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Capt Michael Eugene Cox
Cenotaph

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Capt Michael Eugene Cox Veteran

Birth
Orlando, Orange County, Florida, USA
Death
22 May 1985 (aged 32)
At Sea
Cenotaph
Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA GPS-Latitude: 39.0161553, Longitude: -104.8553078
Plot
Memorial Section, row 7, site 64
Memorial ID
View Source
Dates of service: 4 Jun 1975 - 22 May 1985

Capt. Michael (Mike) E. Cox was born on February 3, 1953 in Orlando, FL the second son of Lois and Arthur Cox. He had wavy dark brown hair and blue-colored eyes. He grew up in Sanford, FL, Norfolk, VA, Denver, CO, Lake Charles, LA, New Hope, MS, Alcalá de Guadaíra, Spain, and Albany, Georgia. He was active in sports and played baseball in Spain. In Boy Scouts he enjoyed camping and hiking and rose to become an Eagle scout. In the summer, he enjoyed cookouts and basketball around the large pine tree in the backyard.

In high school he played football and track, had a paper route, was a movie projectionist, and was a bass guitar player in a band called The Visions, which was featured in the local newspaper the Albany Herald. His first car was a red 1965 Mustang. He was very intelligent and made outstanding grades in school. He had a smile that would warm your heart and was popular with the ladies. He was a lover not a fighter. He would use dippity doo on his hair. He was full of self-confidence despite having a silver front tooth (which he got running into a pole while trying to impress a girl). He did not seem to worry about things. He had a contagious laugh. He knew how to enjoy life. He liked ketchup on his eggs. He liked to cook pizza, shrimp & French fries, Rice Krispy candy, no-bake cookies, devil dog cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. With five kids in the family there was always competition to get what he cooked, so one night he put his foot in a pan of Rice Krispy candy declaring it as all his. He graduated from Dougherty High School Albany, GA in 1971 and received both Congressional and Presidential nominations to the Air Force Academy in Colorado, Springs, CO.

At the Academy he was a member of Cadet Squadron "Tiger 10". Although he did not like boxing, he fought as a lightweight boxer at the Academy. While at the Academy he had his silver tooth replaced with a white crown. He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1975. He met the love of his life while at the Academy, and after graduating he married Deanna Sue Kater of Colorado Springs, CO at the Air Force Academy Chapel. He then attended Undergraduate Navigator Training (UNT) at Mather AFB, CA, where his only child, Michele, was born in 1977. After UNT, Michael served as an F-4 Weapons Safety Officer (WSO) at Nellis AFB, NV; Kadena AB, Okinawa; Taegu AB, Korea; Moody AFB, GA; and Homestead AFB, FL. He had served as a squadron flying safety officer at both Moody and Homestead,

He was noted to be happy and easy-going, yet hard working, which was complemented by his smile and quick wit. He loved being around people and was a good friend regardless of rank. He loved playing Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, and Pac Man video games on an Atari 400 with his daughter Michele, who was definitely a daddy's girl. When it rained outside, he would make cookies with her to cheer her up, a tradition he learned from his mother, Lois. He enjoyed music, especially rock music, and enjoyed watching MTV when it launched in 1981. He was interested in personal computers, which were in their infancy. Michael was working toward and lacked only one course to attain a Master of Science degree in systems management.

The night of his disappearance, he was participating in the tri-annual Copper Flag training exercise at Tyndall AFB, FL, which is designed to test the US air defense against attacking enemy aircraft. It is a two-week exercise where participants hone their skills in air-superiority training, aircraft intruder training and warfare of all air defense scenarios. Five Air Force and Air National Guard units were participating in Copper Flag.

Michael aged 32 was flying with Capt. Joseph R. Lesyea aged 36 in an F-4D Phantom jet fighter during nighttime exercises over the Gulf of Mexico. Both men were instructors and had about ten years of service at the time. Michael was also an instructor weapons systems officer. The jet took off on Wednesday May 22, 1985 from Tyndall at 8:13 p.m. CDT for a flying mission, and missions usually last an hour.

According to a Coast Guard Spokesman in Mobile, AL, the jet was flying in tandem with another F-4D. "It was seen falling from 7,000 feet to 4,000 feet in about four seconds by (the pilots of) the other aircraft," said the spokesman; who asked to not be identified, "Then it disappeared into a cloud bank."

