Name: Joseph Francis Shanahan
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force, pilot
Unit: 14th TRS
Date of Birth:  DOB of October 15, 1936
Home City of Record: Clinton IA
Date of Loss: 15 August 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 174858N 1062058E (XE450450)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: RF4C
Missions: 192
Other Personnel in Incident: Terrin D. Hicks (missing)

Official pre-capture photo

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project  01 April 1991 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 2019 with information from Justin Jackson-Mann. 


SYNOPSIS: The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served
a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2),
and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission
type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and
high altitudes. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes

Capt. Terrin D. Hicks was the pilot and Capt. Joseph F. Shanahan the
navigator on a reconnaissance version of the Phantom conducting a recon
mission over North Vietnam on August 15, 1968. During the mission, the
aircraft was shot down and crashed about 5 miles east of the city of Ron in
Quang Binh Province. Hicks and Shanahan ejected from the aircraft and talked
during the descent. They landed about a mile apart with a hill between them.
Shanahan was captured immediately and thought he heard a gun battle in
Terry's direction. When Shanahan asked about Hicks in camp, he was told that
Terry had been shot in the leg and was in Dong Hoi hospital.

Hanoi media reported the capture of Hicks, but not Shanahan. On the 1969
list provided to international agencies, Shanahan's name appeared, but not
Hicks'. The U.S. apparently received intelligence that Hicks was dead, but
the nature of this information is not publicly known.

In 1973, Shanahan was released by the Vietnamese, but Hicks was not. Vietnam
denies any knowledge of him. Hicks was never officially declared a Prisoner
of War, but was maintained in Missing in Action status.

When the last American troops left Southeast Asia in 1975, some 2500
Americans were unaccounted for. Reports received by the U.S. Government
since that time build a strong case for belief that hundreds of these
"unaccounted for" Americans are still alive and in captivity.

"Unaccounted for" is a term that should apply to numbers, not men. We, as a
nation, owe these men our best effort to find them and bring them home.
Until the fates of men like Hicks are known, their families will wonder if
they are dead or alive - and why they were deserted.

Terrin D. Hicks was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and Joseph F.
Shanahan to the rank of Major during the period they were maintained Missing
and Prisoner of War.

SOURCE: WE CAME HOME  copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
spelling errors).
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO

Major - United States Air Force
Shot Down: August 15, 1968
Released: March 14, 1973

My pleasure and happiness were overwhelming upon return to my family, my
friends, and my country. When I stepped off the airplane at Clark Air Force
Base in the Philippines, I felt that I had finally returned to the present
from a nightmare that had taken place centuries in the past. I was touched
deeply by the sincere, lovely people who met me at the various airports on my
way home. I am thankful for the support I received from persons all over this
great country - the letters, the bracelets, and the prayers.

The POW is back, but I believe there is more to be done. We must all work for
a complete accounting of the Missing in Action. We must thank, support, and
help the unsung hero of this war - The Gl.

I am continuing my career in the United States Air Force beginning with the
completion of a Master's Degree followed by staff duties.

My heartfelt thanks and love to all of you.

Joseph Shanahan retired from the United States Air Force as a Colonel. He
and his wife Barb live in Florida.