FELLOWES, JOHN HEAPHY "JACK"
We all have memories of many of the fine human beings we met in prison and Jack is certainly one of them. His attitude was contagious because it was Upbeat in a place of pain and sorrow, his sense of humor kept a smile on your face and he was always complimentary, never judgmental.
Jack made the best of each day and helped those years to slide by with a minimum of internal conflict. He was a gentleman and a friend and he will be missed, but he will always be remembered. Thank God for Jack Fellows!
Name: John Heaphy "Jack" Fellowes
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 65, USS CONSTELLATION (CVA 64)
Date of Birth: 22 November 1932
Home City of Record: Virginia Beach VA
Date of Loss: 27 August 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 184700N 1052700E (WF474767)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Other Personnel in Incident: George T. Coker (released POW)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 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.
REMARKS: 730304 RELSD BY DRV
SYNOPSIS: The USS CONSTELLATION provided air power to the U.S. effort in
Vietnam early in the war, having participated in strikes against Loc Chao
and Hon Gai in North Vietnam during August 1964. One of the first American
POWs of the war, and certainly one of the most well-known, LTJG Everett
Alverez, launched from her decks and was captured during this series of
strikes in 1964. The CONSTELLATION was large and carried a full range of
aircraft. Fighters from her air wing, CVW-14, earned the carrier the
Meritorious Unit Commendation in 1968 during a particularly intense period
of air attacks. VF-96, a premier fighter squadron awarded the Clifton Trophy
two straight years, flew from the CONSTELLATION in October 1971. During this
period, two of her pilots, LT Randall H. Cunningham and LTJG William
"Willie" Driscoll became the first American aces of the Vietnam War, having
shot down five Russian-made MiG enemy aircraft. The CONSTELLATION remained
on station throughout most of the war.
LCDR John H. "Jack" Fellowes was a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 65
onboard the USS CONSTELLATION. On August 27, 1966, he and his
Bombardier/Navigator (BN), LTJG George T. Coker, launched in their A6A
Intruder all-weather attack aircraft on a strike/bombing mission into North
When the flight was about 20 miles northwest of the city of Vinh in Nghe An
Province, Fellowes' aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire or debris from a
surface-to-air missile (SAM) in the right wing which caused the aircraft to
enter a flat spin forcing both crewmen to eject. Their wingman sighted two
parachutes at approximately 2,000 feet, and manually operated emergency
radio beeper signals commenced and persisted as the wingman maneuvered to
keep the chutes in sight. The area was about 18 miles inland in a
well-populated area. The terrain was primarily flat with rice paddies and
numerous houses and villages. There was little to offer concealment.
Moderate flak was encountered as the two parachutes passed 1,000 feet. Due
to poor weather visibility and enemy flak, the wingman lost sight of the two
chutes as they passed below 50 feet. An intensive search effort was
conducted despite moderate to heavy flak for nearly 3 hours, but the
parachutes were not spotted on the ground, nor were emergency beepers heard
any longer. Both Fellowes and Coker were classified Missing in Action.
Later that day, Radio Hanoi announced, "The Armed Forces and people in Nghe
An Province this morning shot down two U.S. aircraft during two
counterattacks within ten minutes. At 1030 hours, one of the two U.S. planes
was shot down on the spot at the first round while intruding into the
airspace over the western part of the province. The aggressor pilot was
captured. Ten minutes later, flights of U.S. aircraft send to the rescue of
the U.S. air pirate had to flee in disorder in the face of accurate ground
fire. One of them was knocked down." (NOTE: No other Americans were captured
or listed as missing on that date.) When this information was received, both
men were reclassified Prisoner of War.
During their captivity, Coker and Fellowes suffered along with their fellow
POWs. Torture and deprivation was commonplace. Fellowes arms were both
permanently damaged by manipulation in the "ropes", a common
torture-technique. Coker actually escaped in December 1970 with another
American. The two swam down the Red River, but were recaptured. Coker was
found buried in a mud bank attempting to conceal his location from his
Fellowes and Coker were held in various prisoner of war camps -- Cu Loc, Hoa
Lo (Hanoi Hilton), Alcatraz -- in and around Hanoi throughout the duration
of the war. On March 4, 1973, they were both released as part of Operation
Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing,
prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S.
Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive
today. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned
American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return
unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the
honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly
held. It's time we brought our men home.
George T. Coker was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant during the period he
was prisoner of war. He remained in the Navy and attained the rank of
Commander. In 1986, Coker resided in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
John H. Fellowes was promoted to the rank of Commander during the period he
was prisoner of war. He remained in the Navy and attained the rank of
Captain. He retired from the Navy and as of 1989, resided in Annapolis,
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
JOHN H. FELLOWS
Commander - United States Navy
Shot Down: August 27, 1966
Released: March 4, 1973
I was shot down over North Vietnam while flying an A-6 that was based aboard
the USS Constellation. The six years and seven months was an ordeal of
struggling through endless days of unbelievably atrocious treatment at the
hands of the North Vietnamese. My love of athletics was a major factor in
my ability to survive.
