Name: James D Hunt
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 52, USS CORAL SEA (CVA 43)
Date of Birth: 01 December 1936
Home City of Record: Missoula MT
Date of Loss: 13 October 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 182600N 1055600E (WF985381)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A
Refno: 1304
Other Personnel In Incident: Quinlen R. Orell (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 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: Commander Quinlen R. Orell was a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron
52 onboard the aircraft carrier USS CORAL SEA. On October 13, 1968, he
launched in his A6A Intruder attack aircraft with his Bombardier/Navigator,
Lt. James D. Hunt, on an armed reconnaissaince mission over North Vietnam.
During their egress from the target area the aircraft passed through an area
of reported anti-aircraft fire. Orell's aircraft was successfully tracked by
U.S. surface ship radar as having crossed the coast and back out to sea.
Immediately thereafter, radar and IFF contact was lost and no further radio
transmissions were received. Search and rescue efforts were unsuccessful.
The last known location of the plane was near the coast of North Vietnam
about 25 miles southwest of the city of Vinh and about 10 miles north of the
city of Ha Tinh. The plane is listed as an over/water loss.
Hunt and Orell were classified Missing in Action, a status which was
maintained for the next ten years. Finally, in 1978, both were declared
Presumed Killed in Action, based on no proof that they were any longer
Thousands of reports of Americans still held in captivity in Southeast Asia
have been received by our government since the war ended in Vietnam. The
evidence suggests that hundreds are still waiting to come home. Detractors
say that the U.S. is ignoring good information on POWs for political
expediency. The U.S. states that proof is not available.
Vice Admiral William F. Bringle, Commander Seventh Fleet once said that the
A6A squadrons contained an abundance of talent, courage and aggressive
leadership. In light of this, the low priority afforded the accounting of
men like Orell and Hunt is an appalling signal of American indifference.
There are nearly 2500 Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Unlike "MIAs"
from other wars, most of these men and women can be accounted for. It is not
known if Hunt and Orell have a chance of surviving their crash and the years
since. The overwhelming priority must be for those who are alive. Every
effort must be made to free them and bring them home.
During the period they were maintained missing, Quinley R. Orell was
promoted to the rank of Captain, and James D. Hunt was promoted to the rank
of Lieutenant Commander.