Name: Aado Kommendant
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 557th Tactical Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 09 August 1941
Home City of Record: Lakewood NJ
Loss Date: 08 August 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 111630N 1065430E (YT082472)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident:
Charles M. Walling (Missing)
Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 March 1991 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Copyright 1991 Homecoming II Project.
1Lt. Aado Kommendant was backseater to flight commander Capt. Charles M. Walling on an F4C Phantom jet called to provide close air support of friendly forces who were in contact with the enemy northeast of Bien Hoa airbase near Saigon. The two departed Cam Ranh Bay Airbase in South Vietnam and arrived in the target area without incident. They prepared to make bombing runs on a suspected enemy troop concentration, and shortly after the second run, the Forward Air Controller noticed an explosion about two miles southeast of the target. Both he and the flight leader proceeded to the scene as no radio replies were received from Walling's F4C. Rescue helicopters were alerted and arrived within minutes.
No parachutes were seen, nor were there any emergency radio transmissions. The area of the wreckage could not be seen by air because of dense foliage, nor could ground troops gain access to the area because it was defended by enemy troops. The last known location of the aircraft was near the juncture of Binh Duong, Bien Hoa, Long Khan and Binh Long Provinces in South Vietnam, about 40 miles northeast of Saigon.
Later that day, Foreign Broadcast Information Service in Okinawa monitored two radio releases from Radio Hanoi regarding the shoot-down of an F4 and the killing of two "yankees on board". Because Walling and Kommendant were aboard the only F4 lost that day in that area, it was felt that if the releases were true, they related to Walling and Kommendant. This report was discovered by the family in 1973 and had not been given to them by the Air Force or Defense Department prior to 1973.
Since American military involvement in Southeast Asia ended in 1975, the U.S. Government has received thousands of sighting reports of living Americans in captivity in Southeast Asia. Because many of these reports cannot be disproven, families of men like Charles Walling wonder if their loved one could still be waiting to be rescued by the country they loved and served.
Aado Kommendant and Charles M. Walling were both promoted to the rank of Major during the period they were maintained Missing in Action.