SHEA, MICHAEL JOHN

Name: Michael John Shea
Branch/Rank: United States Marine Corps/O2
Unit: USS HANCOCK HMM 165 MAG 36
Date of Birth: 07 April 1950
Home City of Record: EL PASO TX
Date of Loss: 29 April 1975
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 095532 North  1072006 East
Status (in 1975): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: CH46D
Missions:
Other Personnel in Incident: William Nystul, KIA/BNR
Refno:

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File. Updated in 2001  with info from USMC/Vietnam
Helicopter Association. 2020

REMARKS: KIA, FUEL RAN OUT DURING EVAC CRASH IN S CHINA SEA

==============================

From - Sun Feb 06 18:22:06 2000
From: "Alan H. Barbour" <popasmoke@erols.com>

REMARKS SHOULD READ: KIA, SAR CREW FLEW INTO WATER AFTER
NORMAL CARRIER WAVE-OFF ON DARK NIGHT, CRASHED INTO
SOUTH CHINA SEA

"It was late on the night of the 29th and well into the operation when the
CH-46 SAR helicopter crashed into the South China Sea along side of the
Hancock. It was tragic to say the least. Both the pilot, Capt. Bill Nystul
and co-pilot 1Lt Mike Shea were lost at sea. The other 2 enlisted crewman
were rescued (that in itself involved tremendous heroism on the part of Capt
Steve Haley and 1LT Dean Koontz breaking off on deck refueling and executing
a night water landing and taxiing around to pickup the 2 survivors). The
tragedy is that Bill was a new WestPac arrival to Okinawa when we deployed
with all the remaining H-46's and UH-1E's from Futenma [Okinawa]. He had
just completed schooling and was re-famming in the H-46. Mike, as I
remember, was a CH-53 co-pilot. This is the combination that was orbiting
the ship for 4-5 hours and was coming aboard to refuel and launch again!"

"The final approach was waved off, and on downwind (pitch black) they flew
into the water with no apparent awareness that it was happening. They did
not make any distress call or respond to frantic calls from pri-fly!! The
next evening we held the traditional burial at sea service without
recovering the remains. The crash site was located in 65 feet of water, but
because or the immense political pressures to vacate the area, no attempt
for recovery was made. I am positive, according to the time schedule I
alluded to, that these 2 Marines were the final Marine casualties of the
Vietnam War." Submitted by CHIC SCHOENER, Squadron pilot, eyewitness

Alan H. Barbour, President
USMC/Vietnam Helicopter Association
______________________________________________

SAEPE EXPERTUS,  SEMPER  FIDELIS,  FRATRES  AETERNI
"Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"

It was dark and it was late. Twice in the final hour of our flight they were
on final approach to the USS Hancock when they were sent back out to their
orbit point for another possible SAR mission. They were to report when they
were at 30 minutes fuel on board. The pilots on the flight crew had been
flying continuously for ten hours and the aircrew had been up continuously
for seventeen hours when the following happened:

"We were at our SAR orbit point when Capt. Nystul radioed for clearance for
a landing approach back to the USS Hancock. We were down to about 30 minutes
of fuel. We were given the OK to return, refuel and then go back out."

"On our inbound approach, I looked out the rear of the ship and saw a light
at our 6 o'clock position coming in on us. I made it out to be another
aircraft. I told the Captain and I then cleared him for a hard right turn.
That other aircraft missed hitting us by less than a 100 ft.

"For the next 15 minutes there was no conversation in the aircraft, except
for a comment made by Captain Nystul that "Some one is going to die up here
tonight."

"On returning to the ship I was asked if we were clear for a left turn. I
gave the OK and no sooner than that, I heard "Pick it up, Pick it up, Pick
it up." I did not hear "Pull-up" as was stated in the KIA incident report. I
braced myself, thinking that we were about to be in a mid-air with another
aircraft. That day we must have had five or six close calls with other
aircraft; not those of the Marines but of the Vietnamese evacuating Siagon
in various helicopters."

Both Crew Chief Steven Wills and 1st Mech Richard L. Scott survived the
crash after being picked up by another squadron helicopter in a daring
rescue at night.

Submitted by Sgt. Steven R. Wills, USMC (ret), surviving Crewchief, HMM-164.

_____________________________________________

SAEPE EXPERTUS,  SEMPER  FIDELIS,  FRATRES  AETERNI
"Often Tested, Always Faithful, Brothers Forever"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

02/2020

https://dpaa.secure.force.com/dpaaProfile?id=a0Jt0000000BTiPEAW

1STLT MICHAEL JOHN SHEA

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On April 29, 1975, a CH-46D Sea Knight with a crew of four took off from the aircraft carrier USS Hancock (CVA-19) in the South China Sea. After returning from its mission, while attempting to land on the Hancock, the Sea Knight crashed into the sea. The pilot and copilot could not be recovered; the two other crew members, both seriously injured, were rescued.

First Lieutenant Michael John Shea entered the U.S. Marine Corps from Texas and was a member of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 165, Marine Air Group 36, 1st Marine Air Wing. He was the copilot of this Sea Knight when it crashed, and he was lost with the aircraft. His remains were not recovered. Today, First Lieutenant Shea is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Non-recoverable.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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