Name: Francis Edward Visconti
Rank/Branch: O3/US Marine Corps
Unit: HMM 362, MAG 36
Date of Birth: 16 November 1934
Home City of Record: Syracuse NY
Date of Loss: 22 November 1965
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 151605N 1085022E (BT720060)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: UH34D
Refno: 0195

Other Personnel In Incident: Thomas E. Douglas; Richard A. Miller; Victor J.
Pirker (all missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 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. NETWORK 2002 with information and corrections provided by Mrs.
Jan Visconti.   2020


SYNOPSIS: On November 22, 1965, Capt. Francis E. Visconti was the pilot of a
UH34D helicopter "wing" on then Capt Sandy Gidonese (deceased) in sections
of 2 helicopters each on the 3rd hop that night on a combat mission in South
Vietnam. Bad weather forced Visconti's aircraft out to sea about halfway
between Chu Lai and Dan Nang, (Quang Ngai province} and he was separated
from the rest of the group.

Also onboard the aircraft were Capt. Richard A. Miller, Cpl. Thomas E.
Douglas, and Cpl. Victor J. Pirker, all from the same unit. The helicopter
went down and all four Marines were classified Missing in Action. The
casualty is listed as battle related, which means the aircraft was probably
hit by enemy fire. The U.S. believes that the Vietnamese could account for
the four men.

There has been no word of any of the crew of that ill-fated chopper since
that day. The Vietnamese have denied any knowledge of them.

Evidence mounts that Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia. There have
been hundreds of eye-witnesses who have said they personally saw them. It is
not known whether any of the crew of the UH34 helicopter survived and are
among those said to be alive and still held prisoner, but someone's brother,
son, husband, or father is alive. We owe them our very best effort to bring
them home.

Richard A. Miller and Francis E. Visconti were promoted to the rank of
Major, Thomas E. Douglas and Victor J. Pirker to the rank of Staff Sergeant
during the period they were maintained missing.


National Alliance of Families
For The Return of America's Missing Servicemen
World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam - Gulf War

Dolores Alfond - 425-881-1499
Lynn O'Shea --- 718-846-4350
Web Site
email --

July 13, 2002                                   Bits N Pieces



If We Hadn't Seen It With Our Own Eyes - we could not possibly convey our
shock at the event witnessed when Lynn O'Shea accompanied POW/MIA family
member J.V. Visconti, wife of Major Francis Visconti, to review Major
Visconti's Marine Corps casualty files at the Doubletree Hotel.   Rather
then try to describe the event ourselves, we will simply post the following
letter, sent by Ms. Visconti, to Michael P. Wardlaw, the head of Navy

[Letter begins]

Re:      Major Francis Edward Visconti, U.S. Marine Corps, POW/MIA, 22
November 1965,
            (incident USMC file review, 20 June 2002,  Doubletree Hotel,
            Crystal City, Virginia, National League of Families Meetings)

Dear Mr. Wardlaw;

As the wife of Major Francis Edward Visconti, a U.S. Marine Corps POW/MIA
since 22 November 1965, I have endured the deceit and deceptions of the USMC
for over 36 years.  However, nothing could have prepared me for the blatant
deception and attempt to withhold information from me, by Ms. Ann Hammers,
assistant head of the USMC Casualty Office.
The event I am about to describe, occurred on 20 June 2002, between 1030 -
1100 hours, at the Doubletree Hotel, in Arlington VA.  We were seated in a
room designated for Marine Casualty File Review, during the recent
government  briefings on POW/MIA matters relating to Vietnam War losses.
The purpose of  my presence there, was to once again, review my husbands
casualty file.

