CHRISTENSEN, JOHN MICHAEL

Name:  John Michael Christensen
Rank/Branch: Captain/US Marine Corps
Unit:  VMCJ 1, Marine Air Group 15 
DaNang Airbase, 
South Vietnam 

Date of Birth: 19 August 1946 (Ogden, UT)
Home of Record: Ogden, UT
Date of Loss: 13 April 1972 
Country of Loss:  North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates:  183100N 1073100E (YF673491)                              
Status in 1973: Missing in Action
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground:  EA6A "Intruder" 
Other Personnel in Incident: David L. Leet (missing) 

REMARKS:  RADIO CONTACT LOST

SYNOPSIS:   With the addition of the Grumman A6A Intruder to its inventory, the 1st Marine Air Wing (MAW) had the finest two-man, all-weather, low-altitude attack/bombing aircraft in the world. It displayed great versatility and lived up to the expectations of those who pushed for its development after the Korean War. At the time it was the only operational aircraft that had a self-contained all-weather bombing capacity including a moving target indicator mode. In this role it usually carried a bomb load of 14,000 pounds and was used rather extensively in the monsoon season not only in South Vietnam, but in Laos and over the heavily defended areas of North Vietnam.

When the EA6A electronic warfare version of the Intruder was introduced to the combat zone by the Marine Corps, it proved to be a "force multiplier" for all US air assets throughout Southeast Asia. The Intruder was credited with successfully completing some of the most difficult single-plane strikes in the war, and its' air crews were among the most talented and most courageous to serve the United States.

On 13 April 1972, Capt. David L. Leet, pilot; and Capt. John M. Christensen, electronic counter-measure officer, departed DaNang Airbase on a night combat mission deep in North Vietnam. Their target area included the extremely well defended area of Hanoi/Haiphong Harbor. After completing their mission, the Intruder was on its return flight to base. Capt. Leet established their last radio contact at 0412 hours. At that time there was no indication of trouble with the aircraft and was approximately 100 miles inland from the coast of North Vietnam, 165 miles south-southwest of Haiphong, 92 miles northeast of Dong Hoi, North Vietnam; and 175 miles north-northwest of DaNang.

When the Intruder failed to return to base, a full scale search and rescue (SAR) operation was initiated. During the extensive aerial search, no trace of the aircraft or its crew was found. At the time the formal search was terminated, both David L. Leet and John M. Christensen were listed Missing in Action.

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 and Laos were called upon to fly in many dangerous circumstances, and each was prepared to be wounded, killed or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country so proudly served.