CRAYTON, RENDER Name: Render Crayton Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy Unit: Attack Squadron 56, USS TICONDEROGA (CVA 14) Date of Birth: 29 January 1933 (Charlotte NC) Home City of Record: La Grange GA Date of Loss: 07 February 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 185900N 1053700E (WF649989) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4E Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 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 bt the P.O.W. NETWORK. REMARKS: 730212 RELSD BY DRV - INJURED SYNOPSIS: The USS TICONDEROGA had first been in Vietnam waters in late 1944 when fighter planes from the TICONDEROGA and the USS HANCOCK flew strike missions against enemy vessels in Saigon Harbor. The TICONDEROGA, the fourteenth U.S. aircraft carrier to be built, was on station during the very early years of the Vietnam war and remained throughout most of the duration of the war. Lieutenant Commander Render Crayton was a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 56 onboard the USS TICONDEROGA. On February 7, 1966, he launched in his A4E Skyhawk aircraft on a combat mission over North Vietnam. While on a bombing run on railroad boxcars in the vicinity of Phu Dien Chau in Nghe An Province, North Vietnam, LCDR Crayton's aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire. His wingman reported seeing an aircraft explosion on starboard side and the pilot reported a fire warning light. Crayton initiated a climb to approximately 4500 feet, and his aircraft was observed to roll right and nose fall through. He ejected following severe damage to the aircraft. When Crayton landed on the ground he contacted other planes in the flight by radio and directed them to his position. He was surrounded on three sides by river and on the fourth side by a village. Search and rescue operations were immediately initiated and a helicopter with an armed escort was dispatched to the area. While awaiting the arrival of the rescue helicopter, two A4's remained overhead making strafing/bombing runs and los passes at would-be captors. Crayton remained extremely calm in his radio transmissions. Crayton finally radioed for the A4's to depart because he knew their fuel states were becoming critical. Crayton was last seen being led off by a group of men. Both the helicopter and escort received extensive ground fire damage enroute to the scene, and upon arrival spotted the parachute, but were unable to locate Crayton. He had been captured. For the next seven years, Render Crayton was held prisoner by the North Vietnamese in various prisoner of war camps in and around Hanoi. On February 12, 1973, he was released with 590 other Americans, but he had sustained injuries (whether the injuries were sustained during his captivity or remained from his shoot-down is not certain). 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. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly held. It's time we brought our men home. ================================
Render Crayton retired from the United States Navy as a Captain. He resides in California. More on Render Crayton's captivty can be found on pages 18 and 22 of Benjamin Schemmer's "THE RAID."