I am forever grateful that I was accompanied to this file review by two
friends, Lynn O' Shea and Rick Will Sr., one of whom witnessed the event I
am  about to describe.  Without a witness, I am sure, I would be
discredited, and  labeled one of the crazy POW/MIA family members who
believe various agencies  within the government have, in the past, and
continue to this day, to  withhold POW/MIA related information, from family

When we arrived, I was the only U.S. Marine Corps POW/MIA family member
present.  The usual social amenities and introductions were done and we were
seated at one of the round tables, provided for family members, to review
their cases.  I was presented a CD and informed that it contained all the
pre-loss records, such as fitness reports and medical records etc.  Mr. Bob
Wagner, acting head, U.S. Marine Corps Casualty, offered some brief
instruction on how to use the CD with a lap top computer, even though I was
acquainted with computer functions.

In the meantime, Ms. Hammers brought 5 dark colored manila folders to the
table, each an inch or two thick.  The files were labeled 1 to 5 with file
number 5 being on top.  Ms. Hammers opened file number 5 and proceeded to
tell us that these files represented post loss documentation.  When she
opened file number 5, it was noticed that two documents, one a single sheet,
the other, a two page stapled document, were laying loose in the folder.

As we spoke, Ms. Hammers appeared to be idly thumbing through the documents.
However, her actions were not as innocent as they appeared.  With a document
in each hand, Ms. Hammers arms soon dropped to her sides and quickly
disappeared behind her back.  When one hand reappeared, ONLY ONE document
(the single page) was returned to the file.  The other document (two pages)
remained behind her back.

The following behavior, exhibited by Ms. Ann Hammers, was done to conceal
information.  Ms. Hammers excused herself, very carefully keeping the
stapled  two page document in her hand, hidden behind her back, making sure
it was  blocked from our view.  Fortunately for me, she was not quite
careful enough.

Ms. Hammers then returned to the rectangular table, in front of the room,
whereupon she thumbed through a stack of papers several inches high, and
BURIED THE DOCUMENT that she had just removed from my husbands casualty
file,  within the stack of papers.

I was stunned!   Aside from the complete lack of respect shown for my
husband, a United States Marine Corps Officer and Gentleman as well as an
accomplished Vietnam War Helicopter Pilot, who served his country proudly, I
have to question, does Ms.    Hammers think I've become a stupid simpleton?
I may be gaining in years and physically disabled, relegating me to the use
of a wheelchair, but my faculties are and always have been, completely

Ms. Hammers actions, were, at the very least, a sign of the complete
contempt  in which the U.S. Marine Corps Casualty Office holds POW/MIA
family members.   At most, her actions were criminal.

When Ms. Hammers re-joined us, at our table, I reminded her that I had
previously requested three (3) complete copies of my husbands file, (a
request she acknowledged by fax response) and asked her when I might be
receiving them   I then told her, (without making an issue of her deceptive
maneuver) that I wanted a copy of the document that she had just removed
from  my husbands file and buried within the pile of papers on the front

She stammered a moment and mumbled something about having to check the
document because of the Privacy Act, for any information that should be
redacted.   Realizing she had been caught red handed, she went back to the
table, retrieved the document from its hiding place and returned to the
table.  She continued to go on about third party information.  In the end, a
Marine Sgt. present in the room, was sent to make a copy of the un-redacted
document for me.

As it turned out, the document was inconsequential to the Major's loss
incident, but important to me.  However, that is not the point.  The point,
is the mindset to withhold information, the mindset to debunk exists to this
day. The total disregard, in which all agencies, from the military branch
casualty offices/officials, up to and including the Defense POW/MIA Office,
hold our POW/MIAs and their families is clear to anyone forced to deal with
those agencies.  They continue to withhold information or evidence from
POW/MIA family members. That is the mindset within the agencies charged with
finding my husband and all our POW/MIAs.

The actions within these agencies, through my own 36 years experience
with this issue, is truly a National disgrace comparable ONLY to the
intentional pain of enemy terrorists, inflicted upon this Nation on "911."

Only God in heaven knows what other truly important information has been
withheld from the Visconti family and the families of other POW/MIAs.  How
many other casualty officers, investigators and analysts are removing
documents from the records?   Maybe they are not as blatant as Ms. Hammers,
doing it right under a family members nose, but, the above described
scenario  proves, that it is done and probably done on a routine basis.

