CDR Jack Feldhaus, USN, KIA 8 October 1966 - Memorial Web Site

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From the listening post....

Here are some of the comments I've received in my Guestbook, by phone, in person, and via e-mail.

January 19, 2007
Jeff Taylor
Whittier, CA.

 On November 17, 1965 Jeff's father was shot down over North Vietnam while flying an A-1H Douglas Skyraider in search of another pilot who had been shot down earlier that day. He was attached to Air Wing 16, flying from the USS Oriskany. His body was returned by the North Vietnamese in 1975. Go to the bottom of the VA-152 page to read the full account.

I go back into your brother’s site from time to time. I want to thank-you for finding those two pictures of VA152 during the 65 and 66 deployment. I also saw that you have reworked my father’s last mission with LCDR Shade. You have created a very fine site. It has kept the memory of your brother alive. My father in one of the letters he wrote to me said the Oriskany had a very fine record and that he had met a lot of very fine men, many of whose sons I was getting to know at Leemore. He hoped that their sons were proud of them and appreciated what they were doing. I know that he would have gone back in 66 and I’m almost sure he would have met your brother. He would have said the same thing about him. Again thank-you for this very fine website, Jeff Taylor


August 1, 2002
LCDR Gordon D. Pickett, USN(Ret)
Clovis, CA.

 Gordan learned about this web site in an e-mail from a VA-85 buddy, Kit Sanders. He posted the following in the Guestbook on this site.

I was in VT-30 March '60 to January '61 as Maint. Off. and Instructor pilot. Then I was assigned as Academic Tra. Off. on CINAVANTRA Staff at NAS Corpus Christi till February '64. I recognized the name Feldhaus, and the minute I saw his picture it came back to me. I cherish the memory of Jack and recall that he was one of the icons when it came to flying and delivering ordnance with the Spad in VT-30. It seems to me I recall he was also pretty fair with a bowling ball, and that we had some great times at the O'Club. He was destined to be a hero and I am proud to have known him.


June 4, 2002
Edwin Tiffany (Tiff) Hawks, Jr.
Las Vegas, Nevada

Tiff Hawks

I found out about this site from my son, Mark, while I was traveling the past two weeks.  I am deeply moved to read Jack's DFC citation and to discover who was leading LOCKET flight on 20 Aug 66.  The citation tells the story as it happened.I was the downed pilot of the RF-4C, call sign TORPEDO, that Jack and his wingman located, identified and definitely created the rescue that saved my life.
I was saddened to hear that Jack lost his life later in Oct '66.  I'm glad and thankful his remains have been recovered and finally returned to this country.  I thank God almost daily for my additional 35 years of life.  I thank your family and Jack's spirit for his heroic actions on 20 Aug 66 that led to my recovery and rescue.  And I thank the hundreds of other pilots, crewmembers, controllers and decision makers for their actions that led to my rescue.


I never knew until this week that Jack Feldhaus was the one who led Locket flight. When Jack located me that day, he told me to come out of the bushes, he needed to fly over me to get a positive ID. When he flew over me he was about 50 feet off the deck, in a a steep banked turn, had his mask off, and I could see his smiling face. Then, he said, " I see you. Get back in the bushes. We'll get someone in here to pick you up, but it may be awhile" There's much more to tell, about Jack's bravery that day.

Thank you for creating this website, that led my son, Mark, to discover this information for me. I have been deeply moved to read all the notes on this site, especially those of his family and friends. I thank you all for Jack and I thank God for Jack. I lost so many friends in Vietnam and now I'm aware that I've lost my friend, Jack, and found his family.

Thank you,

Tiff Hawks


May 9, 2002
Mark T. Hawks
Atlanta, GA

I am the eldest son of now retired Lt.Col. Edwin Tiffany (Tiff) Hawks, Jr., the downed pilot who was rescued and mentioned in Jack's citation for the Distiguished Flying Cross. I'm sure I speak for everyone in my family when I say, we all can't thank you enough for the sacrifice Jack made for my father and our country.

He had tears in his eyes when I called and read him the citation today, while he's on vacation visiting his grandchildren. He said that's exactly the way it happened and that Jack was fearless when attracting enemy fire to allow the helicopter to complete the rescue. We want to thank Jack for saving his life and allowing us to be fortunate enough to have him with us.

Thank you for creating this site and allowing us a way to pay tribute to him. My father is a wonderful man and I hope you get the chance to meet him. He is traveling now without internet access, but I'm sure he would love to hear from Jack's family and I know he will be visiting this site as soon as he gets home.

