Name: John Richard McDonough
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy Reserves
Unit: Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron VAW-13 Det 1, USS JOHN HANCOCK (CVA 19)
Date of Birth: 10 May 1939 (Newark NJ)
Home City of Record: South Orange NJ
Date of Loss: 20 June 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 174459N 1072958E (YE650641)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: EA1F
Refno: 0365
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 2007 with information from  2020


SYNOPSIS: The USS HANCOCK first saw action in Vietnam when aircraft from her
decks flew strikes against enemy vessels in Saigon Harbor in late 1944. The
Essex class carrier, extensively modernized, returned to Vietnam during the
early years of the Vietnam war. The attack carriers USS CORAL SEA, USS
HANCOCK and USS RANGER formed Task Force 77, the carrier striking force of
the U.S. Seventh Fleet in the Western Pacific. The HANCOCK was the smallest
type of flattop to operate in the Vietnam theater, but pilots from her
fighter and attack squadrons distinguished themselves throughout the
duration of the war. On June 12, 1966, Commander Hal Marr, the CO of VF-211
gained the first F8 Russian MiG kill.

One of the aircraft which launched from the decks of the HANCOCK was the
EA1F. The Douglas A1 Skyraider ("Spad") is a highly maneuverable, propeller
driven aircraft designed as a multipurpose attack bomber or utility
aircraft. The E model generally carried two crewmen. 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 in a variety of roles, ranging from multi-seat electronic intelligence
gathering to Navy antisubmarine warfare and rescue missions. The venerable
fighter aircraft was retired in the spring of 1968 and had flown in more
than twenty model variations, probably more than any other U.S. combat

LT John R. McDonough was a pilot assigned to Carrier Airborne Early Warning
Squadron 13, Detachment 1 onboard the USS HANCOCK. On June 20, 1966, LT
McDonough was on a night catapult launch. During the launch the bridle which
connects the aircraft to the catapult broke. The aircraft las launched off
the bow of the carrier with insufficient airspeed for flight. The aircraft
ditched and sank immediately. An ejection was apparently not attempted by LT
McDonough. Neither McDonough nor the aircraft were recovered. McDonough is
listed among those Americans still prisoner, missing or unaccounted for in
Vietnam because his remains were not found.

(NOTE: Even though the EA1F was not a single-seat aircraft, no mention of
other crewmembers is made in the U.S. Navy account of this incident. It is
assumed that for some reason McDonough was alone in the aircraft, the other
crewmembers were rescued, or the remainder of the crew died and their
remains were recovered.)

For John R. McDonough, 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?




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On June 20, 1966, an EA-1F Skyraider (bureau number 135010, call sign "Robinson 779") with three crew members took off from the aircraft carrier USS Hancock (CVA 19) on a night mission. There was a malfunction during the catapult launch and the aircraft subsequently crashed in the Gulf of Tonkin, in the vicinity of (GC) 48Q YE 650 641. Two of the crew members escaped the sinking aircraft and were rescued. An extensive search of the area was made for the third crew member but was unsuccessful. 

Lieutenant John Richard McDonough entered the U.S. Navy from New Jersey and was a member of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 13, embarked aboard the Hancock. He was the pilot of this Skyraider when it crashed and his remains were not recovered. Today, Lieutenant McDonough 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.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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