Michael William Doyle – Commander, United States Navy

Remains Returned 14 August 1985
Name: Michael William Doyle
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Fighter Squadron 161, USS MIDWAY
Date of Birth: 13 February 1943 (New Orleans LA)
Home City of Record: Philadelphia PA
Date of Loss: 25 August 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 204231N 1062731E (XH512875)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B

Other Personnel in Incident: John C. Ensch (Released POW)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 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. NETWORK.


LTCDR Michael W. Doyle was a pilot assigned to Fighter Squadron 161 onboard the aircraft carrier USS MIDWAY. On August 25, 1972 he launched with his Radar Intercept Officer (RIO), Lt. John C. Ensch, in their F4B Phantom fighter aircraft. Their mission was a MiG Combat Air Patrol over North Vietnam.

At approximately 24 miles southwest of Haiphong the aircraft was hit by a surface-to-air missile (SAM). Doyle and Ensch ejected immediately and were sighted by their wingman on descent. An emergency radio beeper was heard for
approximately 10 seconds. Search and rescue efforts were initiated without success, and were terminated two days later.
The U.S. received information quickly that John Ensch had been captured. Although Doyle was at first listed Missing in Action, he, too, was ultimately listed as Prisoner of War.

John Ensch was released in Operation Homecoming in 1973. Mike Doyle was not. Ensch had suffered a broken left arm and hand which had been poorly set, leaving him disfigured and disabled. Several returning POWs had information
relating to Doyle. Doyle's flight helmet had been seen with a pile of gear at the “Hanoi Hilton” prisoner of war complex in Hanoi. Also, Doyle's name was scratched on a pre-interrogation cell wall in the complex.

The Vietnamese denied any knowledge of Michael Doyle. However, in July 1985, the Vietnamese “discovered” the remains of Mike Doyle and returned them to U.S. control. Doyle had been missing for 13 years.

Michael William Doyle was promoted to the rank of Commander during the period he was prisoner of war.

August 25, 1972: Michael W. Doyle, flying just south of Hanoi on his third combat mission of the day and 250th mission of his career, is hit by a surface-to-air missile. Doyle ejects from his jet, along with radar intercept officer Lieutenant Jack Ensch. While Ensch is taken prisoner, Doyle is declared Missing in Action. Doyle's parents, Jere and Ruth Doyle of Philadelphia, wait  13 years for answers regarding their son's fate. Not until the summer of 1985 are Doyle's remains returned by the Vietnamese government. Doyle is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.



Date of Birth: 2/13/1943
Date of Casualty: 8/25/1972
Branch of Service: NAVY
Rank: CDR
Casualty Country: NORTH VIETNAM
Casualty Province: NZ

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