Here's to the "Lockit" Crew 1 & 2, and all those who helped my Dad make it home safely!


May 3, 2002
Joe Shea
Duxbury, Massachusetts

I flew a bunch of missions with Jack while in a Fleet Training Squadron at San Diego, around 1960.We dropped bombs near Yuma and landed on carriers off San Clemente Island. We only saw each other infrequently after we went to the fleet. He was a good stick and a really nice guy. ALWAYS HAD A GREAT SMILE FOR ALL.

 Joe recalled he and Jack were based at NAS North Island in the southern-most hangar, nearest the O Club. They requalified for carrier landings on board Oriskany CVA-34  in the first week of March 1960. His log shows landings at Brown Field (south of San Diego), NAS El Centro and MCAS Yuma. It is very likely that Jack also landed there as they often flew wing on each other. From Yuma they flew a lot of bombing, rocket, and gunnery missions. As a diversion they would play chicken with a railroad train running North/South hauling gypsum between the mountains and Plaster City, CA.  Joe reported the engineer loved it. He always waved and never reported us. It was good practice.  They went to Moffitt field together, but to different squadrons.  Later they served together in VT-30 in Corpus Christi and flew together many times.

Joe had forgotten that he and Jack had also served as flight instructors at VT-30 in Corpus Christi, Texas. He dug out some old records of and found Jack noted on some. They flew some AD's to NAS Jacksonville just before Christmas in 1964. He recalled it was a grueling challenge because we had to deal with some very bad weather from New Orleans to Pensacola.
Joe and Jack also were part of a 35 plane gaggle of T-34 aircraft that we were returning to Pensacola in August 1965.  Joe and Jack also flew the T-34 from Pensacola to Corpus in 1963.
In Vt-30 they usually flew the AD-6 (A1-H) and they used the T-28 as an instrument flight trainer.  In the summer they flew a midshipmen indoctrination program using the navy's very basic trainer the T-34.
Jack went with Joe to VT-31 as a loaner pilot to help them get started. They were there for about 6 months instructing in the TS-2A a twin engined Anti-submarine plane stripped of all ASW gear and used for training.  VT-31 was at the same base just a different hangar.
Joe also found a copy of their orders to the USS Oriskany at the end of February 1966.


November 2001
Jimmy Moore
Close friend of Jack's from his home town

Here is the "Going Home" print that I made after Jackie became MIA. He told me that if anything ever happened to him he wanted to be carried to his grave in a wagon. I made the photo in memory of him. It is in places all over the world. There is a painting made of it by Lynn King of Lawrenceburg also.

Click on picture to view a larger size


If you would like an 8 by 10 copy of this photograph suitable for framing you can order one from Jimmy Moore by emailing him at or writing him at PO Box 974, Lawrenceburg, TN 38464.


November 25, 2001 e-mail
Gordon H. Smith, Rear Admiral, retired, USN
Skipper of VA-152 in 1966

John sent me your e-mail concerning the recovery of Jack's remains. I was his Commanding Officer and I can tell you that he was very highly respected and had great leadership potential. He possesed exactly the right blend of humor, focus, independent thinking and respect for authority.


A Story About Jack I Find Hard to Believe

I've had a couple of phone conversations with Admiral Smith. He was instrumental in the classification of MIA for Jack, knowing he had a family that was dependant on his income.

Admiral Smith told me that Jack came to him the night before he was shot down and told him he had a premonition that he was going to be shot down. This was very uncharacteristic for Jack. They talked for several hours with Jack expressing concern about what would happen to the boat and plane he owned. 

The Skipper told me that when Jack left his wardroom, he called the duty officer and instructed him to take Jack off the flight roster the next day. He was concerned that Jack may not be mentally ready to fly.

I believe the Skipper confused Jack with someone else.
First, I don't believe Jack owned a boat and plane as no one in the family knew about it. 
Second, he had just purchased a new 1966 Chevrolet before he left on the cruise.  He was newly divorced with four small children to support on a Lieutenant's salary.  He could not afford a boat and plane.  He could barely afford the new car he purchased.
Third, he would have been more worried about his children than a boat or plane, even if he did own a boat and a plane.


July 2 2009 e-mail 
Fred Guenzel
Jack's Wing-man when he was shot down and killed on 8 Oct 1966 in North Vietnam

As for what Gordon Smith told you, I would believe him without doubt. He is the most honest man I have known and he also has as good a memory as anybody I've have ever known.(much better than mine!) I think you can believe anything he says and it will be the honest truth.

I do remember hearing something about Jack having a boat and an airplane. However, I never really talked to Jack about it, but I would trust what Gordon said. Gordon has told me exactly what he told you about the evening and taking Jack off the roster for the next day.

