COLE, LEGRANDE OGDEN JR.
Remains Returned November 3, 1988
Name: LeGrande Ogden Cole, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 15, USS Intrepid (CVS-11)
Date of Birth: 21 January 1942 (Danbury CT)
Home City of Record: Danbury CT (resided Jacksonville FL)
Date of Loss: 30 June 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 183800N 1054300E (WF755602)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: (none 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: 15
March 1990. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2020.
REMARKS: POSS DEAD IR 6918 5067 75
SYNOPSIS: LeGrande Ogden Cole, Jr. entered the Naval Air Cadet Division
Program at Pensacola in August, 1961, and received his wings at Corpus
Christi in March, 1963. He completed 100 combat missions during his first
tour of duty in Vietnam from the USS INTREPID and returned to the INTREPID
for a second tour of duty as a member of Attack Squadron 15.
On June 30, 1967, Commander Cole launched in his A4C Skyhawk attack aircraft
as a member of a flight which was to execute an air strike on the thermal
power plant at Vinh, North Vietnam. He was section leader of a four plane
division of bomber aircraft. Cole initiated the attack with his wingman and
encountered heavy opposition from anti-aircraft artillery. As they
approached the target, Commander Cole called, "rolling in", which was the
last communication from him.
Cole's wingman lost sight of him after their initial bombing run among the
flak bursts which were all around the area. The wingman did report seeing an
explosion far to the south of the target. He assumed that it was a stray
bomb but later decided it must have been Cole's aircraft hitting the ground.
Other witnesses observed a large fireball to the south of the target. It
appeared larger than a bomb blast. Bomb assessment photographs of the target
and vicinity were taken by an RF8A aircraft shortly after the attack.
Examination of the photographs revealed no identifiable aircraft wreckage or
indications of a survivor. Electronic reconnaissance of the area was
maintained by A1 and A4 aircraft until late afternoon on June 30. No
emergency beacon or voice transmissions were detected.
On July 1, 1967, a Radio Hanoi broadcast claimed that two U.S. aircraft had
been shot down and the pilots captured. One was shot down over Thanh Hoa and
the other over Vinh. Since none of the pilots were identified as Cole, his
status was not changed from Missing In Action.
In 1975, information was received which possibly correlated to the loss of
Cdr. Cole. This information concerned the sighting of a dead American pilot
at approximately the same time and place that Cole was lost. The source's
description of the body roughly fits that of Commander Cole.
Because Cole's plane went down in the vicinity of a heavy enemy force, there
was every reason to believe the Vietnamese can account for him - alive or
dead. In November 1988, remains were returned by the Vietnamese said to be
those of Cdr. Cole. Positive identification was made by the Central
Identification Laboratory and confirmed independently by Dr. Michael
Charney. Commander Cole was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on May 5,
LeGrande Cole's family finally knows his fate, and no longer hang in the
tortuous balance of uncertainty. Nearly 2500 other families cannot rest,
however until they get answers. Tragically, thousands of reports have been
received convincing many experts that there are still hundreds of Americans
still alive in captivity in Southeast Asia. Cole was a prisoner every single
day the Vietnamese refused to ship his body home. How many will die before
we bring them home?