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[Spacer] [Navy Seal - 4.4K] Martin Joseph Sullivan
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[POW - .3K]  Killed In Action - Body Not Recovered   [POW - .3K] 

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  • Name: Martin Joseph Sullivan
  • Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
  • Unit: Fighter Squadron 96, USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
  • Date of Birth: 28 January 1933
  • Home City of Record: Lawrence MA
  • Date of Loss: 12 February 1967
  • Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
  • Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
  • Category: 5
  • Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B
  • Other Personnel in Incident: Paul V. Carlson (missing)
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    [Up - .1K] [Spacer] SYNOPSIS [Spacer] [Down  - .1K]

    SYNOPSIS: Lt.Cdr. Martin J. Sullivan was a pilot assigned to assigned to Fighter Squadron 96 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.  On February 12, 1967, he launched in his F4B Phantom fighter aircraft with his Radar Intercept Officer (RIO), Lt.JG Paul V. Carlson.  The aircraft was on a local intercept training mission in the
    Gulf of Tonkin in the vicinity of the USS Enterprise.  Sullivan and Carlson were to
    conduct a pre-briefed simulated aerial combat maneuver with their flight leader.

    During the third intercept and after two turns, the aircraft commenced a descending reversal at too low an altitude to complete prior to entry into clouds.  The aircraft was seen to enter a cloud overcast at 6500 feet in a wings level, extremely nose-low attitude.

    Lt. Cdr. Sullivan appeared to have the aircraft under full control with the nose coming
    up.  It is suspected that he became disoriented upon entry into the clouds and crashed
    into the sea.  There was no indication of ejection attempted by either crew member.  No radio transmissions were heard, and Search and Rescue efforts were immediately begun using aircraft assets from the USS Enterprise, USS Bennington and USS Bauer.  USS Bennington continued surface and air search throughout the night.  An oil slick and debris were seen, but no survivors or remains were ever found.

    Carlson and Sullivan apparently did not survive the crash of their aircraft.  They are among nearly 2500 Americans who remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War.  Their cases seem simple enough, although their families grieve that their remains have never been returned to them for a hero's burial.

    Tragically, thousands of reports indicate that Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia, held prisoner and waiting for their country to bring them home.  Although it seems quite clear that Carlson and Sullivan are not among them, one can imagine them proudly taking one more flight for their comrades in distress.  They could do no less.  Can we?

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