Remains Returned 890731

Name: David Allen Kardell
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: Fighter Squadron 154, USS CORAL SEA (CVA43)
Date of Birth: 12 June 1939
Home City of Record: Sonoma CA
Date of Loss: 09 May 1965
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 194158N 1052658E (WG471781)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8D
Refno: 0083
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 1998.


SYNOPSIS: The Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in
Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of
Tonkin reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North
Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively
by the Navy and Marine air wings and represented half or more of the carrier
fighters in the Gulf of Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The
aircraft was credited with nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam.

The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were
the C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie
carried only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions
as CAP (Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a
heavier reinforced wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were
used to attack ground targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo
version launched with less fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and
frequently arrived back at ship low on fuel.

The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar
fighters. Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or
destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader
pilots were recovered; 47 were not. Fourteen of these pilots were captured
and released. The other thirty-three remained missing at the end of the
war.The breakdown of those not recovered is as follows:

A/C     Total    Number            Number MIA/Released by Year
Model   Lost    MIA/RELSD  1965  1966  1967  1968  1969  1970  1971  1972
F8E      28      18/10      4/3   5/3   6/3   4/0   ---   ---   ---   ---
F8C       7       4/3       ---   1/0   3/3   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---
F8D       6       5/1       5/1   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---
F8J       4       4/0       ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   1/0   1/0   1/1
F8H       2       2/0       ---   ---   ---   1/0   1/0   ---   ---   ---

Lt. David A. Kardell was the pilot of an F8D Crusader assigned to Fighter
Squadron 154 on board the USS CORAL SEA. On May 9, 1965 Kardell and Lt. Jack
Terhune were providing fighter protection for a flight of attack aircraft on
a road reconnaissance mission in North Vietnam. The target area was just
inside Thanh Hoa Province, about 10 miles southwest of Co Dinh near the Nghe
An Province border. Toward the end of the flight, the attack planes spotted
a military vehicle which they did not want to attack with bombs because it
was too near a populated area. The leader of the attack planes called for
assistance in destroying the vehicle. Lieutenant Kardell initiated a
strafing attack against the target, with Lieutenant Terhune following. His
attack was right on target, but instead of pulling out at a safe altitude,
his plane was observed to continue its dive until it impacted with the
ground and exploded. It is not known whether his plane was hit by ground
fire or some other malfunction developed during the dive. There was no radio
transmission indicating that he was experiencing trouble, nor did the pilots
on the scene receive any answer to their transmission telling Lieutenant
Kardell to pull up. Lieutenant Terhune, his wingman, witnessed the entire
dive and was certain that Lieutenant Kardell had not ejected. He searched
the area thoroughly for a parachute or other signs of survival, with
negative results.

Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing,
prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S.
Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive
today. Fighter pilots in Vietnam were called upon to fly in many dangerous
circumstances, and were prepared to be wounded, killed, or captured. It
probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country
they proudly served.

On July 31, 1989, the Vietnamese returned the remains of Capt. David
Kardell. For over 20 years, they had denied knowledge of his fate, even
though his aircraft went down in an area relatively teeming with enemy
movement. His family can at last be assured that he was dead, and not among
the many Americans thought to be still alive in Southeast Asia. For many
other families, however, the wait continues.