The 23rd NORAD Region at Tyndall was tracking the plane when it lost radar contact with it. "It dropped off the radar (at about 8:46 p.m. CDT Wednesday), that was the first indication of trouble, and it never reappeared". The jet was presumed down about 37.5 miles southwest of Cape San Blas (about 50 miles south of Tyndall).

After hearing of the downed plane, four Air Force and Coast Guard aircraft were immediately dispatched to search for the craft, said Lt. William Baumgartner of the Coast Guard's Eight District Operations Center in New Orleans.

"It's missing," Lt. Col. Art Tate of Tyndall Air Force Base's director of public affairs, said at mid-night. "A search and rescue mission involving Air Force Planes and ships is currently under way. That's all we know at this point." Tate would not say how low the jet had to be to go off radar. "We don't want the Soviets knowing how low they can fly to escape our radar," Tate said. The missing aircraft was assigned to the 31st Tactical Training Wing at Homestead AFB near Miami, FL.

Lt. Col. Art Tate said no distress signals were picked up. The F-4D is equipped with one emergency locator beacon, which is switched on at impact. Each crewmember has a least two beacons with him – one attached to his parachute and another fastened to his life raft. Tate said the pilots could have ejected from the plane . "However, we have no evidence whether they did or didn't," he said.

Tate said an F-4D jet costs about $6.5 million each and weighs several tons and would sink almost immediately after hitting water. But Tate said he could not elaborate on the type of mission the F-4D was flying.

The F-4D Phantom is a twin-jet interceptor, with air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities. Tyndall AFB spokesman Sgt. Kenneth Hoffman said the Phantom was engaged in mock air battles with another jet when it disappeared. "Sometimes they fly side by side, sometimes chasing one behind the other," Hoffman said, "I've been told they were at different altitudes, but I don't know if they could see each other."

Lt. Col. Art Tate also said "It doesn't look good at this point," he said "We haven't found anything" – no airmen in life rafts, no debris, no bodies. A Coast Guard spokesman in New Orleans said there is a good chance that if the pilots managed to eject from the jet before it hit the water, they are still alive. The Gulf water temperatures were in the 70s, he said, which is considered warm enough to prevent hypothermia. The pilots were also wearing insulated flight jackets and had an inflatable lifeboat with them.

Fog brought the search to a halt at around 3 a.m. Thursday, but aircraft and vessels began the effort anew at daybreak, Baumgartner said.

A daylong ariel search the next day turned up nothing, a Coast Guard spokesman said. " I talked to one pilot who said there were a lot of logs out there that look like bodies from the air", said Petty Officer Michael Mullen of the Coast Guard's District Eight office in New Orleans. "They flew down and checked out every one of them. The skies were so clear today they were spotting paper cups in the water."

Search efforts continued, sometimes hampered by stormy weather. Participating in the search efforts were the 55th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron from Eglin AFB (two C-130s and two Air Force helicopters), three Coast Guard aircraft (including a C-130 and a HU 25 Falcon Jet), the cutter Point Lobos, and several fishing boats were also helping. Air Force Sgt. Jim Armstrong of Homestead said "They normally carry other survival gear like flares, drinking water, beepers, detection devices." Armstrong said "I think there are some food stuffs, but I don't know the exact content." Armstrong said searchers received no signals from the detection devices. The F-4Ds "do have a beeper but there were no signals detected. I'm not familiar where the beeper is located on the jet," he said, "It does activate upon contact with water."

Petty Officer Mike Mullen of the U.S. Coast Guard said that the search would be called off "when it seems reasonable that enough time has passed … where we can determine that (it) is no longer feasible for (the pilots) to be alive." Coast Guard Lt. Daniel Cronin said the water is about 360 feet deep in the area where the jet is believed to have gone down. The F-4D would be difficult to find in the deep water, Cronin said. "They don't float. Generally you (only) locate the survivors."

After six days the search activity for the Air Force F-4D Phantom fighter jet covered 37,650 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico and produced no sign of the missing jet or its pilots and was called off. No distress calls were issued by the jet, and its emergency locator had not been heard. Coast Guard Lt. William Baumgartner said the search would be resumed only if something was found indicating the crewmen were alive. "I'd say if we find the aircraft, or if somebody finds something that would give us a reason to believe there's a possibility that the pilots are still alive," the search would resume, Baumgartner said. "Nothing that's been definitely linked to the aircraft (has been found). There's always some odds and ends that've been sighted that you can't get your hands on."

