ELKINS, FRANK CALLIHAN
Remains Returned - ID Announced March 1990
Name: Frank Callihan Elkins
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: Attack Squadron 164, USS ORISKANY
Date of Birth: 25 May 1939
Home City of Record: Bladenboro NC
Date of Loss: 12 October 1966
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 190500N 1053600E (WG631099)
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 March 1991 from one or more of
the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence
with POW/MIA families, published sources, including "Alpha Strike Vietnam"
by Jeffrey L. Levinson, personal interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK
SYNOPSIS: The USS ORISKANY was a World War II-era carrier on duty in Vietnam
as early as 1964. The ORISKANY's 1966 tour was undoubtedly one of the most
tragic deployments of the Vietnam conflict. This cruise saw eight VA 164
"Ghostriders" lost; four in the onboard fire, one in an aerial refueling
mishap, and another three in the operational arena.
On July 28, 1966, Ensign George P. McSwain, Jr. was flying an A4E Skyhawk in
a strike mission near the city of Vinh, Nghe An Province, North Vietnam,
when his aircraft was hit by a surface-to-air missile (SAM). McSwain
successfully ejected and reached the ground safely, but was captured by the
North Vietnamese. He was released in Operation Homecoming on March 4, 1973.
On August 26, 1966, LTJG William H. Bullard launched from the decks of the
ORISKANY in his A4E Skyhawk on a night combat mission. Mechanical problems
caused Bullard's aircraft to go down near the carrier and he was never
found. Bullard was listed Killed, Body Not Recovered.
On October 12, 1966 still another Ghostrider was shot down. LT Frank C.
Elkins was on a strike mission near the city of Tho Trang, about five miles
from the coast of Nghe An Province, when his aircraft went down. His A4E
Skyhawk had been damaged by SAM. It was not known what happened to Elkins
after the crash of his aircraft, and he was classified Missing in Action. In
March 1990, the Vietnamese "discovered" the mortal remains of Elkins and
returned them to U.S. control.
When the war ended, 591 Americans were released from POW camps. Military
authorities at the time were shocked that hundreds more known or suspected
to be held captive were not released.
Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing,
prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S.
Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive
today. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned
American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return
unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the
honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly
held. It's time we brought our men home.
Frank C. Elkins was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Commander during the
period he was listed missing.
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