SHANAHAN, JOSEPH FRANCIS Name: Joseph Francis Shanahan Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force, pilot Unit: 14th TRS Date of Birth: 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 Category: Acft/Vehicle/Ground: RF4C Missions: 192 Other Personnel in Incident: Terrin D. Hicks (missing) 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. REMARKS: 730314 RELSE BY DRV 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 around. 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 JOSEPH F. SHANAHAN 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.