Doyle, Michael William, CDR

 Service Photo   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Primary NEC
131X-Unrestricted Line Officer - Pilot
Last Rating/NEC Group
Line Officer
Primary Unit
1972-1980, 131X, POW - Vietnam
Service Years
1958 - 1980

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

37 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Ryan Brown, ITC to remember Doyle, Michael William (Paw), CDR.

If you knew or served with this Sailor and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Casualty Info
Home Town
Philadelphia, PA
Last Address
Philadelphia, PA

Casualty Date
Aug 25, 1972
Hostile, Died while Captured
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Vietnam, North (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
01W 069 / SECT 65, SITE 4077

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club Order of the Golden Dragon

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Vietnam Veterans MemorialThe National Gold Star Family RegistryUnited States Navy Memorial American Battle Monuments Commission
  2013, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2013, The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2018, United States Navy Memorial - Assoc. Page
  2018, American Battle Monuments Commission

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
USS Ranger (CVA-61)VF-143 Pukin' Dogs NAS MiramarVF-161 Chargers
USS Midway (CVA-41)Prisoner of War
  1965-1966, 131X, USS Ranger (CVA-61)
  1965-1972, 131X, VF-143 Pukin' Dogs
  1966-1972, 131X, NAS Miramar
  1972-1972, 131X, VF-161 Chargers
  1972-1972, 131X, USS Midway (CVA-41)
  1972-1980, 131X, POW - Vietnam
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1964-1972 Yankee Station, North Vietnam
  1965-1966 Operation Rolling Thunder I
  1966-1966 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (65-66)
  1966-1966 Dixie Station, South Vietnam
  1966-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (66-67)
  1972-1973 Vietnam War/Vietnam Cease-fire Campaign (72-73)
  1972-1972 Vietnam War/Vietnam Cease-fire Campaign (72-73)/Operation Linebacker I
 Colleges Attended 
College of the Holy Cross
  1954-1958, College of the Holy Cross
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  Sea Story1
  Jun 15, 1975, Lt. Commander Michael W. Doyle Day2
  Jun 29, 2018, General Photos3
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity


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. 



The Navy F-4B Phantom jet fighter pilot was an honors graduate of St. Joseph's Preparatory School and a top Naval ROTC student at Holy Cross College near Boston, where he edited the school newspaper. He reported to the Navy a week after graduation, and was assigned to duty off of Viet Nam after completing flight training. The 29-year-old commander was shot down on August 25, 1972, by a Soviet-made SAM missle 12 miles southwest of Haiphong, North Viet Nam. He was on his third tour of duty and his 250th combat mission of the war. What happened to him next remained a mystery for 13 years and was a constant sourse of anguish and uncertainty for his family, which had moved from Overbrook Farms to Newburyport, MA. Although it was believed he was killed by the missle, Doyle was first reported missing and later as having been captured by the North Vietnamese and incarcerated at the "Hanoi Hilton" prison camp. The Navy declared him "presumed killed in action" in 1980. In August 1985, his body was one of 26 turned over by the North Vietnamese to the US government. A postive identification was made by military pathologists in Hawaii in October 1985, and he was officially declared dead. Among his survivors were his parents and two brothers, one of whom is a Navy jet fighter pilot who was the military escort officer accompanying Michael Doyle's remains home from Hawaii.


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