DOYLE, MICHAEL "Mike" WILLIAM Remains Returned 14 August 1985
Name: Michael William Doyle Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy Unit: Fighter Squadron 161, USS MIDWAY Date of Birth: 13 February 1943 (New Orleans LA) Home City of Record: Philadelphia PA Date of Loss: 25 August 1972 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 204231N 1062731E (XH512875) Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B
Other Personnel in Incident: John C. Ensch (Released POW)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 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. NETWORK.
SYNOPSIS: LTCDR Michael W. Doyle was a pilot assigned to Fighter Squadron 161 onboard the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY. On August 25, 1972 he launched with his Radar Intercept Officer (RIO), Lt. John C. Ensch, in their F4B Phantom fighter aircraft. Their mission was a MiG Combat Air Patrol over North Vietnam.
At approximately 24 miles southwest of Haiphong the aircraft was hit by a surface-to-air missile (SAM). Doyle and Ensch ejected immediately and were sighted by their wingman on descent. An emergency radio beeper was heard for approximately 10 seconds. Search and rescue efforts were initiated without success, and were terminated two days later.
The U.S. received information quickly that John Ensch had been captured. Although Doyle was at first listed Missing in Action, he, too, was ultimately listed as Prisoner of War.
John Ensch was released in Operation Homecoming in 1973. Mike Doyle was not. Ensch had suffered a broken left arm and hand which had been poorly set, leaving him disfigured and disabled. Several returning POWs had information relating to Doyle. Doyle's flight helmet had been seen with a pile of gear at the "Hanoi Hilton" prisoner of war complex in Hanoi. Also, Doyle's name was scratched on a pre-interrogation cell wall in the complex.
The Vietnamese denied any knowledge of Michael Doyle. However, in July 1985, the Vietnamese "discovered" the remains of Mike Doyle and returned them to U.S. control. Doyle had been missing for 13 years.
Nearly 2500 Americans did not return from the war in Vietnam. Thousands of reports have been received indicating that some hundreds remain alive in captivity. As in the case of William Doyle, Vietnam and her communist allies can account for most of them. Current "negotiations" between the U.S. and Vietnam have yielded the remains of nearly 300 Americans -- remains which should have been returned decades ago.
In the total view of the issue of the missing, however, the return of remains signals no progress. In the early 1980's the very credible Congressional testimony of a Vietnamese mortician indicated that the Vietnamese are in possession of over 400 sets of remains. In 15 years, they have returned barely half that number. More importantly, the same credible witness, whose testimony regarding remains is believed throughout Congress, stated that he had seen live Americans held at the same location where the remains were stored. The testimony regarding live Americans is not considered credible.
As long as even one American remains alive in captivity in Southeast Asia, the only issue is that one living man. We must bring them home before there are only remains to negotiate for.
Michael William Doyle was promoted to the rank of Commander during the period he was prisoner of war.