McKINLEY, GERALD WAYNE
Name: Gerald Wayne McKinley
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy Reserves
Unit: Attack Squadron 215, USS HANCOCK (CVA 19)
Date of Birth: 22 May 1940 (Columbus OH)
Home City of Record: Danbury CT (or Fairfield CT)
Date of Loss: 31 March 1965
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 175659N 1962959E (XE588851)
Status (in 1973): Killed in Action/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.
REMARKS: CRASH ON TGT RUN
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 launched from the HANCOCK was Douglas Aircraft's A1
Skyraider ("Spad"). The Spad is a highly maneuverable, propeller driven
aircraft designed as a multipurpose attack bomber or utility aircraft. The H
model is 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 Gerald W. McKinley was a Spad pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 215
onboard the USS HANCOCK> On March 31, 1965, McKinley was launched on a
bombing mission over Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam.
During the mission near the city of Ron, McKinley was making bombing runs on
a target, when, on his last pass, his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire
and crashed. Search and rescue efforts were unable to locate McKinley. He
was listed Reported Deceased the same day.
McKinley is listed among the prisoners and missing in Southeast Asia because
his remains were never recovered.
Others who are missing do not have such clear cut cases. Some were known
captives; some were photographed as they were led by their guards. Some were
in radio contact with search teams, while others simply disappeared.
Since the war ended, over 250,000 interviews have been conducted with those
who claim to know about Americans still alive in Southeast Asia, and several
million documents have been studied. U.S. Government experts cannot seem to
agree whether Americans are there alive or not. Detractors say it would be
far too politically difficult to bring the men they believe to be alive
home, and the U.S. is content to negotiate for remains.
Over 1000 eye-witness reports of living American prisoners were received by
1989. Most of them are still classified. If, as the U.S. seems to believe,
the men are all dead, why the secrecy after so many years? If the men are
alive, why are they not home?