A Western Union Telex was sent to the family by Col. William B. Mitchell, Commander of the 31 Tactical Training Wing at Homestead AFB FL. Michael was officially declared missing and presumed dead (whereabouts unknown) Wednesday May 29, 1985 after he was missing for seven days at sea as the result of the F-4D aircraft accident in the Gulf of Mexico. He was the navigator of the aircraft and was a member of the 308th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Homestead Air Force Base, FL.

A memorial service was held at Homestead Air Force Base Chapel, Florida on June 4, 1985, which included a jet flyby and a 21 gun salute. A memorial marker is at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. His name is also on the outside wall of the Air Force Academy Chapel. When his daughter was asked by her grandmother Lois if she knew what had happened she said her dad was on permanent change in duty station; but, if there were no jets in heaven he would not like it.

He is survived by his wife, Deanna Kater Cox, an eight-year-old daughter Michele A. Cox, his parents Arthur and Lois Cox, his sister Merri R. Burgess, and his brothers Duane, Phillip and David Cox.

Staff Sgt. Scott White said a board investigating the disappearance will decide whether to try to find the missing Homestead jet on the Gulf's floor – if it is there – and bring it to the surface.

Air Force officers investigating the F-4's disappearance decided to contract with the Navy to locate and possibly bring up the jet. The Navy gave the job to Steadfast Marine, which rented the Mary D from William New, Sr. of Marine Transportation Services, Inc. The Mary D planned to tow a sonar sled owned by Steadfast to electronically locate the jet below the Gulf. New said the boat would work for 10 days and would return early only if it found the jet. The boat's task is to find the jet, New said. A decision on salvaging it would be made later.

On June 22, 1985 James Bladh, a diving and salvage specialist with the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C., said sonar last week detected what may turn out to be the wreckage of the F-4D Phantom jet in 240 feet of water at a site more than 50 miles southeast of Panama City, FL. Plans call for taking a look at the wreckage with underwater cameras and deciding what sections, if any, should be brought up.

James Bladh, a civilian Navy representative who took part in the salvage operation, said that the Air Force officials aboard a salvage boat by the Navy reviewed videotapes of debris and asked that eight pieces of wreckage be recovered from the 250 foot deep water.

Crews working out of Panama City, FL sighted the wreckage with sonar early in June 1985 some 50 miles southeast of the northwest Florida city, and salvage operations began the third week of June. "It was broken up into smaller pieces than any of us had ever seen." James Bladh, a civilian Navy representative, said on June 25, 1985. But he said" the debris field was pretty compact." Bladh said searchers found no sign of the jet's two Miami based airmen.

Salvagers say that they have recovered crumpled pieces of an Air Force jet that crashed into the Gulf of Mexico about 50 miles southwest of this Florida Panhandle city, but they found no sign of the two missing crew members.

Air Force officials hope that sections of the tail and wing of the ill-fated Phantom jet will reveal why the fighter and two crew members crashed in the Gulf of Mexico May 22, 1985.

On May 24, 2022 under the FOIA the family received the releasable portions of the safety investigation board report related to the F4-D tail #65-0625 which was involved in a mishap on 22 May 1985, 74 NM SSE of Tyndall AFB, FL. Following are excerpts from the report.

The sonar search identified a probable target at 2856 S 8516 W on 14 June 1985. Four dives using a remotely controlled vehicle were conducted on the target. On the third dive, a portion of the vertical stabilizer was recovered positively identifying the target as the mishap aircraft. The side scan sonar trace showed the mishap aircraft occupying an area approximately 40 meters square.

The wreckage was in water approximately 290-300 feet deep. The wreckage was very broken up and scattered in the area. Very few pieces of the wreckage were identifiable. The degree of destruction of the mishap aircraft would suggest an impact with the water at high speed. There was no recognizable part of either ejection seat in the wreckage. Also, no portion of either cockpit was recognizable. A thorough examination of the area did not reveal any evidence of the mishaps crew's remains.

Findings included the following: The mishap aircraft was vectored on a third intercept in hazy night conditions over water with no significant moon illumination. For an undetermined reason, the mishap aircraft entered an attitude from which the pilot failed to recover. Failure to recover the aircraft may have been due to spatial disorientation, insufficient altitude, or an unknown aircraft malfunction. The mishap aircraft was destroyed upon impact with the water and the aircrew was fatally injured.

