Name: David Francis Callahan, Jr.

Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy

Unit: Attack Squadron 106, USS INTREPID (CVS 11)

Date of Birth: 10 November 1934 (Lynn MA)

Home City of Record: Windsor VT

Date of Loss: 23 September 1968

Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water

Loss Coordinates: 181201N 1070858E (YF273135)

Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered

Category: 5

Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4E

Refno: 1286

Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 April 1990 from one or more of

the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence

with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W.



SYNOPSIS: When Douglas Aircraft created the A4 Skyhawk the intent was to

provide the Navy and Marine Corps with an inexpensive, lightweight attack

and ground support aircraft. The design emphasized low-speed control and

stability during take-off and landing as well as strength enough for

catapult launch and carrier landings. The plane was so compact that it did

not need folding wings for aboardship storage and handling. In spite of its

diminutive size, the A4 packed a devastating punch and performed well where

speed and maneuverability were essential.

LCDR David F. Callahan, Jr. was a pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 106

onboard the USS INTREPID. The INTREPID was a World War II-era Essex-class

aircraft carrier which had been adapted for jet operations in the 1950s. Its

early tours of Vietnam were spent on Dixie Station in South Vietnam in

support of operations there. Later, the antisubmarine carrier traded its S2

Trackers, SH3 helicopters and E1 Tracers for Skyhawks and Skyraiders and

joined her sister ships on Yankee Station to supply air power for strikes

over North Vietnam.

On September 23, 1968, LCDR Callahan launched in his A4E Skyhawk light

attack aircraft on a routine mission. He radioed that his generator had

failed and that he was returning to ship. He was routed for a straight-in

approach. He flew the approach well, until in close to the carrier when the

aircraft began a left bank, nose dropping, touching down just short of the

landing deck and striking the Landing Signals Officer (LSO) platform. The

aircraft continued a left roll impacting the water in an approximate 90

degree angle. There was no apparent ejection attempt.

LCDR Callahan was listed Killed/Body Not Recovered. His loss is listed as

non-combat related. Callahan is listed among the missing because his body

was never recovered. He is among over 2300 Americans who remain prisoner,

missing or otherwise unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.

Others who are missing do not have such clear cut cases. Some were known

captives; some were photographed as they were led by their guards. Some were

in radio contact with search teams, while others simply disappeared.

Since the war ended, over 250,000 interviews have been conducted with those

who claim to know about Americans still alive in Southeast Asia, and several

million documents have been studied. U.S. Government experts cannot seem to

agree whether Americans are there alive or not. Distractors say it would be

far too politically difficult to bring the men they believe to be alive

home, and the U.S. is content to negotiate for remains.

Over 1000 eye-witness reports of living American prisoners were received by

1989. Most of them are still classified. If, as the U.S. seems to believe,

the men are all dead, why the secrecy after so many years? If the men are

alive, why are they not home?