Remains Returned 14 August 1985 - Family finally accepted after contesting ID

Name: Clemie McKinney
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy Reserves
Unit: Fighter Squadron 114, USS KITTY HAWK (CVA-63)
Date of Birth: 25 April 1945 (Clarksdale AR)
Home City of Record: Cleveland OH (family in CA)
Date of Loss: 14 April 1972
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 164856N 1065956E
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 4
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E
Refno: 2044

1972 USS Kittyhawk Cruise Book

Other Personnel In Incident: Joseph G. Greenleaf (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: Lieutenants Joseph Greenleaf and Clemie McKinney were pilots
assigned to Fighter Squadron 114 onboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty
Hawk. On April 14, 1972, they launched in their F4E fighter jet for a
bombing mission at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). On the flight, Greenleaf
was the pilot and McKinney was the Radar Intercept Officer.

During their bombing run, the F4 was hit by anti-aircraft fire and was
observed to continue its dive until impact. No ejections were observed. The
crash occurred 1 mile south of Cam Lo village, South Vietnam. Reports at
that time indicated that because the aircraft had taken a direct hit into
the cockpit was involved in a low-level bombing dive as well, that
successful ejection would have been virtually impossible.

On August 14, 1985, the Vietnamese government returned remains purported to
be those of Lt. Clemie McKinney. Although McKinney's family disputed the
finding, the Navy determined the remains to be those of McKinney's in
February 1988. The delay, according to the Navy, was due to an error in
documenting correct biographical and physical information. One of the
objections of the family is the apparent discrepancy of having received a
direct hit in the cockpit, precluding the possibility of recovering any
identifiable remains. Other problems involving the configuration of the feet
bones were questioned.

The difficulty in successfully identifying remains that have withstood the
wearing effects of trauma and years of exposure is recognized, as are
scientific achievements making the near-impossible possible. However,
military errors in identification have had to be reversed in court, and it
is the desire of most POW/MIA family members that a private professional
opinion be obtained before they are able to lay their loved one to rest.

Under the circumstances, it is not clear whether the identification of
Clemie McKinney is accurate. Greenleaf, at least, is still among the
missing. Tragically, reports continue to pour in relating to Americans
prisoner, missing or otherwise unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Many
officials who have reviewed this largely classified information have
reluctantly concluded that hundreds of Americans are still alive in
captivity today.

When the military confirms an identification of remains, that case is closed.
No one is looking for Clemie McKinney. Should a report that he is alive be
received, it will be discounted because he has been proven to be dead.

If there are Americans still alive in captivity in Southeast Asia, no books
should be closed until they are all home. We cannot afford the abandonment
of even one of these men, America's finest sons.

Michael Van Atta
THE INSIDER                                 NOVEMBER 1994

---The U.S. has established a "buy out" policy with Hanoi and a hush
money policy with some MIA families who have caught the U.S. government in a
lie. One such case is that of Lt. Clemie McKinney, a black American, who
went missing on April 14, 1972. Hanoi returned his remains on August 14,
1985 but the U.S. CIL-HI office did not identify the remains until February
1988. The MIA family found in the records of CIL-HI a statement by
anthropologists that, "the date of death was after 1975", so the MIA family
sued and won an out of court settlement for $350,000.00 as hush money-they
were required to sign a non-disclosure agreement, with DIA.

  Thus, if an MIA family can establish that the DIA or military service
told them that there love one dead in combat action and later the U.S.
government produces records that the MIA was in fact alive, in captivity,
there are legal grounds and a legal president set to obtain some of the "buy
out" or hush money. Although the payment of money to an MIA family will not
bring back to life an MIA who died while in captivity it will allow the MIA
families to be compensated for the pain and suffering they were put through
by their own government-who lied to them. Nothing can compensate for the
loss of a love one but be it made clear known that the U.S. government has
set in motion a plan to buy its way out of the POW/MIA quagmire.


Cuban Accountability

.... More than 13 years later, on August 14, 1985, the North Vietnamese returned Lt. McKinney’s remains, reporting that he died in November 1972. However, a U.S, Army forensic anthropologist established the “time of death as not earlier than 1975 and probably several years later.” The report speculated that he had been a guest at Havana’s Los Maristas prison, with his remains returned to Vietnam for repatriation ....................................................................


