|Name:||Carrol Owen Crain, Jr.|
USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63)
|Date of Birth:||13 May 1933 (Memphis, TN)|
|Home of Record:||Memphis, TN|
|Date of Loss:||08 March 1967|
|Country of Loss:||North Vietnamì./Over Water|
|Loss Coordinates:||175500N 1064000E (XE818816)|
|Status in 1973:||Missing in Action|
|Other Personnel In Incident:||Ronald E. Galvin and George F. Pawlish (missing)|
REMARKS: RADIO CONTACT LOST
SYNOPSIS: The Douglas RA3B was the reconnaissance version of the venerable A3 Skywarrior attack bomber. Operating from DaNang Airbase, South Vietnam and Don Muang Airbase, Thailand, the RA3s provided surveillance along the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail with their infrared and video real-time cameras. Working with attack aircraft from the carrier air groups, the Skywarrior "fingered" the truck traffic for the bombers during the night when they were moving and during the day when they were hiding. They also carried COIR (camouflage detection) film that could detect the difference between living and dead foliage thereby spotlighting camouflaged enemy truck parks. Other conversions of the Skywarrior, which was nicknamed the "whale" because of its size, included airborne jamming and refueling tanker.
On 8 March 1967, then Lt. Cmdr. Carrol O. Crain, Jr., pilot; Lt. JG Pawlish, co-pilot; and ATC Galvin, aviation electronics technician, launched from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) to conduct a night mining mission in North Vietnam. Since the Skywarrior's mission deep in enemy held territory, it was provided with fighter escort as protection against enemy aircraft attack.
The Skywarrior's launch was normal and contact was maintained with the aircrew for 20 minutes. The last radio contact was made at 2020 hours when the aircraft was passing over the northern edge of Hon Gio Island approximately 13 miles due east of the coastline and 30 miles north-northeast of the major port city of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. In his last radio transmission Lt. Cmdr. Crain stated the mission was progressing normally.
When contact with the Skywarrior could not be re-established, a search and rescue (SAR) operation was immediately initiated and continued for several days. Aircraft from the USS Kitty Hawk and the USS Ticonderoga, as well as the destroyer the USS Ingersol, participated in the visual and electronic search along the Skywarrior's flight path, particularly in and around the area of last contact. Unfortunately, no parachutes or survival rafts were seen and no emergency beepers heard emanating from either water or the nearby island. At the time the SAR operation was terminated, Carrol Crain, George Pawlish and Ronald Galvin were listed Missing in Action.
If Carrol Crain, George Pawlish and Ronald Galvin died in the loss of their aircraft, each man has the right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country. However, if the crew was able to bail out of their aircraft before it crashed, they were close enough to enemy controlled territory and could have been captured. If so their fate, like that of other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, could be quite different. Either way there is no question the Vietnamese know what happened and could return them or their remains any time they had the desire to do so.
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 Prisoners of War remaining captive throughout Southeast Asia TODAY.
Pilots and aircrews in Vietnam were called upon to fly and fight 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.