Remains Returned 21 December 1975

Name: Jesse Taylor, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 163, USS ORISKANY (CVA 34)
Date of Birth: 16 January 1925
Home City of Record: Los Alamitos CA
Date of Loss: 17 November 1965
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 203659N 1063958E (XH736804)
Status (in 1973): Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A1H
Refno: 0193

Other Personnel in Incident: Roy H. Bowling (remains returned)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 May 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: The USS ORISKANY was a World War II-era carrier on duty in Vietnam
as early as 1964. The ORISKANY at one time carried the RF8A (number 144608)
flown by Maj. John H. Glenn, the famous Marine astronaut (and later Senator)
flew in his 1957 transcontinental flight. In October, 1966 the ORISKANY
endured a tragic fire which killed 44 men onboard, but was soon back on
station. In 1972, the ORISKANY had an at-sea accident which resulted in the
loss of one of its aircraft elevators, and later lost a screw that put the
carrier into drydock in Yokosuka, Japan for major repairs, thus delaying its
involvement until the late months of the war.

There were many strikes in the "Iron Triangle" area of Vietnam - Hanoi,
Haiphong and Thanh Hoa - in the early weeks of ROLLING THUNDER operations in
1965. The Air Wing 16 commander, CDR Harry T. Jenkins, Jr. had been captured
four days when when the Saints of Attack Squadron 163 launched on a strike
on the Hai Duong Bridge halfway between Hanoi and Haiphong in North Vietnam
on November 17, 1965. On that day, a number of aircraft launched from the
ORISKANY inlcuding LCDR Roy H. "Hap" Bowling, the squadron's operations
officer and the pilot of an A4E Skyhawk light attack aircraft.

LTCDR Bowling was flying a high speed, low-level retirement after attacking
the target near the city of Hai Duong, Hai Hung Province, North Vietnam,
when his wingman, flying immediately behind him, observed the starboard
horizontal stabilizer fly off the aircraft, having been hit by enemy fire.
The aircraft then rolled to the right and flew into the ground.

A third pilot in the flight momentarily observed a deployed parachute at an
altitude of about 100 feet. A fourth pilot in the flight flying past the
parachute a few seconds later stated he saw the pilot hanging in the
parachute appeared limp, and was not wearing his helmet. About a minute
later, two airborne pilots observed a collapsed parachute on the ground in
the vicinity of a well-populated area. One pilot saw what he described as
"an inert form" under the collapsed parachute. The pilot stated that within
three minutes time, the parachute had disappeared.

Although search and rescue efforts in Vietnam were the best history had
seen, only one out of six Americans shot down in the Iron Triangle region
who were alive on the ground were rescued. The area was heavily populated,
and villagers were eager to seize "air pirates" who came their way. It was
also common for entire aircraft to be carried away, piece by piece, in an
amazingly short period of time to reappear as parts of huts, souvenirs, or
melted into a variety of objects.

Two other officers from VA 163, Eric Shade and Jesse Taylor, Jr., went in to
reconnoiter Bowling's position to see if there was a chance he could be
extracted by helicopter. Both Shade's and Taylor's A1H aircraft were hit by
enemy fire. Shade luckily made it out safely. Taylor's aircraft crashed. It
was deemed that he was killed in the crash.

Intense enemy anti-aircraft fire in the area precluded a prolonged search
effort and the search was terminated within 20 minutes of the initial
incident. Bowling was not declared dead, however, but Prisoner of War. He
was maintained in that status until the war ended.

When 591 Americans were released from Vietnamese prisoner of war camps in
1973, Bowling and Taylor were not among them. The Vietnamese denied any
knowledge of the two naval officers.

Then in 1975, the Vietnamese, in a gesture of "good will" presented the
remains of Jesse Taylor Jr. to the U.S. The U.S. gratefully accepted the
"gift" of remains which should have been returned years before.

Then on March 18, 1977, the remains of Hap Bowling were given to a U.S.
presidentially-appointed commission visiting Hanoi. Roy Bowling's remains
were accepted without question.

A Vietnamese defector stated in Congressional testimony that Vietnam
stockpiles hundreds of sets of American remains. Congress believed him. He
also testified that Vietnam holds live American prisoners, that he had seen
them. Congress says he is lying, although nearly 10,000 reports help
substantiate that Americans are being held alive. The U.S. and Vietnamese
"progress" at a snail's pace, while totally ignoring the tremendous weight
of evidence that their priority should be those Americans still alive as
captives. Meanwhile, thousands of lives are spent in the most tortured state
imaginable - unable to grieve, unable to rejoice. They wait.

Roy H. Bowling was promoted to the rank of Captain during the period he was
maintained Prisoner of War.