Ellison, John Cooley, CAPT

 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
1965-1967, 131X, USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63)
Service Years
1952 - 1967

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

46 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Elizabeth Ellison-Family to remember Ellison, John Cooley, CAPT.

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
Last Address

Casualty Date
Mar 24, 1967
Hostile, Died while Missing
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Vietnam, North (Vietnam)
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
17E 035

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Gulf of Tonkin Yacht Club Order of the Golden Dragon

 Military Association Memberships
Vietnam Veterans MemorialUnited States Navy Memorial The National Gold Star Family Registry
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2013, United States Navy Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2013, The National Gold Star Family Registry

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar
Naval Aviator Wings

 Duty Stations
USS Bataan (CVL-29)Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FLUSS Boxer (CVA-21)VF-144 Knight Riders
USS Hornet (CVA-12)Commander Naval Air Training (CNATRA)VF-41 Black AcesUS Navy
NAS Oceana, VAVA-85 Black FalconsUSS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63)
  1952-1953, USS Bataan (CVL-29)
  1953-1954, Naval Aviation Preflight Indoctrination (API), NAS Pensacola, FL
  1954-1956, 131X, USS Boxer (CVA-21)
  1954-1957, 131X, VF-144 Knight Riders
  1956-1957, 131X, USS Hornet (CVA-12)
  1957-1960, 131X, Commander Naval Air Training (CNATRA)
  1960-1962, 131X, VF-41 Black Aces
  1962-1965, 131X, Other Military Services
  1965-1965, 131X, NAS Oceana, VA
  1965-1967, 131X, VA-85 Black Falcons
  1965-1967, 131X, USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1952-1953 Korean War
  1962-1962 Cold War Event - Cuban Blockade
  1964-1973 Yankee Station, North Vietnam
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Defense Campaign (65)
  1965-1965 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Campaign (65-66)
  1965-1965 Operation Rolling Thunder
  1966-1967 Vietnam War/Counteroffensive Phase II Campaign (66-67)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Naval Academy
  1948-1952, United States Naval Academy
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
In 1967 Attack Squadron 85 (call sign BUCKEYE), operating the A-6A INTRUDER, deployed aboard USS KITTY HAWK. On 24 March, LCDR John "Buzz" Ellison and LTJG Jim Plowman launched in A-6A BuNo 151587 as part of a strike force directed against the Bac Giang thermal power plant in North Vietnam. The target was heavily defended by SAMs and a full spectrum of conventional anti-aircraft weaponry. Ellison and Plowman were tasked with SAM suppression for the bombers.
After the strike was completed, friendly radar flight following tracked the BUCKEYE aircraft as it headed toward the Gulf of Tonkin, but the track terminated in the vicinity of Ha Bac Province near the Vietnam/China border. Combat SAR was initiated. Voice contact was achieved with LCDR Ellison, but neither he nor Plowman was rescued. Both men were placed in "Missing in Action" status.

The North Vietnamese never acknowledged capturing either Ellison or Plowman, nor did they report that either man had been killed. However, there is evidence that both men survived.

Even so, the two men were never placed in POW status, and on 5 Sep 1975 the Secretary of the Navy approved a Presumptive Finding of Death for now-Captain Ellison, changing his status to "Died while Missing".

While I had only a slight acquaintance with these two men -- I joined VA-85 after their loss -- they are not forgotten.

Ken Davis
A-6 Aircrewman, Attack Squadron 85
LCDR Ellison was promoted to Captain while in a MIA status.
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