Subject: Cuban Accountability
"David E. Lovelady" 
Date: 5/4/2015 7:45 AM

Forwarded from my roommate when we were in VF-24 together in the late 70’s on USS Constellation. We were in sister squadrons on USS Kitty Hawk during Vietnam and later flew lots of test flights in the F-14 together during a tour at Pax River.


Cuban Accountability

Clemmy McKinney was a squadronmate of mine and I didn't know until today that he wasn't killed in the shoot down,  as reported. This story makes me mad as hell:

Cuban Accountability

John Lowery — February 10, 2015...




Subject: Bio corrections
Date: Sat, 27 May 2017 16:50:25
From: Jones, J. P. 

To whom it may concern,

I was Joe Greenleaf’s friend and shipmate. May I point out a few errors in his bio,

1. When he was shot down, Joe was flying the J model of the F-4, not the E-model. (The Navy did not operate the E-model; the Air Force did.)

2. He was not lost over water, but over land. The coordinates look accurate on Google Earth, and they are clearly “feet dry” north of Cam Lo.

3. His Radar Intercept Officer that day, Clemie McKinney, was not another pilot, but a Naval Flight Officer (Note the dual anchors of the wings in his official photo. See

These errors also appear in the bio for Clemie McKinney,

Thank you for your attention.


John Paul Jones

CAPT USN (ret.)




Temporarily, I'm appending your comments to both bios.  I need to get some paperwork out of storage from the late 70's/early 80's before "correcting."

I keep running into archived notes that indicate the information listed may have been in  original USG documents. If that is the case, will leave your note and the original information as we have done many times to show the many times the USG had faulty information in incident reports esp as some notes indicate their loss was originally mixed with another incident.  If it is indeed a typo, will get it corrected.

Thank you.

Mary Schantag, Chairman





I will be attaching the information and your note to the bios.... but please see attached  1 of 4   for the information gleaned from numerous old USG/DoD data reports.  If by chance, both names are not shown, the 2nd name was not mentioned in that document set.

Hope it helps show how hard it was/is to get accurate info from USG files on this issue. Decades ago,  incident reports were read over the phone to members of the Last Firebase writing the bios . Families later confirmed what was noted in bios, was what they found in loved one's incident reports. Those reports have never been received in writing by anyone other than family members.


Actual document segments


Dear Ms. Schantag,

I’ve had a look at the documents you sent to me on Tuesday, June 6, as attachments to four messages. Below are the results of my analysis.

1. A document in set 1, entitled “U.S. Citizens … Captured, Missing, Detained etc. DIA PW/MIA Branch,” reports Joe Greenleaf and Clemmie McKinney lost over water adjacent to South Vietnam, as do your bios. According to Google Earth, however, the latitude and longitude reported in that document, 16 40’ 56”N, 106 59’56”E,  is more than 16  miles inland from the coast. The contradiction is therefore evident from the face of the DIA document.

2. The same document Identifies Joe and Clemmie as USN personnel, but reports them lost while flying the E model of the F-4 Phantom, as do your bios. But the E model was operated only by USAF. The Navy owned and operated only the B and J models of the A/C in 1972, and the air wing of which Joe and Clemmie were members, CAG-11, flew only the J model on that deployment.  A document in set 4, entitled “POWS/MIAS,” correctly reports the model of Joe and Clemmie’s aircraft as J -- as does another document in set 4, entitled “Biographic Report.”

3. A document in set 4, “List of [Massachusetts] Casualties Incurred by U.S. Military Personnel” correctly codes Joe’s “SPEC” as 1310, the Navy officer occupation designator code for a Naval Aviator commissioned in the Regular Navy. Another document in set 4, entitled “List of [Ohio] Casualties Incurred by U.S. Military Personnel” correctly codes Clemmie’s “SPEC” as 1325, the Navy officer occupation designator code for a Naval Flight Officer commissioned in the Naval Reserve. Your bio, however, misclassifies Clemmie as a pilot.

4. The document in set 4 entitled “List of [Massachusetts] Casualties Incurred by U.S. Military Personnel” reports Joe’s Branch of Service as N for Navy, but lists him as 1LT, a rank common to the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps at the level O-2, but not the Navy. Elsewhere, Joe’s level of rank is listed as O-3, which would have made him a Lieutenant in the Navy, abbreviated LT. Your bio does not repeat this error.

Thank you for your attention. I hope that the Network can eventually correct these two bios.


John Paul Jones