FORTNER, FREDERICK JOHN Remains Returned November 3, 1988 Name: Frederick John Fortner Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy Reserves Unit: Attack Squadron 155, USS CORAL SEA (CVA-43) Date of Birth: 15 May 1943 (Upland CA) Home City of Record: Pomona CA Date of Loss: 17 October 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 210700N 1072800E (YJ562350) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4E Refno: 0868 Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing) Source: Compiled 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 in 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: LtCdr. Frederick Fortner was a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 155 onboard the aircraft carrier USS CORAL SEA (CVA-43). On October 17, 1967, LtCdr. Fortner launched in his A4E "Skyhawk" on an attack mission over North Vietnam. After firing his rockets at a target, Fortner's aircraft was seen to be streaming smoke or fuel and his wingman radioed for him to clear the area and begin heading for the open sea. Fortner called that his flight controls were locked and no further transmissions were received from him. No ejection or parachute was seen and it was uncertain that he survived the air crash in the thick jungle terrain. Fortner was categorized as Missing in Action. When the war ended, Fortner's family thought it would be possible that he had been captured, and that he would be released with other American POWs, but he was not. The Vietnamese denied having any knowledge of him. Following the war, refugees fled Vietnam, bringing with them reports of American aircraft crash sites, dog tags they had found, and shockingly, reports of Americans still alive in captivity in Southeast Asia. By the end of 1988, the U.S. had received over 8,000 such reports. On November 3, 1988, the Vietnamese discovered the remains of LtCdr. Frederick Fortner and returned them to U.S. control. Fortner's family finally knows that he is dead, and no is longer haunted by the continual flow of reports of Americans still in Vietnam. For nearly 2500 other American families, however, life goes on in agonizing uncertainty. For the hundreds of American POWs thought to be still alive, another day of abandonment passes.