As with accidents of this type where no remains are recovered, it is difficult for the family to find closure.
He continues to be dearly missed by his family and friends.
Dates of service: 4 Jun 1975 - 22 May 1985

Capt. Michael (Mike) E. Cox was born on February 3, 1953 in Orlando, FL the second son of Lois and Arthur Cox. He had wavy dark brown hair and blue-colored eyes. He grew up in Sanford, FL, Norfolk, VA, Denver, CO, Lake Charles, LA, New Hope, MS, Alcalá de Guadaíra, Spain, and Albany, Georgia. He was active in sports and played baseball in Spain. In Boy Scouts he enjoyed camping and hiking and rose to become an Eagle scout. In the summer, he enjoyed cookouts and basketball around the large pine tree in the backyard.

In high school he played football and track, had a paper route, was a movie projectionist, and was a bass guitar player in a band called The Visions, which was featured in the local newspaper the Albany Herald. His first car was a red 1965 Mustang. He was very intelligent and made outstanding grades in school. He had a smile that would warm your heart and was popular with the ladies. He was a lover not a fighter. He would use dippity doo on his hair. He was full of self-confidence despite having a silver front tooth (which he got running into a pole while trying to impress a girl). He did not seem to worry about things. He had a contagious laugh. He knew how to enjoy life. He liked ketchup on his eggs. He liked to cook pizza, shrimp & French fries, Rice Krispy candy, no-bake cookies, devil dog cookies, and chocolate chip cookies. With five kids in the family there was always competition to get what he cooked, so one night he put his foot in a pan of Rice Krispy candy declaring it as all his. He graduated from Dougherty High School Albany, GA in 1971 and received both Congressional and Presidential nominations to the Air Force Academy in Colorado, Springs, CO.

At the Academy he was a member of Cadet Squadron "Tiger 10". Although he did not like boxing, he fought as a lightweight boxer at the Academy. While at the Academy he had his silver tooth replaced with a white crown. He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1975. He met the love of his life while at the Academy, and after graduating he married Deanna Sue Kater of Colorado Springs, CO at the Air Force Academy Chapel. He then attended Undergraduate Navigator Training (UNT) at Mather AFB, CA, where his only child, Michele, was born in 1977. After UNT, Michael served as an F-4 Weapons Safety Officer (WSO) at Nellis AFB, NV; Kadena AB, Okinawa; Taegu AB, Korea; Moody AFB, GA; and Homestead AFB, FL. He had served as a squadron flying safety officer at both Moody and Homestead,

He was noted to be happy and easy-going, yet hard working, which was complemented by his smile and quick wit. He loved being around people and was a good friend regardless of rank. He loved playing Donkey Kong, Space Invaders, and Pac Man video games on an Atari 400 with his daughter Michele, who was definitely a daddy's girl. When it rained outside, he would make cookies with her to cheer her up, a tradition he learned from his mother, Lois. He enjoyed music, especially rock music, and enjoyed watching MTV when it launched in 1981. He was interested in personal computers, which were in their infancy. Michael was working toward and lacked only one course to attain a Master of Science degree in systems management.

The night of his disappearance, he was participating in the tri-annual Copper Flag training exercise at Tyndall AFB, FL, which is designed to test the US air defense against attacking enemy aircraft. It is a two-week exercise where participants hone their skills in air-superiority training, aircraft intruder training and warfare of all air defense scenarios. Five Air Force and Air National Guard units were participating in Copper Flag.

Michael aged 32 was flying with Capt. Joseph R. Lesyea aged 36 in an F-4D Phantom jet fighter during nighttime exercises over the Gulf of Mexico. Both men were instructors and had about ten years of service at the time. Michael was also an instructor weapons systems officer. The jet took off on Wednesday May 22, 1985 from Tyndall at 8:13 p.m. CDT for a flying mission, and missions usually last an hour.

According to a Coast Guard Spokesman in Mobile, AL, the jet was flying in tandem with another F-4D. "It was seen falling from 7,000 feet to 4,000 feet in about four seconds by (the pilots of) the other aircraft," said the spokesman; who asked to not be identified, "Then it disappeared into a cloud bank."

The 23rd NORAD Region at Tyndall was tracking the plane when it lost radar contact with it. "It dropped off the radar (at about 8:46 p.m. CDT Wednesday), that was the first indication of trouble, and it never reappeared". The jet was presumed down about 37.5 miles southwest of Cape San Blas (about 50 miles south of Tyndall).

