|Name:||John Reginald Shoneck|
|Rank/Branch:||Staff Sergeant/US Air Force|
Air Rescue and Recovery Squadron
DaNang AFB, South Vietnam
|Date of Birth:||27 July 1932|
|Home of Record:||Meriden, CT|
|Date of Loss:||18 October 1966|
|Country of Loss:||North Vietnam (Tonkin Gulf)|
|Loss Coordinates:||175500N 1070900E
Click coordinates to view maps
|Status in 1973:||Missing in Action|
|Other Personnel In Incident:||John H. S. Long, Robert L. Hill, Inzar W. Rackley, Jr., Ralph H. Angstadt, Lawrence Clark, and Steven H. Adams (all missing)|
REMARKS: RADIO CONTACT
SYNOPSIS: The Grumman HU16 Albatross first appeared in the US Air
Force inventory in 1949. It was a fix-wing amphibious aircraft capable
of making vertical recoveries on land or over water, as well as water
landings in daylight and mild sea conditions to rescue downed aircrews.
By the end of 1965, it had saved 70 people, 60 of them combat crews. It
was also used as a command and control aircraft coordinating multi-aircraft
missions. Beginning in 1966, the HU16's, along with other Air Rescue Services
fixed-wing aircraft, were replaced by the Lockheed HC130 Hercules that
was specifically tailored for the global search and rescue mission.
On 18 October 1966, then Maj. Ralph H. Angstadt, pilot, Capt. John H.S.
Long, co-pilot, Maj. Inzar W. Rackley, navigator, TSgt. Robert L. Hill,
flight mechanic; SSgt. John R. Shoneck, flight mechanic; AM1 Stephen H.
Adams, parajumper; and SSgt. Lawrence Clark, radio operator; comprised
the crew of an HU16 search and rescue (SAR) aircraft (serial #51-7145),
call sign "Crown Bravo," carrying an elite Air Force pararescue team.
The Albatross departed DaNang Air Base at 1101 hours to recover a downed
pilot approximately 80 miles off the China coast in the northern sector
of the Gulf of Tonkin.
The last contact with the HU16 was at 1745 hours, and at that time, there
was no indication of any trouble with the aircraft. At 2231 hours, all
contact was lost with the amphibious aircraft in marginal weather conditions.
SAR efforts were immediately initiated, but found now trace of the missing
aircraft or its crew. The last know position of the Albatross placed it
right on the Asian Coastal Buffer Zone, approximately 38 miles east of the
North Vietnamese coastline and 44 miles northeast of the major port city
of Dong Hoi, Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. At the time the formal
search operation was terminated, all seven Americans on board were listed
as Missing In Action. Because there is no record of the identity of the
pilot recovered during this missing, it is believed he was a member of
an allied force rather than US. Interestingly, even though the HU16 was
reported lost over water, which would indicate the men were not recoverable,
several of the crew were carried in categories which indicated they could
have been readily accounted for.
Approximately one year after the loss incident, Steve Adams' family received
a call from an International Red Cross representative who stated that
he was "alive, well and presumed to be in a hospital in Southeast Asia,"
and that "upon exiting the aircraft, his left side had been severely injured."
Shortly after the call, two Air Force casualty officers cautioned the family
strongly "not to listen to outsiders", and that only "government sources"
could be trusted. Steve Adams' brother, Bruce said, "We have always hoped
that what the Red Cross representative said is true. But the evidence is
clear that there ARE Americans still held captive in Southeast Asia. I don't
know if Steve is one of them, but SOMEONE'S brother is. We as a Nation
owe those men our very best effort to secure their release and return. I
could not face myself if I did not do everything in my power to help bring
After Operation Homecoming in 1973, all returning POWs were debriefed
by US intelligence. In addition to general intelligence material, they were
looking for any information pertaining to other Prisoners of War known in
captivity. Although there was no specific information provided about Maj.
Angstadt, US Army MSgt. Harvey G. Brande, who was repatriated on 16 March
1973, reported he personally observed John Long, the Albatross' co-pilot,
as a prisoner held in Hanoi and that Capt. Long was in good physical condition.
He further reported Capt. Long's full name was circulated in the camps and
that the co-pilot was seen in Citadel, Holiday Inn and Vegas prisons by him.
Additionally, Capt. Long was reportedly held with a group of POWs captured
in Laos and moved into North Vietnam. John Long's post-capture photo also
appeared in a photo album compiled by the United States of American POWs
in captivity referred to as "Reference Volume 1." His photo appears on page
Since the end of the Vietnam War well over 21,000 reports of American
prisoners, missing and otherwise unaccounted for have been received by
our government. Many of these reports document LIVE American POWs remaining
captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
Pilots and aircrews in Vietnam were called upon to fly in many dangerous circumstances, and they were prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they so proudly served SYNOPSIS: