Name: Joseph Russell Klugg
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: Light Photographic Squadron 63, Detachment 34, USS ORISKANY
Date of Birth: 30 July 1943
Home City of Record: Okemos MI
Date of Loss: 14 November 1970
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 170958N 1090458E (BU961988)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: RF8G
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Refno: 1676

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.


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 RF models were equipped for
photo reconnaissance.

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; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and
released. The other 43 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/RLSD  1964  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   ---   ---   ---
RF8A     8       5/3      1/1   4/0   0/2   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---   ---
RF8G     8       5/3      ---   ---   1/0   1/1   1/1   1/0   1/0   ---   0/1

Lt. Joseph R. Klugg was a pilot assigned to Light Photographic Squadron 63,
Detachment 34, onboard the aircraft carrier USS ORISKANY (CVA 34). At 3:03
p.m. on November 14, 1970, Lt. Klugg was preparing to launch in his RF8G
Crusader. During the catapult launch, the aircraft's right tire blew and the
starboard main landing gear collapsed, causing the aircraft to roll to the
right and skid off the end of the carrier.

Lt. Klugg had the presence of mind to initiate a seat ejection from the
aircraft as it rolled off the deck, but he did not have enough height to
separate from the ejection seat prior to impacting the water. Either the
weight of the ejection seat took him down too quickly for him to recover or
he sustained injuries rendering him unable to surface. No trace of Klugg was

Lt. Klugg is listed with honor among the missing in Southeast Asia because
his remains were never recovered. His carrier was over 100 miles offshore,
just north of the DMZ, and this death is not considered battle-related. For
Klugg's family, some peace can be had from the fact that his death was
witnessed. For many others who are missing, however, final answers are not
so simple. Many were known to have been alive at the time they disappeared.
Some were actually photographed in captivity, only to disappear.

Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports have been received relating to
Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many authorities believe there are
hundreds of Americans still alive today in captivity. Tragically, these men
willingly served their country honorably and faithfully, and were abandoned
by the country they served. It's time we brought our men home.





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Lieutenant Joseph Russell Klugg, who joined the U.S. Navy from Michigan, was a member of Light Photographic Squadron 63, embarked aboard the USS Oriskany (CVA 34). On November 14, 1970, he was the pilot of a single-seat RF-8G Crusader (bureau number 145624) that was scheduled to launch from the Oriskany, located in the South China Sea, for a photo reconnaissance mission. During the catapult launch from the carrier, a malfunction occurred, causing the aircraft to skid off the deck and crash into the water. Rescue teams searched the wreckage, but were unable to find LT Klugg’s remains. He is still unaccounted for. Today, Lieutenant Klugg 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.

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