After hearing of the downed plane, four Air Force and Coast Guard aircraft were immediately dispatched to search for the craft, said Lt. William Baumgartner of the Coast Guard's Eight District Operations Center in New Orleans.

"It's missing," Lt. Col. Art Tate of Tyndall Air Force Base's director of public affairs, said at mid-night. "A search and rescue mission involving Air Force Planes and ships is currently under way. That's all we know at this point." Tate would not say how low the jet had to be to go off radar. "We don't want the Soviets knowing how low they can fly to escape our radar," Tate said. The missing aircraft was assigned to the 31st Tactical Training Wing at Homestead AFB near Miami, FL.

Lt. Col. Art Tate said no distress signals were picked up. The F-4D is equipped with one emergency locator beacon, which is switched on at impact. Each crewmember has a least two beacons with him – one attached to his parachute and another fastened to his life raft. Tate said the pilots could have ejected from the plane . "However, we have no evidence whether they did or didn't," he said.

Tate said an F-4D jet costs about $6.5 million each and weighs several tons and would sink almost immediately after hitting water. But Tate said he could not elaborate on the type of mission the F-4D was flying.

The F-4D Phantom is a twin-jet interceptor, with air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities. Tyndall AFB spokesman Sgt. Kenneth Hoffman said the Phantom was engaged in mock air battles with another jet when it disappeared. "Sometimes they fly side by side, sometimes chasing one behind the other," Hoffman said, "I've been told they were at different altitudes, but I don't know if they could see each other."

Lt. Col. Art Tate also said "It doesn't look good at this point," he said "We haven't found anything" – no airmen in life rafts, no debris, no bodies. A Coast Guard spokesman in New Orleans said there is a good chance that if the pilots managed to eject from the jet before it hit the water, they are still alive. The Gulf water temperatures were in the 70s, he said, which is considered warm enough to prevent hypothermia. The pilots were also wearing insulated flight jackets and had an inflatable lifeboat with them.

Fog brought the search to a halt at around 3 a.m. Thursday, but aircraft and vessels began the effort anew at daybreak, Baumgartner said.

A daylong ariel search the next day turned up nothing, a Coast Guard spokesman said. " I talked to one pilot who said there were a lot of logs out there that look like bodies from the air", said Petty Officer Michael Mullen of the Coast Guard's District Eight office in New Orleans. "They flew down and checked out every one of them. The skies were so clear today they were spotting paper cups in the water."

Search efforts continued, sometimes hampered by stormy weather. Participating in the search efforts were the 55th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron from Eglin AFB (two C-130s and two Air Force helicopters), three Coast Guard aircraft (including a C-130 and a HU 25 Falcon Jet), the cutter Point Lobos, and several fishing boats were also helping. Air Force Sgt. Jim Armstrong of Homestead said "They normally carry other survival gear like flares, drinking water, beepers, detection devices." Armstrong said "I think there are some food stuffs, but I don't know the exact content." Armstrong said searchers received no signals from the detection devices. The F-4Ds "do have a beeper but there were no signals detected. I'm not familiar where the beeper is located on the jet," he said, "It does activate upon contact with water."

Petty Officer Mike Mullen of the U.S. Coast Guard said that the search would be called off "when it seems reasonable that enough time has passed … where we can determine that (it) is no longer feasible for (the pilots) to be alive." Coast Guard Lt. Daniel Cronin said the water is about 360 feet deep in the area where the jet is believed to have gone down. The F-4D would be difficult to find in the deep water, Cronin said. "They don't float. Generally you (only) locate the survivors."

After six days the search activity for the Air Force F-4D Phantom fighter jet covered 37,650 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico and produced no sign of the missing jet or its pilots and was called off. No distress calls were issued by the jet, and its emergency locator had not been heard. Coast Guard Lt. William Baumgartner said the search would be resumed only if something was found indicating the crewmen were alive. "I'd say if we find the aircraft, or if somebody finds something that would give us a reason to believe there's a possibility that the pilots are still alive," the search would resume, Baumgartner said. "Nothing that's been definitely linked to the aircraft (has been found). There's always some odds and ends that've been sighted that you can't get your hands on."

