HOFF, MICHAEL GEORGE
|Name: Michael George Hoff
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 86 "Sidewinders", USS CORAL SEA
Date of Birth: 11 September 1936 (Baker OR)
Home City of Record: LaGrande OR (resided in Orange Park FL
Date of Loss: 07 January 1970
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 164300N 1055100E (XD158627)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: (none 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: On January 7, 1970, LtCdr. Michael Hoff was launched from the USS
Coral Sea as the pilot of a Sidewinder A7A Corsair aircraft. His mission was
to perform armed reconnaissance over Laos.
The weather in the area was clear and visibility was about 10 miles. Hoff's
aircraft was completing a strafing run near the city of Sepone when
Commander Hoff radioed that he had a fire warning light and was going to
have to bail out. The flight leader could not see the aircraft at that time.
The leader did sight the aircraft just as it impacted in an area which was
flat with dense vegetation and high trees.
The pilot of another aircraft reported sighting Hoff's aircraft below him,
when it was approximately 2,000 feet above the ground. The aircraft at that
time commenced a roll and, prior to reaching an inverted position, a flash
was observed which was initially thought to be the ejection seat leaving the
aircraft. Immediately afterwards, the aircraft impacted and exploded. No
parachute was seen, nor were emergency transmissions received.
During ensuing search operations, aircraft reported that they received heavy
enemy automatic weapons fire. Two aircraft were able to make repeated low
passes in the crash area looking for a parachute or survivor, but the
results were negative.
Nearly 600 Americans were lost in the country of Laos during the war with
Vietnam. Although the numbers of men actually termed "prisoner of war" are
quite low, this can be explained in understanding the blanket of security
surrounding the "secret war" the U.S. waged in Laos. Only a handful of
publicly exposed cases were ever acknowledged POW, even though scores of
pilots and ground personnel were known to have been alive and well at last
contact (thus increasing the chance they were captured alive).
The Lao communist faction, the Pathet Lao, stated on several occasions that
they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, but the Pathet Lao were not
included in the Paris Peace agreements ending American involvement in the
war. As a consequence, no American POWs held in Laos were negotiated for.
Not one American held in Laos has ever been released. Reports continue to be
received that Americans are alive today, being held captive. They deserve
better than the abandonment they received by the country they proudly
Michael G. Hoff was promoted to the rank of Commander during the period he
was maintained missing.
A symbol made for memories
Hoff - an Orange Park woman whose idea led to the creation of the POW/MIA flag - knows what it's like to learn that your husband's plane has been shot down ...