MADSEN, MARLOW ERLING
Name: Marlow Erling Madsen
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy Reserves
Unit: Attack Squadron 52, USS TICONDEROGA (CVA 14)
Date of Birth: 24 May 1939 (Sioux City IA)
Home City of Record: Minneapolis MN
Date of Loss: 18 January 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 182023N 1073227E (YF685295)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 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 USS TICONDEROGA had first been in Vietnam waters in late 1944
when fighter planes from the TICONDEROGA and the USS HANCOCK flew strike
missions against enemy vessels in Saigon Harbor. The TICONDEROGA, the
fourteenth U.S. aircraft carrier to be built, was on station during the very
early years of the Vietnam war and remained throughout most of the duration
of the war.
The Douglas A1 Skyraider ("Spad") is a highly maneuverable, propeller driven
aircraft designed as a multipurpose attack bomber or utility aircraft. The H
model was a single-seat aircraft. The A1 was first used by the Air Force in
its Tactical Air Command to equip the first Air Commando Group engaged in
counterinsurgency operations in South Vietnam, and later used the aircraft
as escort for rescue units.
LTJG Marlow E. Madsen was a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 52 onboard the
aircraft carrier USS TICONDEROGA. On January 18, 1967 LTJG Madsen was
returning from a combat flight during which his aircraft sustained no
damage. The aircraft broke off and commenced turning down wind for a
straight-in approach. LTJG Madsen was unable to slow the aircraft to landing
speed, even though he had extended landing gear and side dive brakes.
Madsen's aircraft passed from starboard to port just aft of the fantail and
commenced a steep degree angle of bank to port to continue the approach.
After the turn, the side brakes were closed and the aircraft appeared to
steepen its angle of bank. Afterward, the aircraft appeared to stall with
the nose dropping below the horizon, the wings began to level and the pilot
raised the gear and attempted to recover. At about 100 feet the aircraft
appeared to nose down again. Personnel onboard the TICONDEROGA watched
helplessly as the left wing dropped and the aircraft entered the water. The
canopy on the aircraft was closed.
There was no evidence that the pilot added power or that engine or flight
control was a factor, although it was felt that the stall spin was
pilot-induced. The plane guard destroyer and ship's helicopter were on the
scene within one minute and found no trace of the pilot. Weather at the time
of attempted recovery was clear and visibility unlimited.
Since the war ended in Vietnam, refugees have flooded the world, bringing
with them stories of American soldiers still held prisoner in their
homeland. Many authorities now believe that hundreds were left behind as
Madsen did not survive the events of January 18, 1967. His family has
accepted that he is dead. They no longer expect him to come home someday.
But hundreds of families wait expectantly and in the special agony only
uncertainty can bring. Hundreds of men wait in caves, cages and prisons. How
much longer will we allow the abandonment of our best men? It's time we
brought them home.