|Name:||Kenneth Morton Prentice|
Machinist's Mate Second
USS Constellation (CVA-64)
|Date of Birth:||26 May 19946 (Greenville, OH)|
|Home of Record:||Tacoma, WA|
|Date of Loss:||02 October 1969|
|Country of Loss:||North Vietnam/Over Water|
|Loss Coordinates:||175402N 1073602E (YE754810)|
|Status in 1973:||Killed/Body Not Recovered|
|Other Personnel In Incident:||Herbert H. Dilger, Richard A. Livingston, Rayford J. Hill, Paul K. Moser, and Michael J. Tye, Richard W. Bell, Michael L. Bowman, Frank L. Bytheway, Rolando C. Dayao, Donald C. Dean, Carl J. Ellerd, James J. Fowler, Roy G. Fowler, Leonardo M. Gan, Paul E. Gore, Terry L. Beck, Delvin L. Kohker, Howard M. Koslosky, Robert B. Leonard, Ronald W. Montgomery, William R. Moore, William D. Goresuch, Fidel G. Salazar, Keavin L. Terrell and Reynaldo R. Viado.|
SYNOPSIS: The C-2A Greyhound provided critical logistics support to aircraft carriers around the world. Its primary mission was to transport personnel including litter patients during medical evacuation missions, supplies, mail, or a combination thereof, to and from the carrier task force to which it was assigned. Powered by two PT-6 turboprop engines, the Greyhound was able to deliver a payload of up to 10,000 pounds. Priority cargos, such as jet engines, were stored within the aircraft’s cage restraint system and could be transported from ship to shore in a matter of hours. For fast turnaround operations, the onboard power winch allowed for straight-in rear cargo loading and downloading through its large aft cargo ramp and door. Further, the C-2A’s open-ramp flight capability allowed for airdrop of supplies and personnel from carrier-launched aircraft. The Greyhound also had folding wings and an onboard auxiliary power unit for engine starting and ground power self-sufficiency in remote areas that provided it with an operational versatility found in no other cargo aircraft
On 2 October 1969, a C2A from Fleet Tactical Support Squadron 50, NAS Atsugi, Japan was transferring crewmen from Naval Air Station Cubi Point, Republic of the Philippines to the USS Constellation task force located in the Gulf of Tonkin. The crew of the C2A assigned to this early morning flight was comprised of Lt. Herbert H. Dilger, pilot; Lt. Richard A. Livingston, co-pilot; AMS3 Rayford J. Hill, crewmember; ADJ3 Paul K. Moser, crewmember; and ADJ3 Michael J. Tye, crewmember.
After take off, Lt. Dilger reported "Ops Normal." Communications with other squadron aircraft and the carrier's air control center indicated operations were normal. The carrier's radar continued tracking the Greyhound until approximately 55 minutes after takeoff, when radar contact was lost. The last radar position was approximately 26 miles out from the USS Constellation. That position was also 68 miles due east of the North Vietnamese coastline, 68 miles northeast of Dong Hoi, 137 miles southeast of Vinh, North Vietnam; and 82 miles southwest of Hainan Island, China.
An extensive search and rescue (SAR) operation was immediately initiated. Shortly thereafter other aircraft in the area began sighting an oil slick and debris. A search and recovery helicopter launched from the ship was able to recover a few pieces of the aircraft. The recovered debris indicated that the aircraft was in a relatively high-speed nose down, right wing down impact with the water, or a possible right wing failure before impact. During the thorough search no bodies of the crew and passengers were found. At the time the formal search was terminated all 26 men were reported as Killed /Body Not Recovered.
There is virtually no chance that the crew and passengers onboard the C2A Greyhound can ever be recovered due to the type of loss. However, each man has the right not to be forgotten by the nation he gave his life for. 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.