PIERSANTI, ANTHONY JULIUS JR.

Name: Anthony Julius Piersanti, Jr.   
Rank/Branch: Lieutenant Junior Grade/US Naval Reserve 
Unit: Fleet Tactical Support Squadron 50
 USS Ranger (CVA-61) 

Date of Birth: 26 May 1946 (Camden, NJ)
Home of Record: Pennsauken, NJ
Date of Loss: 15 December 1970 
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 172109N 1084429E (BK600200) 
Status in 1973: Killed/Body Not Recovered 
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: C2A "Greyhound"
Other Personnel In Incident: Meril O. McCoy, Jr.; Clyde C. Owen and Carroll J. Deuso (missing) 

REMARKS:

SYNOPSIS:   The C2A Greyhound was a cargo aircraft used by the US Navy to transport personnel, supplies and mail to and from its carrier task force deployed in the South China Sea. Because of its great range of flight, ability to land and take off from aircraft carriers while carrying a heavy load, the sturdy Greyhound with its crew of five fulfilled its roll admirably throughout the Vietnam War.

On 15 December 1970, Lt. Meril O. McCoy, Jr., aircraft commander; Lt. JG Anthony J. Piersanti, Jr., co-pilot; Clyde C. Owen, flight engineer; and two unidentified crewmen comprised the crew of a C2A that departed from the USS Ranger (CVA-61) on a logistics support mission from the carrier to the Naval Air Station Cubi Point, Republic of the Philippines. The members of the crew were all assigned to Fleet Tactical Support Squadron 50, USS Ranger. In addition to the crew, there was one passenger on board the Greyhound, BTCM Carroll J. Deuso who was assigned to Detachment B, Mobile Support Unit.

The aircraft was launched by catapult from the deck of the USS Ranger. Approximately 10 seconds after takeoff, the Greyhound assumed a severe nose up attitude and was observed as it entered an aerodynamic stall. The aircraft departed from its controlled flight path, then impacted the Gulf of Tonkin in a nose down wings level attitude. There were no distress calls made by the crew in the brief seconds between the time the in-flight emergency commenced and the aircraft crashed into the water.

The USS Ranger's crew immediately initiated an extensive search and rescue (SAR) operation. During the thorough search of the water in and around the Greyhound's wreckage debris field, the bodies of two of the crew were found and recovered. When no survivors or other remains were found in or around the area of loss, the formal search was terminated. At that time Carroll Deuso, Meril McCoy, Anthony Piersanti and Clyde Owen were declared Killed/Body Not Recovered.

The Greyhound's location of loss was far out to sea approximately 70 miles southeast of Hainan Island, China and 140 miles east of the major port city of Dong Hoi, Binh Dinh Province, North Vietnam.

The hard reality is there is virtually no chance that the remains of ADJ3 Owen, Lt. McCoy, Lt. JG Piersanti and BTCM Deuso can ever be recovered due to the type and location of loss. However, each man 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, 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.

Military and civilian personnel in Vietnam were prepared to be wounded, killed, or captured. It probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country they proudly served.