Name: Anthony J. Piersanti, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit: Mobile Support Unit, Detachment B
Date of Birth: 26 May 1946
Home City of Record: Pennsauken NJ
Date of Loss: 15 December 1970
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 172109N 1084429E (BK600200)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident:
Meril O. McCoy Jr.; Clyde C. Owen; Carroll J. Deuso (all missing)
Compiled by Homecoming II Project 30 April 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
LT Meril O. McCoy, Jr. was the pilot of a C2A "Trader" cargo plane launched from the USS RANGER about 90 miles north-northeast of Da Nang, South Vietnam on December 15, 1970. He carried a total of six individuals onboard, including himself, on the flight.
Approximately 10 seconds after takeoff, te aircraft apparently stalled and crashed into the Gulf of Tonkin. An intensive search was conducted immediately by the RANGER and accompanying ships and aircraft. As a result, the remains of two of the personnel on board the aircraft were recovered. Still missing were the pilot, LT Meril O. McCoy, Jr.; the co-pilot, LTJG Anthony J. Piersanti Jr.; crewman Petty Officer Clyde C. Owen; and Master Chief Petty Officer Carroll J. Deuso, a passenger. Deuso was a boiler technician assigned to Mobile Support Unit Detachment, BRAVO. The units of the missing crewmen are not known.
The C2, sometimes called "Greyhound" freqently carried passengers from multiple units on their way to and from duty assignments. The aircraft and crew were not necessarily assigned to any of the points of embarkment or disembarkment. Thus, it cannot be said that this C2 had any relation to the USS RANGER other than loading or unloading passengers onboard that carrier.
(NOTE: There is some confusion in the U.S. Navy version of this incident in that it states that the aircraft carried "a crew of four" and that there were "six passengers," leading one to guess that there were 10 souls on board the aircraft. However, as only four Americans are missing on this date, and the U.S. Navy states that two remains were recovered after the crash, it can only be assumed that the Navy account was hastily written and that there were a total of six personnel onboard the aircraft -- two who were recovered, and four who were not.)
During the period of July-September 1973, an over water/at sea casualty resolution operation was conducted to determine the feasibility of performing recovery operations on such cases as the loss of the C2 on December 15, 1970. Because this operation ended with no results whatsoever, it was determined that the men lost at sea could not be recovered.
Deuso, Piersanti, McCoy and Owen were declared Deceased/Body Not Recovered. The incident is listed as non-battle related.
The Vietnam War touched many lives. Tens of thousands of families lost loved ones in battle deaths. Tens of thousands saw their sons and brothers come home maimed physically and mentally from the wounds and torments of the savagery of war. Some received telegrams that their loved ones drowned in recreation; a few learned their sons died from drug overdose; and some learned their sons, for unknown reasons chose to end their lives in Vietnam. Still others were lost in tragic accidents at sea, never to be recovered.
As a society, we tend to bury the unpleasant aspects of war and concentrate on the victory. In Vietnam, we have only a hollow "Peace with Honor" and must instead, focus on the warriors - men who willingly served their country when called. Men whose lives we used as the price for our freedom.
The most tragic of all the warriors are those who still wait, captive and abandoned by their country in prisons and camps in Southeast Asia. In abandoning them, we have made the deaths and suffering of thousands a frivolous waste. We must never neglect the duty we have to the men who must someday answer their country's call.