Name: John Bernard Martin II
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Date of Birth: 10 December 1945
Home City of Record: Upper Montclair NJ
Date of Loss: 16 October 1970
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water ** (see text)
Loss Coordinates: 174758N 1082132E (BK200700) ** (see text)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8J
Refno: 2024
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 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: 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 (although there is one U.S. Air Force pilot
reported shot down on an F8) 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.

Lt. John B. Martin II was the pilot of an F8J conducting a flight over the
Gulf of Tonkin on October 16, 1970. At a point about 40 miles southwest of
Hai Nan Island, Martin's aircraft crashed. There was little hope that he
survived, and he was declared Killed/Body Not Recovered.

(NOTE: Martin's coordinates (174758N 1082132E) definitely place him in the
Gulf of Tonkin offshore from North Vietnam, not South Vietnam. The grids
(BK200700) are also consistent with this area of the Gulf of Tonkin. It is
not known why Martin is listed as having been missing offshore from South

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.




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Lieutenant John Bernard Martin II, who joined the U.S. Navy from New Jersey, served with Fighter Squadron 191 aboard the USS Oriskany (CVA 34). On October 5, 1970, piloting a single-seat F-8 Crusader (bureau number 15-0289), LT Martin was returning to the Oriskany following a night combat air patrol mission. He was waved off on his first approach because the aircraft was too low and lacked proper airspeed. On his second approach, LT Martin dropped his Crusader onto the ship too fast and crashed into the ramp. The aircraft continued down the ramp, slid off the side of the ship, and dropped into the water. Lieutenant Martin sank with the aircraft, and attempts to recover his body were unsuccessful. Today, Lieutenant Martin 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.

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