PARKER, JOHN JACKSON Name: John Jackson Parker Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy Unit: Attack Squadron 86, USS CORAL SEA (CVA 43) Date of Birth: 12 August 1943 (Savannah GA) Home City of Record: Tallahassee FL Date of Loss: 04 March 1970 Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water Loss Coordinates: 182059N 1075159E (ZF029311) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 5 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A7A Refno: 1566 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 1998. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: The USS CORAL SEA participated in combat action against the Communists as early as August 1964. Aircraft from her squadrons flew in the first U.S. Navy strikes in the Rolling Thunder Program against targets in North Vietnam in early 1965 and participated in Flaming Dart I strikes. The next year, reconnaissance aircraft from her decks returned with the first photography of Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) sites in North Vietnam. The A1 Skyraider fighter aircraft was retired from the USS CORAL SEA in 1968. The CORAL SEA participated in Operation Eagle Pull in 1975, evacuating American personnel from beleaguered Saigon, and remained on station to assist the crew of the MAYAGUEZ, which was captured by Cambodian forces in 1975. 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. One of the aircraft that launched from the decks of the CORAL SEA was the Vought A7 Corsair II. The Corsair was a single-seat attack jet utilized by both the Navy and Air Force in Vietnam, and had been designed to meet the Navy's need for a subsonic attack plane able to carry a greater load of non-nuclear weapons that the A4 Skyhawk. The aircraft's unique design completely freed the wingspace for bomb loading; the Pratt and Whitney jet engine was beneath the fuselage of the aircraft. The Corsair was used primarily for close air support and interdiction, although it was also used for reconnaissance. A Corsair is credited with flying the last official combat mission in the war - bombing a target in Cambodia on 15 August 1973. LT John J. Parker was an A7A pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 86 onboard the USS CORAL SEA. In early March, 1970, the carrier was conducting flight operations in the South China Sea. On March 4, Parker launched in his A7A, and immediately after takeoff, crashed into the sea. A search and rescue helicopter was immediately on the scene, but was unable to find LT Parker. He was initially listed as Missing, but later changed to Reported Dead. (NOTE: Even though Air Force records indicate that the CORAL SEA was conducting flight operations in the South China Sea, Parker's loss coordinates as given by the Defense Department are unquestionably in North Vietnamese waters -- in the Gulf of Tonkin, about 100 miles offshore east of Ha Tinh. Perhaps the carrier was on Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin and dispatching aircraft south.) Parker is 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?