CASSELL, ROBIN BERN
Name: Robin Bern Cassell
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 152, USS ORISKANY (CVA 34)
Date of Birth: 06 December 1941 (Little Rock AR)
Home City of Record: Ft. Huachuca AZ
Date of Loss: 15 July 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 195300N 1060857E (XG203988)
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 ORISKANY was a World War II-era carrier on duty in Vietnam
as early as 1964. The ORISKANY at one time carried the RF8A (number 144608)
flown by Maj. John H. Glenn, the famous Marine astronaut (and later Senator)
flew in his 1957 transcontinental flight. In October, 1966 the ORISKANY
endured a tragic fire which killed 44 men onboard, but was soon back on
station. In 1972, the ORISKANY had an at-sea accident which resulted in the
loss of one of its aircraft elevators, and later lost a screw that put the
carrier into drydock in Yokosuka, Japan for major repairs, thus delaying its
involvement until the late months of the war.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Robin B. Cassell was a Navy pilot assigned to Attack
Squadron 152 onboard the aircraft carrier USS ORISKANY. On July 15, 1967 he
launched in his A1H Skyraider aircraft as the fight leader of a section of
A1H's on a daytime armed coastal reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam.
During the mission, Cassell's aircraft was seen to be hit by automatic
weapons fire during an attack on water craft near Cua Dai, North Vietnam.
(This is in the approximate region of the city of Thanh Hoa.) Cassell
radioed, "I'm hit" and shortly thereafter crashed into the sea and exploded
on impact. No parachute was seen, and search and rescue efforts turned up
LTJG Robin B. Cassell was listed Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered. He is
listed with honor among the missing because his remains were never found to
be returned home.
Over 3000 Americans remained prisoner, missing, or otherwise unaccounted for
at the end of the Vietnam war. The numbers have been reduced since that time
with the release of prisoners, and the return of remain until it has reached
just over 2300 in early 1990.
Since the war ended nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing,
prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in Indochina have been received by
the U.S. Government. Many officials, having examined this largely classified
information, have reluctantly concluded that many Americans are still alive
today, held captive by our long-ago enemy.
Mounting evidence indicates that some Americans are still alive being held
prisoner of war in Southeast Asia. In the peace accords signed in 1973, the
Vietnamese pledged to return all prisoners of war and provide the fullest
possible accounting of the missing. They have not done either.
The United States government pledged that the POW/MIA issue is of "highest
national priority" but has not achieved results indicative of a priority.
The Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia deserve our best
efforts to bring them home, not our empty words.
Robin B. Cassell graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1964.