TROMP, WILLIAM LESLIE 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 2014. REMARKS: NO GOOD INFO EVER CAPTURED 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 safety. 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 information. 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.