Remains Returned September, 1987

Name: Trent Richard Powers
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 164, USS ORISKANY (CVA 34)
Date of Birth: 24 August 1930 (Erie PA)
Home City of Record: Minneapolis MN
Date of Loss: 31 October 1965
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 211900N 1062100E (XJ465585)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War
Category: 1
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A4E
Refno: 0179
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews: 15 March 1990. Updated
by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2020.


SYNOPSIS: On October 31, 1965, LCdr. Trent R. Powers was the lead aircraft
of eight U.S. Air Force F-105s on a combat assault mission over North
Vietnam. LCdr. Powers was flying an A4E aircraft, and launched from the USS
ORISKANY (CVA 34). The flight progressed smoothly until the planes entered
the target area, where they encountered anti-aircraft artillery fire and
surface to air missiles (SAM).

LCdr. Powers was observed making a level bombing run at an altitude of about
200 feet. As the second aircraft pulled off the target, the pilot observed
LCdr. Powers' plane flash as if on fire. The aircraft then turned and
crashed into a karat bridge near or on Ca mountain in Ha Bac Province,
Vietnam. Powers was seen parachuting from the plane, waving to indicate that
he was ok. The area into which Powers parachuted was a heavily populated
valley about 35 miles north of Hanoi and about 1100 meters north of Ngoc
Trac. Although electronic beeper signals were heard for about 30 seconds, no
radio contact was ever established with Lt. Powers. Search and rescue
efforts were called off due to heavy ground fire.

The U.S. Government first placed Trent R. Powers in a Missing in Action
status on October 31, 1965, then January 17, 1967, changed his status to
that of Prisoner of War. By late 1973, the U.S. Government had declared him
administratively dead, for lack of information that he was alive.

The Vietnamese knew what happened to Trent Powers on the day his plane was
shot down. He was alive and uninjured on the ground in a populous area of
North Vietnam. Villagers had instructions to turn over any prisoners or
information to the central government, yet the Vietnamese denied any
knowledge of Powers. The U.S. had placed Powers in Prisoner of War status,
indicating that they had certain knowledge that he was captured. Even though
the U.S. has repeatedly asked the Vietnamese for information concerning
LCdr. Powers, for years there was been no new information regarding his

In May 1987, remains were returned to U.S. control by the Vietnamese.
Co-mingled with these remains were three teeth that were positively
identified as being those of Trent Powers. In late November 1987, the
Vietnamese returned remains they said were those of Trent R. Powers. The
remains were subsequently examined and it was announced on February 8, 1988
that the remains were indeed those of Powers. He was buried in Chan Hassen,
Minnesota on April 15, 1988.

Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports have been received regarding
Americans still missing, prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Many
experts believe that there are still hundreds of them alive in captivity.

For 22 years, Trent Powers was a prisoner of war. Whether he was alive any
or all of those years is unknown. But, apparently, the U.S. and Vietnamese
are not interested in resolving the cases of those said to be still alive.
What must they be thinking of their country? Will they, too, return home
dead? Or will we do what is necessary to bring them home alive?