CARTWRIGHT, PATRICK GREGORY
Name: Patrick Gregory Cartwright
Rank/Branch: E4/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 195, USS KITTY HAWK (CVA 63)
Date of Birth: 08 May 1950 (Greeley CO)
Home City of Record: Reno NV
Date of Loss: 31 January 1971
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 175252N 1071821E (YE443784)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
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 by the P.O.W.
SYNOPSIS: The USS KITTY HAWK was on duty in Vietnam as early as 1964 and had
131 combat sorties to its credit by the end of 1965, and many more through
the remaining years of the Vietnam war. The KITTY HAWK was one of the
Forrestal-class "super" carriers, and could operate up to ninety aircraft
from her angled deck.
An aircraft carrier such as the KITTY HAWK required hundreds of maintenance
and support crewmen. One of these was Aviation Structural Mechanic
(hydraulics) Petty Officer Third Class Patrick G. Cartwright, assigned to
Attack Squadron 195.
On January 31, 1971 Petty Officer Cartwright was performing intermediate
level maintenance on aircraft hydraulics systems aboard the USS KITTY HAWK
which was conducting night operations in the South China Sea. Petty Officer
Cartwright was last seen at 0615 hours near Sponson 11, located on the
hangar deck level in the vicinity of the fantail. He was known to be absent
from 0615 hours until the end of his shift at 0700 hours. The watch on
Sponson 11 reported nothing unusual during this period. A shipmate later
reported that Petty Officer Cartwright could not be located and an immediate
effort was undertaken to find him. A thorough search of the ship and calls
on the loud speaker failed to locate Petty Officer Cartwright. An extensive
air and sea search was conducted by helicopter and destroyer along the
course traveled by the ship since the last time he was seen. All search
efforts met with negative results.
Petty Officer Cartwright was lost approximately 45 nautical miles from the
coast of North Vietnam, east of the city of Ron. He was initially placed in
a Missing casualty status, but on February 4, 1971, he was declared Reported
The Vietnam War touched many lives. Tens of thousands of families lost loved
ones in battle deaths. Tens of thousands saw their sons and brothers come
home maimed physically and mentally from the wounds and torments of the
savagery of war. Some received telegrams that their loved ones drowned in
recreation; a few learned their sons died from drug overdose; and some
learned their sons, for unknown reasons chose to end their lives in Vietnam.
Others, like Cartwright, just disappeared.
As long as man has been, war has been. As a society, we tend to bury the
unpleasant aspects of war and concentrate on the victory. In Vietnam, we
have only a hollow "Peace with Honor" and must instead, focus on the
warriors - men who willingly served their country when called. Men whose
lives we used as the price for our freedom.
The most tragic of all the warriors are those who still wait, captive and
abandoned by their country in prisons and camps in Southeast Asia. In
abandoning them, we have made the deaths and suffering of tens of thousands
a frivolous waste. We must never neglect the duty we have to the men who
answer their country's call.