I don't remember exactly how Jack and I ended up going on this sortie, but I do remember it wasn't scheduled. 

Jack and I did go out to check for a beeper and did not find anything  We had a full bomb load and full fuel load.  After we were released it was then that Jack said lets see if we can find some truck parks and get some trucks. It wasn't flip or anything, it was just lets do our job. 

Our squadron had caught some trucks trying to get off a back road and under the cover of the trees and had destroyed more trucks than any of the other ships. I don't know the real numbers, but there was a burned area so large that it became a known navigation point, "Eric's Truck Park". 

Jack was doing exactly what he was trained to do and making the best of the situation.

Fred Guenzel is surely mistaken about Jack having a boat and a car, and in spite of his recollection 35 years later, both he and the Skipper Gordon Smith are wrong.  I researched the records of what happened 8 Oct 1966 when Jack was shot down and can find no evidence of Jack and Fred Guenzel being launched in response to a suspected downed airman's beeper signal.

The Combat Air Activities Files (CACTA), created, 10/1965 - 12/1970, documenting the period 10/1965 - 12/1970 - Record Group 218

 These records show that my brother Jack took off from the USS Oriskany (at 9:30 AM according to a debriefing statement by his wingman, Fred Guenzel) on 8 October with a wingman and showed the following details, including a report of the damage to Fred Guenzel's right wing:

Target Time (Zulu):                  02000 to 0210 Zulu Time
Target Time (Local):                09:00 to 09:10 Local Time
Target:                                       "BRIDGE"
Beginning Coordinates:          192885N1054750E (feet wet)
POSTA:                                     19482N105797E (bridge location)
Target Terrain Type:                 Coastal
Target Cloud Base:                   2500 feet 
Combat Loss:                           Aircraft Serial Number 137629 
Wingman's Combat Damage: 10 inch hole in the starboard wing. 
Plane loss occurred at:            1929N10530E
Plane loss APOST:                   1948N10550E
Crew Status, Number Killed:    One

Lt. Fred Guenzel's A-1
Comments:                                Hit starboard wing.  Hvy damage.  10 inch hole all wing


The above map shows the path of the flight Jack and Fred Guenzel took 8 Oct 1966 when Jack was shot down and killed in action.  it shows the location where they made landfall, where they bombed the first bridge, where they bombed the second bridge, where they bombed a suspected truck stop, and where Jack crashed.

On 18 October 1966 the CO of VA0152 submitted a report of the incident to the Chief of Naval Personnel (Casualty Branch) which included statements from Jack's wingman Lt. Fred Guenzel and LCDR A. B. Headley who was on the scene of the crash immediately after it happened.  Fred Guenzel gave the following account of the first part of the flight:

"On 8 October 1966, LT Feldhaus in Locket 510 and myself in Locket 505 departed USS Oriskany (CVA 34) at approximately 0930 on an armed reconnaissance mission.  We crossed the beach going inland at approximately 19-30N (19.5000N) and 105-13N (105.2167E) and proceeded to the north.  We each dropped two on thousand pound bombs on a bridge on rout 1A at approximately 19-30N (19.5000) and 105-40E (106.6667).  We then headed in a general westerly direction preforming armed reconnaissance of the roads.  LT Feldhaus dropped two five hundred pound bombs on a bridge at approximately 19-35N (19.5833) and 105-32E (105.5333)/  The weather in this area was 2500 feet broken and 7 miles in haze.  At 19-32N (19.5333) and 105-32E (105.5333) LT Feldhaus and myself each dropped on 250 pound bomb apiece on a suspected truck park.  Runs were made north to south, pulling off and coming around to the east.  LT Feldhaus passed over the suspected site, and stated that there was nothing there and he proceeded down the road to the south." 

Based on the ship's lauch records and the above timely report by LCDR Gordon Smith, the VA-152 Skipper, it's clear that Jack and Fred weren't launched in response to a suspected beeper from a downed airman.   They were on a routine Armed Reconnaissance mission.

Continued below are some of the comments I've received in my Guestbook, by phone, in person, and via e-mail.

December 2001 e-mail
John Lunn - Served as instructor with Jack in VT-30 in Corpus Christi Texas.

Sure do remember Jack.... Super Pilot!!

I was in VT 30 for little over 2 years. Enjoyed every minute of the tour.

I knew that Jack was lost over Vietnam, but I never did know the story of the crash. I would attribute the hit on his aircraft as pure luck by the Vietnamese gunner, because Jack was too good a pilot to have someone shoot him down, due to skill. Therefore, I know it was a lucky shot from the ground.

