Name: Richard David Brenning
Rank/Branch: Lieutenant/US Naval Reserves


Attack Squadron 112 USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14)  
Date of Birth: 22 April 1944 (Billings, MT)

Home of Record: Lincoln, NE

Date of Loss: 26 July 1969

Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 180600N 1072658E (YF592028)
Click coordinates to view maps  

Status in 1973: Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4C “Skyhawk”

Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing)



The Douglas A4 Skyhawk was a single-seat light attack jet flown by both land-based and carrier squadrons,and was the US Navy’s standard light attack aircraft at the outset of the war. It was the only carrier-based aircraft that did not have folding wings as well as the only one that required a ladder for the pilot to enter/exit the cockpit.The Skyhawk was used to fly a wide range of missions throughout Southeast Asia including close air support to American troops on the ground in South Vietnam. Flying from a carrier was dangerous and as many aircraft were lost in operational incidents”as in combat.

On 26 July 1969, Lt.Richard D.Brenning was the pilot of an A4C Skyhawk (aircraft #147833)that prepared to launch from the deck of the USS Ticonderoga to conduct a strike mission over North Vietnam when his aircraft experienced what the US Navy refers to as an accidental aircraft loss.

At the time the Skyhawk was launched, the aircraft carrier was approximately 6 miles north of the 18th parallel, 59 miles due east of Mui Ron Ma and 63 miles northeast of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam.

During the launch sequence, a malfunction occurred with the ship's catapult system resulting in the Skyhawk not having enough speed to complete a successful launch. The aircraft initially slightly rose from the deck before loosing altitude and ditching in the Gulf of Tonkin. Search and rescue (SAR) helicopters, which are always standing by during flight launch and recovery operations in case of an emergency,were on-site within minutes, but were unable to rescue Lt.Brenning before the Skyhawk sank below the waves.

Navel personnel, using aircraft and small boats, searched the area in which the Skyhawk disappeared on the outside chance the pilot was able to exit the aircraft and swim to the surface. Unfortunately, no trace of Lt. Brenning was found. At the time the initial search effort was terminated,Richard Brenning was declared Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered and probably not recoverable.

While the fate of Richard Brenning is not in doubt, he has the right to have his remains returned to his family and friends, and country if at all possible. Above all else, he has the right not to be forgotten by the nation for which he gave his life.

For other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, their fate could be quite different. 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 America Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.

Pilots 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.