Name: John "Buzz" Cooley Ellison
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 85, USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63)
Date of Birth: 16 December 1928
Home City of Record: Layton UT
Date of Loss: 24 March 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 212500N 1065700E (YJ020693)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A
Refno: 0629
Other Personnel In Incident: James E. Plowman (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 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: LtCdr. John Ellison was the pilot of an A6A Intruder jet aircraft
that launched from the USS Kitty Hawk on March 24, 1967 on a combat mission
over North Vietnam. Ellison's Bombardier/Navigator that day was Ltjg. James
Plowman. The two were assigned to a strike force suppression mission against
Bac Giang Thermal Power Plant in North Vietnam. They were to suppress
surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites. The target was defended by SAM sites,
light, medium and heavy anti-aircraft batteries, automatic weapons and small
arms. After the "bombs away" call, the airborne Combat Information Officer
tracked their aircraft about 11 miles north of the planed track. Radar
indications disappeared in the vicinity of Ha Bac Province, North Vietnam.
Although Ellison had radio contact with rescuers, he and Plowman were not
rescued. Ha Bac Province is in extreme northern Vietnam near the border of
The families of Ellison and Plowman wonder what happened to their men that
day. There is no indication that they died when their plane disappeared, and
unofficial reports that they have been unable to verify suggest that one or
both may have been captured. A photo of a POW in the front of a march
conducted in China was identified by Navy officer and returned POW Robert
Flynn who was released by the Chinese in 1973 as being James E. Plowman.
Flynn also saw a photo of Ellison while held in China.
Plowman's wife identified him from a North Vietnamese photo just prior to
December 1970, and his parents identified him from a 1967 North Vietnamese
After Seaman Douglas Hegdahl was released from Hanoi in 1969, he told family
members of Buzz Ellison that he had seen Buzz.
Ellison and Plowman were maintained throughout the war as Missing In Action.
Even though there seems to be some doubt that the two died and that they may
have been prisoners after all, their status was never changed, and by 1980,
they had been declared administratively dead.
Although evidence existed that China held prisoners from the Korean conflict
and the Vietnam war, the U.S. rushed towards friendly relations with that
country, ignoring their best men. Today, there is evidence that Vietnam is
holding hundreds of prisoners from the war in Vietnam, yet the U.S. is again
signing the death warrants of her best men in the rush for normalization of
Search for crew bears new clues
By Dawn House
The Salt Lake Tribune
One family may have learned the fate of a bombardier whose plane crashed
deep inside enemy territory in North Vietnam nearly four decades ago. A Utah
family is still awaiting word on the pilot....