I was hit while flying at about 3500 feet. The aircraft immediately
inverted, the stick was frozen and we were bouncing wildly. I later learned
that the wing had been blown off. While still inverted as the plane was
falling, George Coker and I ejected. I felt a strong jolt as I struck earth.
It was later that I learned that I had suffered a compression fracture in my
back (several vertebrae had been pushed together). As I reached the top of a
small knoll, I saw about 100 people running toward me. When I realized that
I was going to be a prisoner, I sat down and pulled out a cigar. Just as I
was about to light it, a hand came from behind my head and yanked it from my
hand. This gesture convinced me that I was in less than amiable hands.
Anyone who would steal a man's cigar is definitely unfriendly. We walked six
or seven hours that first night. By the third day of walking my feet and
back were killing me. They had taken my boots away and my thick athletic
socks were caked with mud and debris. They let me sleep very little during
these three days and nights.
In a little village an interrogator really started to work me over. He
demanded information about the A-6 radar. Simultaneously they were working
on George in another room and comparing notes. Four days later we were put
in jeep-type vehicles for the four day trip to Hanoi. We traveled by night
and during the day were put in separate huts and forbidden to communicate.
George had a severe wound above his knee. A machete-carrying guard came in
and held the long knife just over my foot. He swung it downward and just at
the last second twisted the blade so I was hit by the flat side. The guard
did the same thing to George scoring a direct hit on his wound - George went
six feet in the air with the blinding pain. I tell this just to show the
type of person with whom we were dealing - we were at their mercy. When we
arrived at Hanoi I was put in the ropes. The North Vietnamese are absolute
masters at rigging the body with ropes and irons. I would gladly have
traded the back pain for those endured in the ropes. I was virtually
helpless after spending ten hours in that torture session. A
roommate-Captain Ron Bliss fed me, bathed me and literally kept me alive
for the four months that I was incapacitated.
I have always been a sports nut. God endows us with weapons to fight
adversity. I would recall the entire line-up for both teams and then recall
the plays. This passed many a long hour.
There are several ingredients that one must have to survive those grim days
of deprivation and. confinement . You must remember that you are from
America and that you come from the greatest country in the world. Never
take the American way of life for granted. Appreciate freedom. It isn't
necessary to be well versed in your country's history, but it helps. Just
remember that even with all its faults, there is nothing better than to be
an American. Acceptance of these facts provides you with a foundation. You
can attend any survival school but in the end every man can be broken if
the captor sets his mind to it, but you can be broken and not be defeated.
At last the time came to come home. I found that my continuous exercising
program had kept me in good physical condition. A sense of humor was
mandatory and now the day we had all dreamed about had finally come. Our
trip back was exciting. We could not believe the reception. I was driven to
the hospital in Portsmouth. I saw my wife, Pat and children - Cathy 16,
Sharon 13, John Jr. 11 and Tom 9. They all looked great. The kids seemed
to remember me well, but I got concerned about Tommy, my youngest. He was
only three when I left and he seemed reluctant to say anything to me. I
asked Pat "What's wrong with him?" She advised me to exercise a little
patience. Well, Tommy and I walked off a little from the others and kind of
looked at each other. For a moment there was silence. Then Tommy said the
words that lifted me three feet off the ground, "Dad," he said, "you're
Born in Buffalo, NY and raised in Tucson
Graduated from Tucson High School 1950
Graduated from Hill School 1951
Enlisted in the Navy 27 August 1951
Entered Naval Academy June 1952
Graduated Naval Academy 1956
"I feel that most of us are the way we are, in the shape we are in, not
because of the North Vietnamese, but despite 'em. And the fact that we are
Americans kept us going."
Jack Fellowes retired from the United States Navy as a Captain in July of
1986. He and his wife Pat reside in Maryland.
March 6, 2010
The Fellowes' daughter lost her fight for life. She suffered from ALS. Our prayers
and deepest sympathy are with her family at this time.
MORE INFO http://www.veterantributes.org/TributeDetail.php?recordID=312
May 3, 2010
We are truly saddened at the sudden loss of our dear friend, Jackie Fe. His wonderful
emails and charming smile will remain with us forever. Be careful of the hugs in heaven
Jackie Fe.... the glass will always be full. Chuck and Mary
Vietnam POW from Virginia Beach dies at 77
Jack H. Fellowes, a Navy pilot from Virginia Beach who served six and a half
as a prisoner of war during Vietnam, died Monday at age 77 in Annapolis, Md....