visual sightings mentioned above.  I certainly did NOT have any form
of communications with him at any time!  I EMPHATICALLY deny saying
"...he took Connell's last statement to mean the interrogators planned
to break him even if it meant cutting off his hands."

I know this story was floating around the prison system before our
release, BUT there is no way I can verify its authenticity.  It was
passed around the communications net and there is no way I can trace
its source, especially at this late date.  Although I have spoken to
others about J.J. since my release in 1973 with regard to resistance
tactics and/or group medical problems, I have never claimed that I
had actually spoken or communicated with him!

There is one thing that stands out about J.J. Connell.  He was a proud
American Fighting Man!  He fought for his country and his beliefs in the
best way he knew, and it probably cost him his life.  He had an incredible
painful and lonely existence.  During the time I was at the ZOO, he was in
solitary.  I believe he had some roommates later, but that was AFTER I had
been moved in the fall of 1969.  The details surrounding his death are a
mystery even today.  Only the Vietnamese know what actually happened. One
day, after a prolonged period of physical deterioration he "disappeared"
and was never seen again, as did several others who were in poor health at
the time of their "disappearance".

I don't know how this particular story got started, nor am I interested in
finding out.  That will accomplish nothing.  I am interested in the truth,
and that is why I am sending this E-Mail.  I don't want J.J. Connell's
memory to be tarnished with an erroneous story that can easily be proved
false.  If one part is false, then the rest is automatically suspect, and
J.J.'s memory should be polished, not tarnished.  I hope you can find a way
to correct this "mistake".


Donald R. Spoon, M.D.
Col, USAF (Retired).


Connell was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross the second-highest award for valor, after the Medal of Honor. Here's how the official citation for ...

Jenny Connell, widow of LCRD Jame Connell, passed away 11 June 2020.








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On April 3, 1974, Central Identification Laboratory-Thailand (CILT, now DPAA) identified the remains of Lieutenant Commander James Joseph Connell, missing from the Vietnam War.

Lieutenant Commander Connell, who joined the U.S. Navy from Delaware, served with Attack Squadron 55, embarked aboard the USS Ranger (CVA-61). On July 15, 1966, he piloted an A-4E Skyhawk (bureau number 151024) on a combat mission over North Vietnam. During the mission, the Skyhawk was shot down. Lieutenant Commander Connell survived the crash and was taken prisoner by the enemy. He died in a prisoner of war camp in Hanoi, North Vietnam, on January 14, 1971. In 1974, the Vietnamese government repatriated remains which were identified as those of LCDR Connell.


If you are a family member of this serviceman, you may contact your casualty office representative to learn more about your service member.