EIDSMOE, NORMAN EDWARD Remains returned 12/09/99
Name: Norman Edward Eidsmoe Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy Unit: Attack Squadron 165, USS RANGER (CVA 61) Date of Birth: 02 May 1933 (Bismark ND) Home City of Record: Rapid City ND Date of Loss: 26 January 1968 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 184400N 1054000E Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 4 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A Refno: 1004 Others in Incident: Michael E. Dunn (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 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 1998.
SYNOPSIS: The Grumman A6 Intruder is a two-man all weather, low-altitude, carrier based attack plane, with versions adapted as aerial tanker and electronic warfare platform. The A6A primarily flew close-air-support, all-weather and night attacks on enemy troop concentrations, and night interdiction missions. Its advanced navigation and attack system, known as DIANE (Digital Integrated Attack Navigation Equipment) allowed small precision targets, such as bridges, barracks and fuel depots to be located and attacked in all weather conditions, day or night. The planes were credited with some of the most difficult single-plane strikes in the war, including the destruction of the Hai Duong bridge between Hanoi and Haiphong. Their missions were tough, but their crews among the most talented and most courageous to serve the United States.
LCDR Norman E. Eidsmoe was a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 165 onboard the aircraft carrier USS RANGER. On January 26, 1968, Eidsmoe launched with his Bombardier/Navigator (BN) from the carrier in their A6A Intruder attack aircraft on a low-level, single-plane, night strike mission into North Vietnam. Two A4 Skyhawk and two A7 Corsair attack aircraft were scheduled to provide mission support if required.
The flight proceeded normally to the initial run-in point at the coast. The flight was tracked inbound to approximately 5 miles from the target at which time radar contact was lost due to low altitude and distance from tracking stations. Support aircraft remained on station about 30 minutes, waiting for the attack aircraft to regain radio contact at the designated time and position upon egress from the target area.
The support aircraft neither heard no saw the strike aircraft again. No radio contact of any kind was heard from the aircraft. The UHF radio "guard" frequency was monitored by all the support aircraft until low fuel states required their return to ship. No surface-to-air missile (SAM) launches were received and no anti-aircraft fire was noted by the support aircraft, even though there were known enemy defenses in the target area including automatic weapons, light and medium anti-aircraft artillery and one known SAM site.
The search and rescue (SAR) expanded the following day with the sortie of two RA5C Vigilante reconnaissance aircraft. The electronic and photographic search produced no significant findings. It was later determined that the aircraft had crashed approximately 7 kilometers north of the city of Vinh, Nghe An Province, North Vietnam.
Eidsmoe and Dunn were declared Missing in Action. When 591 Americans were returned at the end of the war, Dunn and Eidsmoe were not among them. Unlike "MIAs" from other wars, many of the over 2300 who remain missing for can be accounted for. And, tragically, thousands of reports have amassed indicating that some are still held prisoner against their will.
Whether Dunn survived the downing of his plane that day in January 1968 is unknown. What is clear, however, is that someone knows what happened to him. It's time we learned his fate, and brought all our men home.
Michael E. Dunn graduated from Texas A & M in 1963. He was advanced to the rank of Lieutenant Commander during the period he was maintained missing.
Norman E. Eidsmoe was promoted to the rank of Commander during the period he was maintained missing.
----------------------- No. 188-M MEMORANDUM FOR CORRESPONDENTS December 9, 1999
The remains of four American servicemen previously unaccounted-for from the Vietnam war have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial in the United States.
They are identified as Navy Capt. Norman E. Eidsmoe, Rapid City, S.D.; Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael E. Dunn, Naperville, Ill.; Army Capt. David May, Hyattsville, Md.; and Army Chief Warrant Officer Jon E. Reid, Phoenix, Ariz.
On Jan. 26, 1968, Eidsmoe and Dunn were flying a night low-level bombing mission over North Vietnam off the carrier USS Ranger. Approximately 30 minutes after takeoff, their A-6A Intruder disappeared from the carrier's radar, as expected. Accordingly, they radioed that they were six minutes from the target, but no further radio contact was heard. The plane did not return to the carrier, and a search and rescue mission was initiated, but without results.
In 1992 and 1993, four separate investigations led a U.S.-Vietnamese team to a Vietnamese farmer who described the crash, gave investigators a pilot's flight bag with Dunn's name inscribed, and described his burial of some remains in an unmarked grave. Then in 1997, a joint team conducted an excavation in a flooded rice paddy, where they recovered remains and pilot-related items. Another team continued the excavation in 1998 where they recovered additional materials.
On Feb. 20, 1971, May and Reid were flying their UH-1C Huey helicopter on an emergency resupply mission over Laos when they were hit by enemy ground fire and crashed. A search and rescue mission was repulsed by hostile fire.
In 1994, 1996 and 1998, U.S. and Lao investigators interviewed villagers in the area of the crash, then initiated an excavation which recovered human remains as well as portions of an identification tag with the name "May, David M." Analysis of the remains and other evidence by the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii confirmed the identification of each of these four servicemen.
The U.S. government welcomes and appreciates the cooperation of the governments of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and the Lao People's Democratic Republic that resulted in the accounting of these servicemen. We hope that such cooperation will bring increased results in the future. Achieving the fullest possible accounting for these Americans is of the highest national priority.
-------------------------- Seattle Post-Intelligencer Saturday, December 11, 1999 -- Pgs. A1/A6
FINALLY, CLOSURE FOR FLIER’S FAMILY
DNA tests establish identity of a Whidbey pilot shot down in 1968
By: Ed Offley P-I Military Reporter
After a near lifetime of uncertainty and sorrow, a Western Washington family is preparing to bury a husband and father who vanished over North Vietnam more than 30 years ago....