Sometimes, when we were instructing in Texas, we would go up alone and just look around. Often when that happened, "someone" from the squadron would be looking around too. Then the "hassle" would begin. Not that it lasted that long, but Jack and I did aerial battle on occasion, and I tell you he was good, very good at what he did. Won't tell you who "won" the "encounters", but each would hold his own, and did win the respect of the other.


November 2001 conversation
Bud M. Watson
Member of VA-152 during Westpac 1966 cruise

Fred Guenzel and I joined VA-152 in San Diego as it was leaving for the Westpac 1966 cruise. Jack took us under his wing and helped us transition into the A-1H. We had been trained in jets. He was an excellent pilot and we were lucky to have him take and interest in us and help us prepare for the combat flights we would see during that cruise.


November 2001 telephone conversation
Fred M. Guenzel
Jack's wingman when he was shot down over North Vietnam on October 8, 1966.

After we arrived off the coast of North Vietnam in the summer of 1966 VA-152 flew daily missions over North Vietnam. An average mission lasted about three hours.

The mission of VA-152 was to search and destroy and assist in the rescue of downed pilots. The range and slow speed of the A-1H made it ideal for these jobs.

The morning of October 8, 1966 Jack and I took off from the Oriskany and proceeded to a location south-west of the town of Thanh Hoa in southern North Vietnam. By this time, the North Vietnamese had suffered enough damage to their convoys to restrict the convoys to forest covered roads during daylight hours. We made a bombing run to drop bombs onto a tree covered road with the hope we might hit trucks concealed under the trees.

We came out going different directions to avoid possible ground fire. With no evidence we had hit anything below the trees, Jack flew in the direction of Thanh Hoa at about 4,000 feet and I followed some distance behind, unable to see him because of the clouds.

Jack radioed that he was going down to see what he could see. A short time later he radioed that he was receiving heavy anti-aircraft fire. He radioed that he had been hit and in a garbled transmission said he was getting out. I broke through the clouds in about thirty seconds and saw a fireball on the ground that appeared to be the impact site of an airplane. I didn't see any sign of a parachute and didn't hear any beeper or emergency radio transmission.

I headed down toward the deck looking for signs of Jack, just as he had so strongly advised me to do in a situation like this. I radioed for rescue assistance and continued to make passes in search of any signs of life.

I happened to be looking at my right wing when a 37mm anti-aircraft shell blew a hole in the wing. About this time, two A1-H aircraft arrived and took over the search and rescue and I limped back to the Oriskany.

The damage assessment revealed the 37mm shell had hit the wing between two bombs in an empty bomb hanger where a bomb had been dropped earlier. I told the Chief that it was lucky the 20 mm magazine under my wing had not been hit by the shrapnel. He told me that shrapnel had hit the magazine and set off three 20mm rounds.

When shrapnel hits the 20mm magazine it can set off a chain reaction and blow off the wing. If the shrapnel hits one of the bombs under the wing, the same thing can happen. I believe that's what happened to Jack based on the speed with which his plane hit the ground. When a wing is blown off it's impossible to fly the plane. It goes into a spiral straight down.

Jack was an excellent pilot and knew how to avoid getting hit. We weren't doing anything that day that increased our risk of being hit. Jack was just hit by a lucky shot.


Novermber 2001 e-mail
John Spiegel
Member of VA-152 during Wespac 1966 cruise

A special thanks to John for putting me in touch with other members of VA-152 during the Westpac 1966 cruise and providing me with the status of all of the members of the squadron.

I did not know Jack, as I arrived at VA-152 and Oriskany about two weeks after his death.

Please accept my sympathy and my respect for your late brother. I understand he was well-regarded in the squadron.

As you might suspect, a number of the squadron aviators still correspond and see each other. the reason, I am sure, has to do with the quality of the people and the leadership up and down the chain of command. I think all of us, including your brother, were lucky for our shared experience.

September 24, 2000 email
Scotty Wilkes
Student of Jack's when he was an instructor in Corpus Christi

Jack was my intructor pilot in VT-30 from Apr 63-Aug 63 and is directly responsible for my being able to terrorize the fleet for years to come. We shared the same hangar at Alameda but they went on cruise as we came off.

For your historical purposes this particular class consisted of the following:

Glen Kalember deceased
Charlie Clydesdale,deceased
Jim Bean, deceased (Shot down from VA-152 just before Jack)
I have forgoten another name
Scotty Wilkes

I can only add that he was a fine aviator and occasionally he would buy the drinks at the club, although not nearly often enough.

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