GOSEN, LAWRENCE DEAN
Name: Lawrence Dean Gosen
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 23, USS TICONDEROGA (CVA 14)
Date of Birth: 04 February 1938 (Windom MN)
Home City of Record: Bingham Lake MN
Date of Loss: 23 July 1968
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: YF949310
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: none missing
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 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.
SYNOPSIS: The USS TICONDEROGA had first been in Vietnam waters in late 1944
when fighter planes from the TICONDEROGA and the USS HANCOCK flew strike
missions against enemy vessels in Saigon Harbor. The TICONDEROGA, the
fourteenth U.S. aircraft carrier to be built, was on station during the very
early years of the Vietnam war and remained throughout most of the duration
of the war.
One of the aircraft that launched from the decks of the TICONDEROGA was the
A4 Skyhawk. Douglas Aircraft created the A4 Skyhawk to provide the Navy and
Marine Corps with an inexpensive, lightweight attack and ground support
aircraft. The design emphasized low-speed control and stability during
take-off and landing as well as strength enough for catapult launch and
carrier landings. The plane was so compact that it did not need folding
wings for aboardship storage and handling. In spite of its diminutive size,
the A4 packed a devastating punch and performed well where speed and
maneuverability were essential.
LTCDR Lawrence D. Gosen was an A4F pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 23
onboard the USS TICONDEROGA. On July 23, 1968, Gosen was launched from the
port catapult in his A4F Skyhawk on a combat RESCAP mission. The aircraft
was observed to rotate slightly, proceed 200 yards directly ahead of the
ship and impact in the water. The aircraft was launched with 16 knots excess
end speed. No landing gear or flap retraction was witnessed, and no radio
transmission was made. The aircraft exploded on impact with the water about
100 yards from the carrier.
(NOTE: Although LTCDR Gosen is listed as lost in South Vietnam, the grid
coordinates carried on file by the Joint Casualty Resolution Center (JCRC)
indicate that the position of loss was well into the Gulf of Tonkin, at
approximately 180N latitude. No reason for this discrepancy can be
When search and rescue efforts were conducted, LTCDR Gosen's helmet was
recovered. Some of his teeth were imbedded in the helmet. Clearly, Gosen did
not survive the crash of his aircraft. He is listed with honor among those
Americans who are still prisoner, missing, or unaccounted for because his
body was not recovered.
For LTCDR Gosen, death seems a certainty. For hundreds of others, however,
simple answers are not possible. Adding to the torment of nearly 10,000
reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia is the certain
knowledge that some Americans who were known to be prisoners of war were not
released at the end of the war. Others were suspected to be prisoners, and
still others were in radio contact with would-be rescuers when last seen
alive. Many were known to have survived their loss incidents, only to
disappear without a trace.
The problem of Americans still missing torments not only the families of
those who are missing, but the men who fought by their sides, and those in
the general public who realize the full implication of leaving men
unaccounted for at the end of a war.
Tragically, many authorities believe there are hundreds of Americans still
alive in captivity in Southeast Asia today. What must they be thinking of
us? What will our next generation say if called to fight if we are unable to
bring these men home from Southeast Asia?