Full Name: VINCENT DUNCAN MONROE
Wall Name: VINCENT D MONROE
Date of Birth: 7/1/1934
Date of Casualty: 5/18/1968
Home of Record: OAKLYN, NEW JERSEY
Branch of Service: NAVY
Casualty Country: NORTH VIETNAM
Casualty Province: NZ
MONROE, VINCENT DUNCAN
Remains Returned 23 August 1978
Name: Vincent Duncan Monroe
Rank/Branch: O4/US Navy
Unit: Reconnaissance/Attack Squadron 11, USS KITTY HAWK (CVA 63)
Date of Birth: 01 July 1934 (Chicago IL)
Home City of Record: Oaklyn NJ
Date of Loss: 18 May 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 185800N 1051800E (WF316970)
Status (in 1973): Prisoner of War
Other Personnel in Incident: Charlie N. James Jr. (released POW)
Commander Charlie N. James, Jr. was a pilot assigned to Reconnaissance Attack Squadron 11 onboard the USS KITTY HAWK. On May 18, 1968, he launched in his RA5C Vigilante on a multi-aircraft reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam. His Radar/Navigator that day was Lieuenant Commander Vincent D. Monroe.
The Vigilante commenced its run and crossed the North Vietnam coastline as planned, proceeding toward Vinh Son, which was the primary target. James' and Monroe's aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and started to spout flames burning uncontrollably. The pilot of one of the other aircraft on the mission transmitted to Monroe that his aircraft was hit, and he responded with, “I know.” This was the last transmission received from James and Monroe.
The aircraft decelerated rapidly and plunged toward the ground. Other pilots momentarily lost sight of the crippled craft, and when again observed, approximately 10 seconds later, it impacted the ground. Intensive automatic weapons fire was in the area from many sites. Two parachutes were observed and emergency radio beepers heard. Search and rescue efforts were initiated. However, failure to establish voice contact with either flight member and the intensity of the anti-aircraft fire in the area necessitated terminaton of the effort. Electronic surveillance continued, but to no avail.
Radio Hanoi broadcast the capture of two American pilots on May 18, 1968 in the general area of the loss of James and Monroe. Both men were classified Prisoner of War.
In 1973, 591 lucky American POWs were released from Vietnam. James was among them; Monroe was not. Military officials at the time were shocked that hundreds of servicemen suspected or known to be prisoners of war were not
Since American involvement in Southeast Asia ended, thousands of reports have been received by the U.S. relating to Americans still prisoner, missing, or otherwise unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. Many authorities
believe there are hundreds still alive, waiting for their country to come for them.
Vincent D. Monroe was maintained in Prisoner of War status until January 10, 1978, at which time his status was changed to Presumed Killed in Action. Later that year, a delegation led by Congressman “Sonny” Montgomery visited
Hanoi and was given the remains of Vincent D. Monroe. Monroe was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
During the period they were maintained as Prisoner of War, Charlie N. James and Vincent D. Monroe were promoted to the rank of Captain.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard