Saukaitis, Joseph Stephen, PO2 Fallen
 
 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Petty Officer Second Class
Last Primary Designator/NEC
AT-0000-Aviation Electronics Technician
Last Rating/NEC Group
Aviation Electronics Technician
Last Duty Station
1970-1970, 9521, VQ-1 World Watchers
Service Years
1967 - 1970
AT-Aviation Electronics Technician

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

23 kb

Home State
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Year of Birth
1949
 
Casualty Info
Home Town
Kulpmont
Last Address
Kulpmont

Casualty Date
Mar 16, 1970
 
Cause
Non Hostile- Died Other Causes
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Quang Nam
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
12W 009

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 Duty Stations
VQ-1 World Watchers
  1970-1970, 9521, VQ-1 World Watchers
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

The Mission


The EC-121 was a radar flight following and communications/electronics surveillance aircraft, a variant on the civilian Super Constellation. EC-121s from the Air Force and Navy routinely operated over the Gulf of Tonkin providing support to combat aircraft "over the beach" in North Vietnam. The EC-121 Warning Star was a large aircraft, far too big to operate from carriers, and was based ashore in Vietnam and/or the Philippines.

Petty Officer Saukaitis was a crewman aboard a Warning Star of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron ONE (VQ-1). At 11:25 AM on 16 March 1970, his aircraft attempted a landing at Da Nang Air Base, SVN. It was a windy day, and the aircraft's number four engine was dead. The pilot banked while flying over a concrete revetment and caught the tip of the left wing on a shelter. The EC-121 immediately cartwheeled, striking a revetment containing an RF-4C, causing an explosion. The explosion's force broke the EC-121 into three sections. One of these flying sections hit a tar truck, knocking it into two power poles. The poles were severed and live power lines were strewn over the area.


Although ground personnel made heroic efforts to rescue the 31 men aboard the EC-121 - braving gasoline and jet fuel fires and the risk of electrocution - 23 men were either dead or fatally injured.


Petty Officer Joseph Saukaitis was one of the 23 dead.


   
Comments/Citation
Joseph Stephen Saukaitis was born on Sep 08, 1949.
He has two sisters. Joe was 20 years old and single.
He loved auto mechanics and fishing.
He was loved by his family very much and they were making
so many plans for his leave home at Christmas.
He had been in the Navy two years.
Home of record:  Kulpmont, Pennsylvania
   
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