PERISHO, GORDON SAMUEL
Name: Gordon Samual Perisho
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: VA 75, USS KITTY HAWK (CVA 63)
Date of Birth: 07 March 1939 (Panama, Canal Zone)
Home City of Record: Quincy IL
Date of Loss: 31 December 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 184200N 1053700E (WF650675)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident: John D. Peace (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 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: 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.
LCDR John D. Peace III was an Intruder pilot and LT Gordon S. Perisho his
Bombardier/Navigator; both were assigned to the 75th Attack Squadron onboard
the KITTY HAWK. On December 31, 1967, Peace and Perisho were launched from
the carrier on a mission to strike a cave storage area in Vinh, North
The storage area was heavily defended by light and medium anti-aircraft fire
as well as automatic weapons. It was also covered by one known
surface-to-air missile (SAM) site. Weather enroute to the target and
retirement areas was overcast, with visibility of three to five miles. The
elevation of the target area was approximately 30 feet with ridges along the
route extending up to 2,200 feet.
Shortly after launch, the aircraft experienced radio difficulties and
requested that another aircraft relay his position crossing the coastline
inbound on his attack. This was accomplished and Perisho proceeded on his
At approximately 1430 hours, the aircraft gave an "execute" transmission
which activated electronic counter-measures (ECM) support in the target
area. This was the last transmission received from him. The aircraft was
tracked by radar just north of Vinh and then disappeared from the radar
scope at approximately 1431 local time.
Rescue aircraft were vectored immediately to within eleven miles of the last
known position of Peace's and Perisho's aircraft. However, no distress or
emergency radio beeper signals were received. The rapidly deteriorating
weather precluded rescue aircraft from proceeding further inland. Electronic
surveillance was later initiated. At no time was any emergency transmission
heard by any of the search and rescue aircraft.
Both Perisho and Peace were declared Missing in Action. Beyond that, no one
knows their fate. There clearly exists the opportunity for the two to safely
eject and be captured. The area in which their aircraft crashed was heavily
defended and densely populated.
Over 10,000 reports relating to Americans prisoner, missing and unaccounted
for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government since 1975.
A Pentagon panel concluded in 1986 that there were at least 100 men still
alive. Peace and Perisho could be among these men. How much longer must they
wait for this country to bring them home?
Peace and Perisho represent America's best. Perhaps they perished on that
day in December 1967, but perhaps not. Can we afford to abandon our best
men? They must be found and brought home.