GREILING, DAVID SCOTT
Name: David Scott Greiling
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 82, USS AMERICA (CVA-66)
Date of Birth: 25 March 1935 (Cleveland OH)
Home City of Record: Hillsdale MI
Date of Loss: 24 July 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 180200N 1061500E (XE429850)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1990 with the assistance of
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 2020.
SYNOPSIS: After he graduated from Purdue University in 1957 with a degree in
engineering, Scotty Greiling enlisted in the Navy. Scotty Greiling had an
exemplary Navy career. He received his master's degree in nuclear science
from the Navy post-graduate school at Monterey, California, and went on to
be an instructor at the Naval Academy. When he shipped out to Vietnam, he
took with him his determination and idealism. He wanted to serve his
David Greiling was the pilot of an A7 low-level attack plane flying as fight
leader of a section of two aircraft on a night armed reconnaissance mission
over Mui Ron, mountainous, hook-shaped peninsula in the Bay of Tonkin, on
July 24, 1968. Mountain peaks in the area reached approximately 3500 feet.
The night was overcast with multiple cloud layers.
After sighting a target of moving lights at about 2100 hours which Greiling
believed to be trucks heading towards the mountains, he radioed, "I'm
rolling in now," which proved to be the last word received from his
aircraft. His aircraft turned to photograph a ground explosion, dropped
altitude, released its bombs and ejected the cabin into the air. A large
fireball was seen by the wingman on his run. The wingman believed the fire
emanated from the explosion of gasoline or oil trucks as a result of his
flight leader's attack. After completing his attack on the same target area,
the wingman attempted to contact Greiling, but without success. The burning
area was then assumed the crash sight of this aircraft.
An immediate search from the air was undertaken with lighting of flares
dropped from other aircraft. The large fire which had been observed was
still burning, with numerous small, brightly burning fires in the immediate
area. The crash site was located approximately 1500 feet up the eastern side
of a ridge about 500 feet from the crest. The burning area was heavily
wooded. Further attempts to make radio contact with Greiling were negative
and no emergency radio transmissions were heard. Search and rescue efforts
failed to locate any trace of the aircraft or Greiling. Greiling was placed
in a casualty status of Missing In Action (MIA).
Greiling was classified Missing In Action until July 17, 1969 when he was
reclassified Prisoner of War as a result of an intelligence report
indicating that he had been captured. A Polish seaman was shown the
identification cards of 30 Americans in a Haiphong bar. He apparently
understood the importance of what he was shown as he wrote down the names
and gave them to the U.S. Navy when he returned to Poland. Twenty-eight of
the 30 men were released from Vietnam in 1973 in exchange for timed
withdrawal of U.S. troops. But the Vietnamese never acknowledged Greiling's
captivity or confirmed that they had his identification card. (Note: some
versions of this report state that Greiling's photograph was on "a bulletin
board in northern Vietnam".) No new information came in on the case and in
1973 after the prisoner release in "Operation Homecoming", the debriefings
of returned POWs added no reference to Greiling.
Nearly 2500 Americans did not return from the war in Vietnam. Nearly 10,000
reports have been received convincing many authorities that hundreds remain
alive in captivity. Whether Greiling is alive is not known. What is certain,
however, is that Vietnam and her communist allies can tell us what happened
to our men.