Name: John Bryan Golz npa
Rank/Branch: Lieutenant Junior Grade/US Naval Reserve
Unit: Attack Squadron 172
USS Sangri-La (CVS-38)

Date of Birth: 19 July 1945 (Melrose Park, IL)
Home of Record: Rock Island, IL
Date of Loss: 22 April 1970
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 155904N 1064053E (XC800678)
Click coordinates to view maps

Status in 1973: Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered
Category: 3
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4C "Skyhawk"
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing on A4)


SYNOPSIS: 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 which 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 22 April 1970, Lt. JG John B. Golz was the pilot of an A4C Skyhawk (serial #148484) that launched from the deck of the USS Shangri-La as the #2 aircraft in a flight of two on a night strike bombing mission over the southern panhandle of Laos. The target area was located approximately 100 miles west-southwest of DaNang, South Vietnam; 23 miles northeast of Ban Nong Boua, 1 mile northeast of Toungyun and 35 miles southwest of the Lao/Vietnamese border, Salavan Province, Laos.

This area of Laos was considered a major artery of the infamous Ho Chi Minh Trail. When North Vietnam began to increase its military strength in South Vietnam, NVA and Viet Cong troops again intruded on neutral Laos for sanctuary, as the Viet Minh had done during the war with the French some years before. This border road was used by the Communists to transport weapons, supplies and troops from North Vietnam into South Vietnam, and was frequently no more than a path cut through the jungle covered mountains. US forces used all assets available to them to stop this flow of men and supplies from moving south into the war zone.

Once the flight entered the target area, Lead checked in with the on-site Forward Air Controller (FAC) for attack instructions against communist forces located in the jungle-covered mountain foothills with the mountain range to the north and dense jungle to the south. The flight was immediately cleared in on an enemy target. Lt. JG Golz made is bombing pass as directed, but did not recover at the end of it. Both the flight leader and the FAC saw where the Skyhawk impacted the ground, then exploded. In the darkness, no parachute was seen and no emergency beeper signals heard from the crash site. Because of the circumstances and location of loss, only an aerial electronic search was possible. When no trace of the downed pilot was found, John B. Golz was immediately listed Killed in Action/Body Not Recovered.

John Golz is one of nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos. Many of these men were known to be alive on the ground. The Laotians admitted holding "tens of tens" of American Prisoners of War, but these men were never negotiated for either by direct negotiation between our countries or through the Paris Peace Accords which ended the War in Vietnam since Laos was not a party to that agreement.

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.

Fighter pilots 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.