NICKERSON, WILLIAM BREWSTER Name: William Brewster Nickerson Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy Reserves Unit: Attack Squadron 85, USS KITTY HAWK (CVA 63) Date of Birth: 17 March 1942 (Boston MA) Home City of Record: Stamford CT (or Fairfield CT) Date of Loss: 22 April 1966 Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water Loss Coordinates: 183258N 1055959E (XF055511) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 5 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A Refno: 0311 Other Personnel in Incident: Robert F. Weimorts (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 KITTY HAWK was on duty in Vietnam as early as 1964 and had 131 combat sorties to its credit by the end of 1965, and many more through the remaining years of the Vietnam war. The KITTY HAWK was one of the Forrestal-class "super" carriers, and could operate up to ninety aircraft from her angled deck. One of the aircraft launched from the decks of the KITTY HAWK was the Grumman A6 Intruder. The Intruder is a two-man all weather, low-altitude, carrier-based attack plane, with versions adapted as aerial tanker and electronic warfare platform. The A6A primarily flew close-air-support, all-weather and night attacks on enemy troop concentrations, and night interdiction missions. Its advanced navigation and attack system, known as DIANE (Digital Integrated Attack navigation Equipment) allowed small precision targets, such as bridges, barracks and fuel depots to be located and attacked in all weather conditions, day or night. The planes were credited with some of the most difficult single-plane strikes in the war, including the destruction of the Hai Duong bridge between Hanoi and Haiphong by a single A6. Their missions were tough, but their crews among the most talented and most courageous to serve the United States. LTCDR Robert F. Weimorts and LTJG William B. Nickerson were pilots assigned to Attack Squadron 85 onboard the USS KITTY HAWK. On April 22, 1966, the two were assigned a combat air reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. Weimorts was the pilot of their A6A while Nickerson served as the Bombardier/Navigator. Immediately following roll-out from the bombing run on a target near the city of Vinh in Ha Tinh Province, the wingman observed Weimorts' aircraft impact into the water, about 5 miles offshore. The cause of the crash was unknown. Neither Weimorts nor Nickerson was seen to eject. No survivors or remains were recovered. Weimorts and Nickerson are listed with honor among the Americans still prisoner, missing or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia because his body was 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. Distractors 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?