McCORMICK, CARL OTTIS
Name: Carl Ottis McCormick
Rank/Branch: O5/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 07 January 1928
Home City of Record: Peoria IL
Date of Loss: 06 October 1972
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 161357N 1080958E (AT971966)
Status (in 1973): Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel In Incident: Bruce E. Boltze (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 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: All tactical strike aircraft operating in Southeast Asia had to be
under the control of a Forward Air Control (FAC), who was intimately
familiar with the locale, the populous, and the tactical situation. The FAC
would find the target, order up U.S. fighter/bombers from an airborne
command and control center or ground based station, mark the target
accurately with white phosphorus (Willy Pete) rockets, and control the
operation throughout the time the planes remained on station. After the
fighters had departed, the FAC stayed over the target to make a bomb damage
The FAC also had to ensure that there were no attacks on civilians, a
complex problem in a war where there were no front lines and any hamlet
could suddenly become part of the combat zone. A FAC needed a fighter
pilot's mentality, but but was obliged to fly slow and low in such unarmed
and vulnerable aircraft as the Cessna O1 Bird Dog, the Cessna O2 and the
North American OV10 Bronco.
The OV10 Bronco was among the aircraft most feared by the Viet Cong and NVA
forces, because whenever the Bronco appeared overhead, an air strike seemed
certain to follow. Although the glassed-in cabin could become uncomfortably
warm, it provided splendid visibility. The two-man crew had armor protection
and could use machine guns and bombs to attack, as well as rockets to mark
targets for fighter bombers. This versatility enabled the plane to fly armed
reconnaissance missions, in addition to serving as vehicle for forward air
Air Force LTC Carl O. McCormick was the pilot and CWO Bruce E. Boltze the
spotter in an OV10A Bronco helping to direct Naval gunfire near the city of
Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam on October 6, 1972.
During the operation, the aircraft was seen to explode (cause unknown) and
to fall into the South China Sea where it disintegrated upon impact. A
quantity of debris was recovered, along with partial human remains, but the
remains could not be identified as either McCormick or Boltze.
The Marine Corps states that neither man could have survived the
catastrophic explosion and disintegration of the helicopter. Because their
remains were not recovered, they are carried on the roll of the missing.
For Boltze and McCormick, death seems a certainty. For hundreds of others,
however, simple answers are not possible. Adding to the torment of nearly
10,000 reports relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia is the
certain knowledge that some Americans who were known to be prisoners of war
were not released at the end of the war. Others were suspected to be
prisoners, and still others were in radio contact with would-be rescuers
when last seen alive. Many were known to have survived their loss incidents,
only to disappear without a trace.
The problem of Americans still missing torments not only the families of
those who are missing, but the men who fought by their sides, and those in
the general public who realize the full implication of leaving men
unaccounted for at the end of a war.
Tragically, many authorities believe there are hundreds of Americans still
alive in captivity in Southeast Asia today. What must they be thinking of
us? What will our next generation say if called to fight if we are unable to
bring these men home from Southeast Asia?