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[Spacer] [Navy - 1K] James Joseph Sansone
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[POW - .3K]  Killed In Action - Body Not Recovered   [POW - .3K] 

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  • Name: James Joseph Sansone
  • Rank/Branch: E3/US Navy
  • Unit: USS Newport News
  • Date of Birth: 24 March 1950
  • Home City of Record: Norwood MA
  • Date of Loss: 10 August 1972
  • Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
  • Loss Coordinates: 165544N 1071836E (YD460730)
  • Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
  • Category: 5
  • Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: Cruiser
  • Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)
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    SYNOPSIS: Seaman James J. Sansone was a crewmember assigned to USS Newport News (CA 184) on station in the Gulf of Tonkin offshore from the Demilitarized Zone
    in Vietnam.  On September 10, 1972 at 8:47 a.m., Seaman Sansone was seen to fall overboard from the outboard hatch of a 5"/ 38-gun mount.  All main 5"/38-gun mounts
    on the Newport News are positioned so that when trained centerline their outboard sides are parallel to the life lines which run fore and aft on the sides of the ship.  Since such lines preclude movement of the mounts, they are removed at any time a mount is to be trained outboard in firing position.

    Prior to Sansone's fall, the gun mount had been trained to the starboard side in order to conduct transmission checks.  At the conclusion of these checks, a warning bell would sound to indicate that the mount was about to move and to warn all personnel to clear
    the area around it.  Seaman Sansone was apparently in a position half in and half out of the mount's outboard hatch.

    As the mount came to centerline, the operator stated that he applied the brake switch
    and the mount jerked in a quick movement of two or three degrees each way as it came
    to rest.  It was at this moment that Sansone was seen to fall into the water.  "Man Overboard" was immediately sounded.  Seaman Sansone was seen by several ship's
    crew to be swimming toward one of the life rings and appeared to be unhurt.  He sank beneath the surface several times before reaching any ring, and was not seen again after going under the fifth time.  A rescue helicopter was overhead just as he disappeared below the water's surface.

    Search and rescue efforts continued with the use of nearby units from the USS Hoel
    and USS Anderson, but failed to produce any sign of Seaman Sansone.  He was placed
    in a category of Killed, Body Not Recovered.  He is among nearly 2500 Americans who remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam war.  The cases of some, like Sansone, seem clear - that they perished and cannot be recovered.  Unfortunately, mounting evidence indicates that hundreds of Americans are still captive, waiting for the country they proudly served to secure their freedom.

    In our haste to leave an unpopular war, it now appears we abandoned some of our best men.  In our haste to heal the wounds of this same war, will we sign their death warrants? Or will we do what we can to bring them home?

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