ROEHRICH, RONALD "L"
Name: Ronald "L" Roehrich
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit: Fighter Squadron 114, USS KITTY HAWK (CVA 63)
Date of Birth: 16 November 1941 (Langdon ND)
Home City of Record: Springdale AR
Date of Loss: 18 January 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 192859N 1065859E (YG081553)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel In Incident: Warren W. Boles (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 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: Lt.JG Warren W. Boles was a pilot assigned to Fighter Squadron 114
onboard the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK. On January 18, 1968, he and his
radar intercept officer (RIO), Lt.JG Ron Roehrich launched in their F4B
Phantom fighter aircraft as the second plane of a two-plane section. Their
assigned mission was as Barrier Combat Air Patrol Mission to protect
friendly air and surface units in the Gulf of Tonkin.
The two aircraft were launched independently and proceeded to their assigned
station separately. Enroute to the station, Boles established radio contact
with his airborne controller and was immediately vectored to investigate an
unidentified surface contact in a threatening position in the Gulf. Boles
descended through a low overcast and positively identified the contact as a
non-hostile, cargo-type ship. Seconds later, radio and radar contact were
lost with Bole's aircraft.
Search and rescue helicopters were immediately sent to the scene and
confirmed, by a fuel slick and debris, that the aircraft had crashed at sea.
Although an exhaustive search was conducted, no survivors were found. The
weather at the scene was about 700 feet overcast with low visibility and it
was very dark.
Final analysis of the accident concluded that Boles apparently became
disoriented while visually trying to identify the surface contact and flying
on instruments and inadvertently collided with the water. The Commanding
Officer believed that Boles had no warning of his impending crash and that
his death was instantaneous.
Boles and Roehrich appear to have perished in the unexplained crash of their
aircraft that January day in 1968. They are among nearly 2500 Americans who
remain missing or unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Thousands of refugee
reports have been received since the war ended which have convinced many
authorities that hundreds of these Americans are still alive. While Boles
and Roehrich may not be among them, one can imagine their cheerfully
accepting one more mission to help guard their flight to safety.