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

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October 8, 1966

October 8, 1966 - The Day Jack Was Shot Down and Killed

This day began five days after Jack celebrated his 28th birthday.  He had been in the Navy over 9 years.  He was aboard the USS Oriskany in VA152 as a pilot of an A1-H Skyraider single engine fighter/bomber.

Bud Smith, a pilot in VA-152 during the 1966 and 1967 deployments to Vietnam, wrote the following in his "History of VA-152, 1965, 1966 and 1967: 

"Three days later LT Feldhaus was shot down near Lang Quang.....Lang Quang is shown on the  1:250,000 Joint Operations Graphic (Air) Charts as Hill 1J06 near coordinates 19-30N, 105-30E"

These coordinates are the same as 19.5, 30.5 when searching for a place on Google maps.  If you search, you'll see that the town is now named "Lang Bai" on the Google map.

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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:

Mission Type:                          Armed Reconnaissance
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 one thousand pound bombs on a bridge on route 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 one 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.

Below are copies of reports of what resulted from the events of that day.
Click on the small square at the bottom right of the window below to read the reports in full screen mode.

Jack 8 Oct 1966 Vietnam

Notice in the below report of Family Conference that the Vietnamese had knowledge of Jack's plane being shot down and his death in the crash as evidenced by the MR4 Shootdown record.  It is possible the Vietnamese could have provided information that would have helped locate the crash and result in recovery of remains.

The MR4 Shootdown Record contains and entry for this downing.  It says the aircraft was attacking Bo Lan (Boof Lawn), was shot down on the spot by BN15, downpoint 500 meters from the unit, with one crew member killed.  The time of day was incorrect, but it appears that the aircraft type given (A4D) had been written over another entry, AD6, which is the Vietnamese nomenclature for an A1.