Apr 15

15 April 1969: Deep Sea 129 Shootdown

Thursday, April 15, 2010 8:45 PM

15 April 1969 (Korean time) marked the final flight of a Navy VQ-1 EC-121/WV-2 callsign Deep Sea 129. Roughly 100 nm off the North Korean peninsular site where the Hermit Kingdom today defies the world with its ballistic missile tests, lies the watery grave of 31 Americans (2 bodies were later recovered):

The crew of Deep Sea 129:

LCDR James H. Overstreet, LT John N. Dzema, LT Dennis B. Gleason, LT Peter P. Perrottey, LT John H. Singer, LT Robert F. Taylor, * LTJG Joseph R. Ribar, LTJG Robert J. Sykora, LTJG Norman E. Wilkerson, ADRC Marshall H. McNamara, CTC Frederick A. Randall, CTC Richard E. Smith, * AT1 Richard E. Sweeney, AT1 James Leroy Roach, CT1 John H. Potts, ADR1 Ballard F. Conners, AT1 Stephen C. Chartier, AT1 Bernie J. Colgin, ADR2 Louis F. Balderman, ATR2 Dennis J. Horrigan, ATN2 Richard H. Kincaid, ATR2 Timothy H. McNeil, CT2 Stephen J. Tesmer, ATN3 David M. Willis, CT3 Philip D. Sundby, AMS3 Richard T. Prindle, CT3 John A. Miller, AEC LaVerne A. Greiner, ATN3 Gene K. Graham, CT3 Gary R. DuCharme, SSGT Hugh M. Lynch,(US Marine Corps) [* Recovered]

North Korea not only acknowledged the shoot down, they loudly and boastfully celebrated their action. President Nixon suspended PARPRO flights in the Sea of Japan for three days and then allowed them to resume, only with escorts. No reparations were ever paid to the US or the families of the lost airmen.
And Kim Il-Sung celebrated another birthday (April 15th).

Read more here, here and here

 
 
 
  • http://paul1820@cox.net paul davis

    HOW WE COULD HAVE LET THOSE BASTARD GET AWAY WITH THIS IS BEYOND ME
    WELL SHOULD THINK IF IT HAPPENED NOW WE WOULD NOT HEAR ABOUT IT
    ONE BIG BEAR OF A PLANE
    AS AN AQ 1 I GOT TO WORK THE RADAR FROM THE SUPER TURD AT ROOSY ROADS
    GOD BLESS THE FAMILIED OF THE CREW

  • Jim Valle

    Reconnaisance flights around the periphery of the Communist Block nations started early in the Cold War and went on for a long time. The Airforce originally used modified B-29s ( designated RB-50s ) and the Navy utilized a variety of aircraft starting about the same time. The aircrews were sworn to secrecy and the missions were a complete mystery even at the bases where the flights originated. When, as happened occasinally, a recon flight was shot down by the Reds or otherwise forced to ditch some effort was made to rescue the crews but usually without success. Families were invariably told their men had died in a “training accident” and they were treated like ordinary peacetime casualties. On a few occaisions aircrew may have been captured but this was completely hushed up and, even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, no attempt was ever made to investigate the fate of airmen who could not be accounted for. Only one book has ever come out about this. I read it some time ago, gave it to an Airforce vet friend of mine and now can’t remember the title or author’s name. Sorry about that!

  • Joseph J.Urda ( HM2 1969)

    Every April I think of these young men. I was stationed at the Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, Japan and was in charge of the Far East Mortuary. I got the call that a plane had been shot down and to expect many bodies. Only 2 were recovered, AT1 Richard E. Sweeney and LTJG Joseph R. Ribar. The daughter of Richard Sweeney contacted me a couple of years ago and thanked me for my part. She was a very young girl at the time of her father’s death. And just a month ago, the brother of ATN2 Richard H. Kincaid contacted me.

    If there is anyone out there who is aware of state side memorial services for this incident, please let me know.

    God bless all of them and keep their families in your thoughts.

