GREILING, DAVID SCOTT "SCOTTY"

 
Name: David Scott "Scotty" Greiling 
Rank/Branch: Commander/US Navy 
Unit: Attack Squadron 82,
USS AMERICA (CVA-66) 
Date of Birth: 25 March 1935 (Cleveland, OH) 
Home of Record: Hillsdale, MI
Date of Loss: 24 July 1968 
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 175700N 1062100E (XE429850)
Click coordinates to view maps
Status in 1973: Prisoner of War 
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A7A "Corsair"
Other Personnel In Incident: (none missing) 

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS:  The A7 Corsair was the US Navy's single seat, light attack jet aircraft that featured advanced radar, navigation and weapons systems, and could carry a 15,000 pound bomb load. The A7E with its more powerful TF-41 turbofan engine, was the most advanced version of the Corsair to fly combat missions in Southeast Asia. The Corsair was also flown by Air Force and Marine air wings.

On 24 July 1968, then Lt. Cmdr. David S. Greiling was the pilot of an A7A Corsair that launched from the USS America as the flight leader in a flight of two aircraft. The flight was conducting a night armed reconnaissance mission to interdict enemy activity in the mountainous coastal area of Mui Ron.

After crossing the coastline, Lt. Cmdr. Greiling sighted a target of moving lights believed to be trucks heading northwest along a primary road from the coastline inland that ran along the southwestern edge of a mountain range. The mountain peaks to the north of the road reached approximately 3500 feet. The night was overcast with multiple cloud layers.

At 2131 hours, Lt. Cmdr. Greiling radioed "I'm rolling in " and his wingman observed his dive on the truck convoy to drop his ordnance. A large fireball was seen by the wingman on his run on the same target. In his debriefing, the wingman stated he believed the ground fire emanated from the explosion of gasoline or oil trucks as a result of his flight leader's attack. Scotty Greiling's wingman also observed a number of smaller brightly burning fires in the heavily wooded mountains just to the north of the road. Thinking that the fires were emanating from the target and not from possible aircraft wreckage, the wingman dropped his ordnance on them.

After completing his attack pass, the wingman made several radio calls to the flight leader. When no response was received from  Scotty Greiling, search and rescue (SAR) efforts were immediately initiated. These efforts included the use of flares dropped by other aircraft in an attempt to locate the downed pilot, but no trace of David Greiling was found. The crash site was located approximately 1500 feet up the eastern side of a ridge, and 500 feet from the crest to the north of the road. The road was located 8 miles west of the coastline, 4 miles west of the village of Kiem Long and 34 miles north-northwest of Dong Hoi, Quang Binh Province, North Vietnam. At the time the formal s earch effort was terminated, Scotty Greiling was listed Missing in Action.

On 17 July 1969, an intelligence report was received by the US government indicating that Scotty Greiling had been captured. While his ship was delivering cargo to North Vietnam, an unidentified North Vietnamese showed a Polish seaman the identification cards of 30 Americans in the Seaman's Club in Haiphong. The seaman apparently understood the importance of what he was shown as he wrote down the names of the Americans whose ID cards he saw and gave them to the US Navy when he returned to Poland.

Another version of the Polish seaman's report states that Lt. Cmdr. Greiling's photograph was on "a bulletin board in northern Vietnam." Twenty-eight of the 30 men whose names he provided were released during Operation Homecoming in 1973. Because of the quality of this intelligence, the US Government upgraded Scotty Greiling's status from Missing in Action to Prisoner of War.

Scotty Greiling was the type of American pilot the communists valued and wanted to exploit. Once in the Navy, he added to his bachelor's degree in engineering with a master's degree in nuclear science from the Navy post-graduate school at Monterey, California. He also served a tour of duty at the Naval Academy as an instructor prior to serving in Vietnam.

If Scotty Greiling died in the loss of his Corsair, he has a right to have his remains returned to his family, friends and country. However, if he successfully ejected, he most certainly would have been captured, and his fate like that of other Americans who remain unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, could be quite different. Either way, there is no doubt the Vietnamese know his fate and could return him or his 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 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.

David S. Greiling graduated from Purdue University in 1957.