A Western Union Telex was sent to the family by Col. William B. Mitchell, Commander of the 31 Tactical Training Wing at Homestead AFB FL. Michael was officially declared missing and presumed dead (whereabouts unknown) Wednesday May 29, 1985 after he was missing for seven days at sea as the result of the F-4D aircraft accident in the Gulf of Mexico. He was the navigator of the aircraft and was a member of the 308th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Homestead Air Force Base, FL.

A memorial service was held at Homestead Air Force Base Chapel, Florida on June 4, 1985, which included a jet flyby and a 21 gun salute. A memorial marker is at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. His name is also on the outside wall of the Air Force Academy Chapel. When his daughter was asked by her grandmother Lois if she knew what had happened she said her dad was on permanent change in duty station; but, if there were no jets in heaven he would not like it.

He is survived by his wife, Deanna Kater Cox, an eight-year-old daughter Michele A. Cox, his parents Arthur and Lois Cox, his sister Merri R. Burgess, and his brothers Duane, Phillip and David Cox.

Staff Sgt. Scott White said a board investigating the disappearance will decide whether to try to find the missing Homestead jet on the Gulf's floor – if it is there – and bring it to the surface.

Air Force officers investigating the F-4's disappearance decided to contract with the Navy to locate and possibly bring up the jet. The Navy gave the job to Steadfast Marine, which rented the Mary D from William New, Sr. of Marine Transportation Services, Inc. The Mary D planned to tow a sonar sled owned by Steadfast to electronically locate the jet below the Gulf. New said the boat would work for 10 days and would return early only if it found the jet. The boat's task is to find the jet, New said. A decision on salvaging it would be made later.

On June 22, 1985 James Bladh, a diving and salvage specialist with the Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, D.C., said sonar last week detected what may turn out to be the wreckage of the F-4D Phantom jet in 240 feet of water at a site more than 50 miles southeast of Panama City, FL. Plans call for taking a look at the wreckage with underwater cameras and deciding what sections, if any, should be brought up.

James Bladh, a civilian Navy representative who took part in the salvage operation, said that the Air Force officials aboard a salvage boat by the Navy reviewed videotapes of debris and asked that eight pieces of wreckage be recovered from the 250 foot deep water.

Crews working out of Panama City, FL sighted the wreckage with sonar early in June 1985 some 50 miles southeast of the northwest Florida city, and salvage operations began the third week of June. "It was broken up into smaller pieces than any of us had ever seen." James Bladh, a civilian Navy representative, said on June 25, 1985. But he said" the debris field was pretty compact." Bladh said searchers found no sign of the jet's two Miami based airmen.

Salvagers say that they have recovered crumpled pieces of an Air Force jet that crashed into the Gulf of Mexico about 50 miles southwest of this Florida Panhandle city, but they found no sign of the two missing crew members.

Air Force officials hope that sections of the tail and wing of the ill-fated Phantom jet will reveal why the fighter and two crew members crashed in the Gulf of Mexico May 22, 1985.

On May 24, 2022 under the FOIA the family received the releasable portions of the safety investigation board report related to the F4-D tail #65-0625 which was involved in a mishap on 22 May 1985, 74 NM SSE of Tyndall AFB, FL. Following are excerpts from the report.

The sonar search identified a probable target at 2856 S 8516 W on 14 June 1985. Four dives using a remotely controlled vehicle were conducted on the target. On the third dive, a portion of the vertical stabilizer was recovered positively identifying the target as the mishap aircraft. The side scan sonar trace showed the mishap aircraft occupying an area approximately 40 meters square.

The wreckage was in water approximately 290-300 feet deep. The wreckage was very broken up and scattered in the area. Very few pieces of the wreckage were identifiable. The degree of destruction of the mishap aircraft would suggest an impact with the water at high speed. There was no recognizable part of either ejection seat in the wreckage. Also, no portion of either cockpit was recognizable. A thorough examination of the area did not reveal any evidence of the mishaps crew's remains.

Findings included the following: The mishap aircraft was vectored on a third intercept in hazy night conditions over water with no significant moon illumination. For an undetermined reason, the mishap aircraft entered an attitude from which the pilot failed to recover. Failure to recover the aircraft may have been due to spatial disorientation, insufficient altitude, or an unknown aircraft malfunction. The mishap aircraft was destroyed upon impact with the water and the aircrew was fatally injured.

As with accidents of this type where no remains are recovered, it is difficult for the family to find closure.
He continues to be dearly missed by his family and friends.

Inscription

In memory of ..., Captain, U.S. Air Force, Class of 1975



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