    Joe Urda
    Groton, NY

  • Kincaid, Charles

    CHECK OUT THIS WEB SITE FOR MORE INFO ABOUT THIS POW/MIA GROUP

    http://www.rollingthunder1.com/

    In letters from my brother, he knew the dangers of each flight mission, yet risked his life for our freedom.

  • René Hicks

    Joesph R. Ribar was the husband of my high school teacher…

  • Don Mac Neill

    On may 15 2010 the non proffit 501c-3 org Old Guard N.E.
    paid hoage two the family of Dennis J. Horrigan and the other 30 men who lost there lives that day Dennis was a close family friend of my wife and her older brothers best friend we are patitioning for dennis to get his name on the wall in VA as now he is classified as KIA as it says on his sione in the Memory field at the MA national veterans cemetary in Bourne MA.I believe that all 31 names should be added to the wall .

  • Tom Walker

    LTJG Robert J.(Bob)Sykora and I were in the same NAVOCS section (company) and, being from the same state (Alabama)and having graduated from the same university (Univ. of Alabama), were about as close friends as OCS officer candidates could be, and kept in sporadic contact after we were commissioned. I would like to hear from anyone who knew Bob after he finished NAVOCS, went thru training, and went to Japan. I think he was survived by a wife and son, and would like to find out where they are also. I can be contacted at: .

  • robert andrews

    Frederick A Randall was my cousin his sister are only ones left freddy inlisted from Halifax MAss being menberHalifax VFW iw liketoo give him some recon here

  • Ron Vanderbilt (Roach)

    My father was James Leroy Roach He was on the flight. we knew nothing about his missions he was awesome I looked forward to his return constantly we lived on base in Japan We had been there only 9 months. He now has 2 grandsons Cory David 17 and Ryan James 24 my sons. Plus a grandson and granddaughter by my sister. I am so grateful that he fought for this country to this day. Our service men and women do so much for our freedom (few could fathom) that we should honer them and trust them lets take the civilian out of the military business

    Love You Dad,
    Ron

  • R. Terry Sharp (CTR2 1971)

    To the families and friends of the crew of Deep Sea 129 words and time aren’t adequate to ease the pain of your loss, but I want you to know that there are many of us that will remember their sacrifice. For several years I have ridden with Run for the Wall from California to D.C. during the last two weeks of May. Last year I dedicated my ride to the KIA & survivors of the USS Liberty. This year in addition to the Liberty, I will dedicate my ride to the memory of the crew of Deep Sea 129. While it isn’t much, I hope I can honor the memory of the crew with my ride.

  • Anthony Nozzi

    I served on the USS Ranger during the Pueblo crisis. Upon hearing of its capture we left the Tonkin Gulf and headed to the Sea of Japan for a possible confrontation with N. Korea. We were helpless as it was well known that the crew would have been executed if we would have attacked. My next tour of duty was on the USS Enterprise that was also operating in the Tonkin Gulf during the shooting down of the EC-121. Same scenario, flank speed from air ops in the Tonkin Gulf to the Sea of Japan. Nothing but a show of force, we were bogged down in Vietnam, another war would have spread our forces thin. It was frustrating for all since anger still persisted over the Pueblo.

  • Patrick Tesmer

    My uncle lost his life on this day. I never was able to meet my uncle Steve, but I am so proud of him my six month old son has his name forever. Zachery Stephen Tesmer was born on 11/11/2011.

  • Dennis Horrigan

    Don M Thank you for posting. My father and Dennis Horrigan’s father were brothers. I never met him as I was 2 years old.

  • Bill Holland

    CT1 John H. Potts was a personal friend of mine. We studied the Korean language at the Institute of Far Eastern Languages at Yale University in 1960 and 1961. As members of USAFSS, we served our tours together at Osan AFB, South Korea from 1962-1963. John was discharged in 1964 and shortly thereafter, joined the U.S. Navy. The rest, as they say, is history.

  • Jim Treadway

    This shootdown haunts me (CT2 at Kami Seya at the time). I worked with Chief Randall who perished that day with the 30 others. I could never understand why we did not retaliate. I salute the brave crew and think of them often.

  • Jim Treadway

    I worked with Chief Randall at Kami Seya. I had a great deal of respect for him. He was a dedicated Chief.