Name: Charles David Schoonover
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Recon/Attack Squadron 9, USS RANGER (CVA-61)
Date of Birth: 18 September 1931 (Louisville KY)
Home City of Record: Indianapolis IN
Date of Loss: 16 January 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 085446N 1072406E (YQ640860)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: RA5C
Refno: 0232

Other Personnel In Incident: Hal T. Hollingsworth (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: LtCdr. Charles Schoonover was a pilot and Ensign Hal Hollingsworth
a co-pilot of an RA5C Vigilante aircraft assigned to Reconnaissance/Attack
Squadron 9 onboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CVA-61). On January 16,
1966, the two were launched from the carrier on a routine mission.

While the aircraft was airborne, it had mechanical difficulties and crashed
at sea. The accident is listed as having been non-battle related. The USS
Ranger was stationed about 75-100 miles off the coast of South Vietnam,
south southeast of Saigon in the South China Sea.

Hollingsworth and Schoonover are listed with honor among the missing because
no remains were found. Their cases seem quite clear. For others who are
listed missing, resolution is not as simple. Many were known to have
survived their loss incident. Quite a few were in radio contact with search
teams and descri- bing an advancing enemy. Some were photographed or
recorded in captivity. Others simply vanished without a trace.

Reports continue to mount that we abandoned hundreds of Americans to the
enemy when we left Southeast Asia. While Hollingsworth and Schoonover may
not be among them, one can imagine their proud willingness to fly one more
mission to bring in the intelligence needed to secure their rescue and
flight to freedom.

LTCDR Charles D. Schoonover graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1954.




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On January 16, 1966, an RA-5C Vigilante (bureau number 149312) with two crew members attempted a night landing on the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CVA 61) in the South China Sea. As the Vigilante touched down, a shower of sparks from its aft portion was observed. The aircraft then continued off the deck, failed to climb, and impacted the water. No ejections or attempts by the crew to exit the aircraft were observed before it sank. Search and rescue units responded immediately but were unable to recover either crew member.

Lieutenant Commander Charles David Schoonover, who entered the U.S. Navy from Indiana, served with Reconnaissance Attack (Heavy) Squadron 9 and was the pilot of this Vigilante at the time of its loss. He remains unaccounted for. Today, Lieutenant Commander Schoonover 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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