Name: William Leslie Tromp
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 115, (VA115), USS Kitty Hawk
Date of Birth: 24 August 1941
Home City of Record: Fennville MI
Date of Loss: 17 April 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 181800N 1060859E (XF215236)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner Of War
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A1H
Refno: 0304
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of one or more
of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews: 15 March 1990. Updated
by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2020.


SYNOPSIS: William Tromp an A1 Skyraider pilot assigned to Attack Squadron
115 (VA115) onboard the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CVA 63). On April
17, 1966, he and his wingman launched at 10:00 p.m. on a coastal armed
reconnaissance missio which took them about 150 miles north of the
demilitarized zone (DMZ) near the city of Vinh. A target was located in a
river mouth southeast of Ha Tinh, and after expending his bomb load, Tromp
radioed his wingman not to make his briefed run because there were missiles
in the area. Both aircraft broke off the attack and headed out to sea and

A moment later, Tromp radioed, "I have some kind of emergency..." asked the
wingman to turn on his running lights. Tromp radioed, "I have your lights in
view." At that time, Tromp had turned his aircraft towards the Gulf of
Tonkin for more favorable rescue conditons.

Shortly afterwards, radio contact was lost with the aircraft. Subsequent
searches by both sea and air were conducted, but produced no sign of either
the aircraft or the pilot.

The following weekend, Hanoi announced the capture of three American pilots
on April 17, and it was believed that this report related to William Tromp,
as he was the only U.S. pilot lost that day. In 1973, two of the three
pilots named were released, but Tromp was not, nor did the Vietnamese
account for him.

After 1973, the Defense Department told Tromp's parents that his original
status of Prisoner of War had been "wrong", and he was reclassified Missing
In Action. No further information has been received regarding William Tromp,
although classified information relating to his case has been given to the
Vietnamese for review in hopes that they will be forthcoming with

When the war ended, and 591 Americans were released in Operation Homecoming
in 1973, military experts expressed their dismay that "some hundreds" of
POWs did not come home with them. Since that time, thousands of reports have
been received, indicating that many Americans are still being held against
their will in Southeast Asia. Whether Tromp is among them is not known. What
is certain, however, is that if only one American remains alive in enemy
hands, we owe him our best effort to bring him home.

May 26, 2014
Fennville's William Tromp still among missing from Vietnam War
... identified a target in a river mouth southeast of Ha Tinh and dropped his bomb load, according to information gathered by the P.O.W. Network.




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Lieutenant Junior Grade (LTJG) William Leslie Tromp, who joined the U.S. Navy from Michigan, was a member of Attack Squadron 115. On April 17, 1966, he piloted a single-seat A-1H Skyraider (bureau number 135398, call sign "Arab 511") that launched from the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA 63) as the second of two aircraft on a night coastal armed reconnaissance mission over enemy targets in North Vietnam. After delivering their ordnance to the target, located at the mouth of a river southeast of Ha Tinh, the flight leader received a warning that there had been a surface-to-air missile (SAM) launch in the area. The flight leader then radioed LTJG Tromp to advise him to lose altitude and turn on his lights, and LTJG Tromp responded but his transmission was cut short. He made no further contact and was not seen again, and searches of the area found no sign of LTJG Tromp or his aircraft. Subsequent to the incident, and while carried in the status of missing in action, the U.S. Navy promoted LTJG Tromp to the rank of Lieutenant Commander (LCDR). Today, LCDR Tromp 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 Active Pursuit.

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