McCORMICK, JOHN VERN Remains Returned 06 April 1988 Name: John Vern McCormick Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy Unit: Attack Squadron 144, USS TICONDEROGA (CVA 14) Date of Birth: 12 December 1939 (Saginaw MI) Home City of Record: Burt MI Date of Loss: 01 December 1965 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 205757N 1062257E (XJ437188) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4C Refno: 0199 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. NETWORK 1998. REMARKS: 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. Among the aircraft launched from the decks of the TICONDEROGA was Douglas Aircraft's A4 Skyhawk. The Skyhawk was an inexpensive, lightweight attack and ground support aircraft. The design emphasized low-speed control and stability during take-off and landing as well as strength enough for catapult launch and carrier landings. The plane was so compact that it did not need folding wings for aboardship storage and handling. In spite of its diminutive size, the A4 packed a devastating punch and performed well where speed and maneuverability were essential. LTJG John V. McCormick was a Skyhawk pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 144 onboard the aircraft carrier USS TICONDEROGA. On December 1, 1965, LTJG McCormick launched in his Skyhawk on a strike mission against the Hai Duong bridge near Hai Duong, North Vietnam. While in a dive on the target, McCormick's aircraft was hit by suspected 57mm anti-aircraft fire and seen to crash in a clear area about 1/2 mile west of the target. The crash site was between the Rang and Thi Binh Rivers, approximately 6 kilometers northwest of Hai Duong City, Hai Duong Province, North Vietnam. Other pilots in the area stated that the aircraft disintegrated in the air and the pilot was killed instantly. No parachute was seen. No search was initiated due to the hostile environment of the crash site. McCormick was initially placed in a status of Missing in Action and during this period he was advanced in rank to Lieutenant. His status was subsequently changed to Killed in Action. In the years since the end of the war, McCormick's name and information related to his loss have been given to the Vietnamese in the hopes that they would help find his remains. On April 6, 1988, the U.S. was given skeletal remains of several suspected U.S. servicemen. Vietnam's tentative identification did not list LT McCormick. The Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii later notified Naval Personnel Command that a positive identification had been made on one of the sets of remains, and that it correlated to McCormick. John V. McCormick was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on August 5, 1988. Disturbing testimony was given to Congress in 1980 that the Vietnamese "stockpiled" the remains of Americans to return at politically advantageous times. How many are waiting, in a casket, for just such a moment? Even more disturbing are the nearly 10,000 reports received by the U.S. relating to Americans missing in Southeast Asia. Many authorities who have examined this information (largely classified), have reluctantly come to the conclusion that many Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia. Who are they? Perhaps the most compelling questions when remains are returned are, "Is it really who they say it is?", and "How -- and when -- did he die?" As long as reports continue to be received which indicate Americans are still alive in Indochina, we can only regard the return of remains as Vietnam's politically expedient way to show "progress" on accounting for American POW/MIAs. As long as reports continue to be received, we must wonder how many are alive. As long as even one American remains alive, held against his will, we must do everything possible to bring him home -- alive.