KNAPP, HERMAN LUDWIG Name: Herman Ludwig Knapp Rank/Branch: O4/USAF Unit: 433rd Tactical Fighter Squadron, Ubon AF TH Date of Birth: 11 April 1929 Home City of Record: Rosemont NJ - Correct town is Roselle, NJ. See Note Date of Loss: 24 April 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 205300N 1051000E (WJ173090) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4C Refno: 0648 Others In Incident: Charles D. Austin (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. NETWORK. REMARKS: SURVIVAL UNLIKELY SYNOPSIS: Charles Austin was lucky. All his life, according to his sister, Judy, he always managed to get out of tough situations. "He was like Houdini", she said. On April 24, 1967, Charles Austin's luck ran out. On that day, Austin was serving as bombardier/navigator onboard Maj. Herman L. Knapp's F4C Phantom fighter/bomber. The aircraft was the lead in a flight of four dispatched from Ubon Airfield, Thailand on a strike mission over Vietnam. The strike was on a five-span bridge four miles north of the center of Hanoi. The raid's purpose was to sever North Vietnam's rail links with Communist China. An electrical transformer station seven miles north of Hanoi was also attacked. During the strike, Knapp and Austin's aircraft was struck by a flak burst, disintegrated, and two large pieces of flaming wreckage were seen to strike the ground in a fireball. No parachutes were seen and no beepers were heard. Nevertheless, it was apparently believed that Knapp and Austin may have exited the aircraft, as both men were classified Missing in Action, rather than Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered. Eleven years later, based on no information to indicate the two were alive, they were administratively declared dead. Austin and Knapp are among over 2300 Americans who remain missing from American involvement in Southeast Asia. Unlike "MIA's" from other wars, most of these men could be accounted for, dead or alive. Were it not for nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia, missing men like Knapp and Austin could be forgotten. But many officials who have seen these largely classified reports, believe there are still hundreds of Americans alive in captivity in Southeast Asia. As long as even one man is alive, we owe him our very best efforts to bring him home.
Thank you for running loveletters. I had forgotten I had sent you something on another MIA Herman Ludwig Knapp until a person doing a Google search saw my letter in Vol 5 and contacted me. Knapp was erroneously listed as a resident of Rosemont NJ instead of Roselle, NJ When some students in NJ organized a MIA plaque drive (With each town getting a plaque in the name of a MIA for a public ceremony) I was contacted by the Mayor to find out who this guy was as nobody had heard of him. Using his birthday I guessed when he would have graduated if he had gone to our public high school. Sure enough I found his picture in the 1947 yearbook and his permanent student record card in our files. Last week I was contacted by a person who had worn Knapps bracelet ( I still wear Dugans on Memorial Day) and was curious on any information. We have a Memorial Plaque in town at our library and we plan to enter Knapps name when we figure out how to do it. In the meantime his MIA plaque is in the Marine Corps Jr ROTC room at Abraham Clark High School and Dugans is in Roselle Catholic along with the special one we had made last year. That was has his picture in his flight suit. A little extra "war story" to share with you. About ten years ago when I was a councilman I got a complaint from a citizen that we were flying a "Black Liberation" flag just below the American flag at town hall and he was very upset. It was the POW/MIA flag. As a teacher I can assure you that to the present generation Vietnam is as far back in history as World War II was to baby boomers like me, and for many of them as significant as the Boxer rebellion which also occurred "back in the day"(a favorite term of theirs). Congratualations on the work you do for no one is truly gone until they are forgotten.