In closing, the actions of Ms. Hammers, is a disgrace to my husband, Major
Francis Edward Visconti, The United States Marine Corps, the men and women
who are now serving this country at home and on the front lines of our

I sincerely hope and expect, the appropriate action be taken, against this
much too powerful person, Ann Hammers and her ilk, to protect our family and
other Marine Corps POW/MIA families from her deceitful ways and actions in
the future

Very truly yours,

J.V. Visconti
wife of Major Francis Edward Visconti
POW/MIA 22 November 1965
[End Letter]

As we said, if we hadn't seen it with our own eyes......

Mrs. Visconti copied this letter to the following individuals, President
George Bush,  Mr. Jerry Jennings, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for
POW/MIA   Affairs,  Mr. Adrian Cronauer, Assistant to the Deputy Assistant
Secretary of  Defense for POW/MIA Affairs,   Senator Bob Graham, Chairman,
Senate Committee on Intelligence,  Senator Bill Nelson,  Senator Bob Smith,
Brig General Stephen T. Johnson, U.S.  Marine Corps, Director,  Manpower
Plans & Policy, Mr. Robert Wagner, Head United States Marine Corps Casualty,
Ms. Dolores Alfond, Chairperson, National Alliance of Families, Ms. Ann
Mills Griffiths, Executive Director, National League of Families.

We, at the National Alliance of Families are appalled by the action of Ms.
Hammers and we endorse Ms. Visconti's request that the appropriate
disciplinary action be taken against Ms. Hammers.  It will be interesting to
see if Ms. Visconti even get a response to her letter.

Perhaps we should be asking - Why does Ann Hammers still have a job?

As Ms. Visconti stated in her letter; "The total disregard, in which all
agencies, from the military branch  casualty offices/officials, up to and
including the Defense POW/MIA Office,  hold our POW/MIAs and their families
is clear to anyone forced to deal with  those agencies.  They continue to
withhold information or evidence from  POW/MIA family members. That is the
mindset within the agencies charged with  finding my husband and all our


Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2002 22:33:46 EST

If ANYONE wants to contace me, feel free to pass on my eamil address, but
inform the person to put "POW/MIA related email" in the subject line...or I
will delete an unfamiliar email...I'm sure u can understand.

Here's Frank's site in case u don't have it...Arlene Marine did a fantastic
job on it.
His Heart Will Go On and On....

Once again God Bless...Semper Fi...SEMPER...jv


Jan "JV" Visconti, wife of POW/MIA Major Frank Visconti  USMC passed away yesterday, April 5th, 2009.   Jan had been in ill health for the last several years.   ....


Lynn O'Shea
Director of Research
National Alliance of Families
for the Return of America's Missing Servicemen
World War II - Korea - Cold War - Vietnam - Gulf Wars




Return to Service Member Profiles

On November 22, 1965, a UH-34D Choctaw (bureau number 147180) carrying four crew members participated in a troop lift of Marines into Trach Tru, a South Vietnamese outpost south of Quang Ngai. On the return trip, heavy enemy fire and declining weather caused hazardous flying conditions. The helicopter flew over water along the shore to avoid enemy ground fire, and the flight was eventually diverted to Chu Lai. The Choctaw made routine radio contact when it was nearing Chu Lai, in the vicinity of (GC) 49P BT 720 060, but was not heard from again after that check-in. Intensive searches failed to find a crash site or any crew members.

First Lieutenant Francis Edward Visconti, who joined the U.S. Marine Corps from New York, served with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 362, Marine Air Group 36, 1st Marine Air Wing. He was the pilot of the Choctaw when it disappeared on November 22, 1965, and his remains have not been recovered. After the incident, the Marine Corps promoted 1stLt Visconti to the rank of Major (Maj). Today, Major Visconti 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.

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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