Name: Kenneth Keith Knabb, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 106, USS INTREPID
Date of Birth: 26 March 1938
Home City of Record: Wheaton IL
Date of Loss: 21 October 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 181000N 1060500E (XF154100)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4E
Refno: 1307
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 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: 15
March 1990. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2020.


REMARKS: The McDonnell Douglas A4 Skyhawk was intended 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.

Lt.Cdr. Kenneth K. Knabb Jr. was a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 106
onboard the USS INTREPID (CVA 11). On October 21, 1968, he launched on a
combat mission into North Vietnam. As he was entering a strafing run from
approximately 6,500 feet, his aircraft was apparently hit by SAM or
anti-aircraft fire. The next sight of the aircraft was as it exploded into a
fireball on the ground. Knabb's target was about 10 miles southeast of the
city of Ha Tinh in the province of the same name.

Other pilots in the flight saw no parachute in the air, but a partially
deployed parachute was sighted on the ground in the vicinity of the crash.
No emergency radio beeper signals were heard, and it was unclear whether
Knabb survived. He was placed in Missing in Action status.

The Defense Intelligence Agency further expanded Knabb's status to include
an enemy knowledge ranking of 2. Category 2 indicates "suspect knowledge"
and includes personnel who may have been involved in loss incidents with
individuals reported in Category 1 (confirmed knowledge), or who were lost
in areas or under conditions that they may reasonably be expected to be
known by the enemy; who were connected with an incident which was discussed
but not identified by names in enemy news media; or identified (by
elimination, but not 100% positively) through analysis of all-source

Kenneth Knabb did not return home. He remained among some 3,000 Americans
who were unaccounted for at the end of the war. Through the years the
numbers have dwindled to just over 2300 from the return of remains and case
resolutions. Since the war ended, however, hope that many of these men could
be alive still has been fueled by an ever-constant flow of refugee reports
relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many authorities who have
examined this classified data believe hundreds of Americans are still alive.

Whether Kenneth Knabb is one of those thought to be still alive is unknown.
What seems certain is that as long as one American remains alive, held
against his will, this country, which sent him to war, has a moral and legal
obligation to achieve his freedom and bring him home.




Return to Service Member Profiles


Lieutenant Kenneth Keith Knabb Jr., who joined the U.S. Navy from Illinois, served with Attack Squadron 106 aboard the USS Intrepid (CV 11). On October 21, 1968, he was piloting a single-seat A-4E Skyhawk (bureau number 151160) that took off from the Intrepid as the number two aircraft in a flight of three on a strike mission over enemy targets in North Vietnam. After successfully striking the primary target, the flight conducted armed reconnaissance along enemy lines of communication en route to the coast. Lieutenant Knabb located a large truck while over Ha Tinh Province and received permission to attack it as the lead aircraft. As he radioed that he was directly over the target, his Skyhawk was hit by enemy fire and crashed and exploded. Other pilots in the flight did not see a parachute in the air, but noticed a partially deployed parachute was seen near the crash site.  Enemy activity prevented possible search and rescue missions. Further attempts to locate LT Knabb were unsuccessful. After the incident, the Navy promoted LT Knabb to the rank of Commander (CDR). Today, Commander Knabb is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Non-recoverable.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

Service member profile discrepancy? Please help us ensure the accuracy of each profile by submitting documentation about a service member profile.