Name: David Francis Callahan, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 106, USS INTREPID (CVS 11)
Date of Birth: 10 November 1934 (Lynn MA)
Home City of Record: Windsor VT
Date of Loss: 23 September 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 181201N 1070858E (YF273135)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4E
Refno: 1286
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: When Douglas Aircraft created the A4 Skyhawk the intent was to
provide the Navy and Marine Corps with an inexpensive, lightweight attack
and ground support aircraft. The design emphasized low-speed control and
stability during take-off and landing as well as strength enough for
catapult launch and carrier landings. The plane was so compact that it did
not need folding wings for aboardship storage and handling. In spite of its
diminutive size, the A4 packed a devastating punch and performed well where
speed and maneuverability were essential.

LCDR David F. Callahan, Jr. was a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 106
onboard the USS INTREPID. The INTREPID was a World War II-era Essex-class
aircraft carrier which had been adapted for jet operations in the 1950s. Its
early tours of Vietnam were spent on Dixie Station in South Vietnam in
support of operations there. Later, the antisubmarine carrier traded its S2
Trackers, SH3 helicopters and E1 Tracers for Skyhawks and Skyraiders and
joined her sister ships on Yankee Station to supply air power for strikes
over North Vietnam.

On September 23, 1968, LCDR Callahan launched in his A4E Skyhawk light
attack aircraft on a routine mission. He radioed that his generator had
failed and that he was returning to ship. He was routed for a straight-in
approach. He flew the approach well, until in close to the carrier when the
aircraft began a left bank, nose dropping, touching down just short of the
landing deck and striking the Landing Signals Officer (LSO) platform. The
aircraft continued a left roll impacting the water in an approximate 90
degree angle. There was no apparent ejection attempt.

LCDR Callahan was listed Killed/Body Not Recovered. His loss is listed as
non-combat related. Callahan is listed among the missing because his body
was never recovered. He is among over 2300 Americans who remain prisoner,
missing or otherwise unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.

Others who are missing do not have such clear cut cases. Some were known
captives; some were photographed as they were led by their guards. Some were
in radio contact with search teams, while others simply disappeared.

Since the war ended, over 250,000 interviews have been conducted with those
who claim to know about Americans still alive in Southeast Asia, and several
million documents have been studied. U.S. Government experts cannot seem to
agree whether Americans are there alive or not. Distractors say it would be
far too politically difficult to bring the men they believe to be alive
home, and the U.S. is content to negotiate for remains.

Over 1000 eye-witness reports of living American prisoners were received by
1989.  Most of them are still classified. If, as the U.S. seems to believe,
the men are all dead, why the secrecy after so many years? If the men are
alive, why are they not home?




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Lieutenant Commander David Francis Callahan Jr., who joined the U.S. Navy from Vermont, served with Attack Squadron 106. On September 23, 1968, he was piloting a single-seat A-4 Skyhawk (bureau number 152091, call sign "Beach Head") and attempting to land on the carrier USS Intrepid (CVS 11). On his approach, he banked too far to the left and the nose of the aircraft came down short and struck the landing platform. The aircraft continued to roll to the left and fell off the deck, impacting the water in the Gulf of Tonkin in the vicinity of (GC) YF 273 135. Observers did not see the pilot eject, and search teams failed to locate him following the crash. Today, Lieutenant Commander Callahan is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.  

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Non-recoverable.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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