Name: Frank Ray Compton
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: USS Enterprise
Date of Birth: 11 January 1936
Home City of Record: Chatham VA
Date of Loss: 21 March 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 175859N 1064258E
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A4C
Refno: 0285
Other Personnel In Incident: John M. Tiderman (missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 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. NETWORK 2020.


SYNOPSIS: When nuclear powered USS ENTERPRISE arrived on Yankee Station on
December 2, 1965, she was the largest warship ever built. She brought with
her not only an imposing physical presence, but also an impressive component
of warplanes and the newest technology. By the end of her first week of
combat operations, the ENTERPRISE had set a record of 165 combat sorties in
a single day. By the end of her first combat cruise, her air wing had flown
over 13,000 combat sorties. The record had not been achieved without cost.

One of the aircraft onboard the ENTERPRISE was the Douglas Aircraft A4
Skyhawk. This aircraft was created 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
aircraft was small, but in spite of its diminutive size, the A4 packed a
devastating punch and performed well where speed and maneuverability were

Lt. Frank R. Compton and LCdr. John M. Tiderman comprised the crew of an A4
which launched from the USS ENTERPRISE on March 21, 1966 on a mission over
North Vietnam as part of the intensive bombing campaign, Rolling Thunder.

At about 75 miles east of the city of Ron in North Vietnam, Compton and
Tiderman went down over the ocean. Searches did not yield their remains, and
both were classified as killed/body not recovered.

Compton and Tiderman are among nearly 2500 Americans who remain unaccounted
for in Vietnam. Some cases, like theirs, seem clear. It is improbable that
Compton and Tiderman survived the crash of their aircraft. Others, however,
were alive and well and in radio contact with search teams as they described
imminent capture. Some were seen in propaganda photographs or heard on radio

Mounting evidence indicates that hundreds of these Americans are still
alive, held captive by a long-ago enemy. While Compton and Tiderman may not
be among them, one can imagine them proudly launching in their "Scooter" for
one more mission to help bring them home. How can we abandon our best men?




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Lieutenant Frank Ray Compton entered the U.S. Navy from Virginia and was a member of Attack Squadron 94, embarked aboard the USS Enterprise (CVAN 65). On March 21, 1966, he piloted a single-seat A-4C Skyhawk (bureau number 149515, call sign "Hoboken 406") in a flight of three aircraft on an armed reconnaissance mission against enemy targets in North Vietnam. During the mission, the flight leader reported seeing a bright flash to his rear before losing visual and radio contact with LT Compton. At the time of the incident, other aircraft crews reported seeing surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and smoke in the direction of "Hoboken 406," but saw no parachutes and detected no rescue beepers. LT Compton failed to return from the mission, and search operations failed to locate him. Today, Lieutenant Compton 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.

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