Stanley Edward Olmstead Commander (See Note below) © http://www.VirtualWall.org
Submitted by: Jo Aguirre and Glenn
Placement on the Wall:
Panel 02E Line 125
Home of Record: Marshall, Oklahoma
Date of birth: Sunday, 11/12/1933
Service Branch: Navy (Regular)
Grade at loss: O4
Rank: Commander (See Note below)
Promotion Note: None
ID No: 447342525
MOS or Specialty: 1310 Unrestricted Line Officer (Pilot)
Length Service: Not recorded
Unit: VF-84, CVW-7, USS INDEPENDENCE
Note: O4 at loss. Promoted while in MIA status
Start Tour: Not recorded
Incident Date: Sunday, 10/17/1965
Casualty Date: Friday, 04/06/1973
Age at Loss: 31
Location: Province not reported, North Vietnam
Remains: Body not recovered
Casualty Type: Hostile, died while missing
Casualty Reason: Air loss or crash over land - Fixed Wing - Pilot
Notes from The Virtual Wall
On 17 October 1965, USS INDEPENDENCE flew a normal combat schedule ... but it turned out to be anything but a normal day for the PHANTOM flyers of VF-41 and VF-84. Instead, they lost three aircraft and six crewmen.
All three Phantoms went down in Long Song Province, NVN, northeast of the city of Thai Nguyen, and within a few miles of each other.
VF-41 BLACK ACES
LT Roderick Mayer, pilot, and LTJG David Wheat (Radar Intercept Officer or RIO) of VF-41 were part of a day strike mission on the Thai Nguyen bridge northeast of Hanoi. Both men were seen to eject from their aircraft after it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Combat SAR was hampered by enemy fire, but the on-scene forces were able to observe one crewman (later determined to be LT Mayer) lying prone in his parachute for a period of two hours. Both Mayer and Wheat had disappeared from sight and enemy troops were in the area before rescue helicopters could reach the scene. Both men were placed in MIA status, but LTJG Wheat later was confirmed to be a prisoner and was released in 1973. On 31 October 1977 a Presumptive Finding of Death was issued for Roderick L. Mayer.
VF-84 JOLLY ROGERS
LTJG Ralph Gaither and LTJG Rodney A. Knutson flew one of the two VF-84 Phantoms that went down. Both men were captured by the North Vietnamese, spent nearly 8 years as prisoners, and were released on February 12, 1973 in Operation Homecoming. Knutson had been injured and was not fully recovered at the time of his release.
LCDR Stanley E. Olmstead, pilot, and LTJG Porter A. Halyburton, RIO, were in the third Phantom, which was hit by hostile fire while on a bombing mission. No transmissions were heard, nor was there any sign of ejection by either crewmember. Other US aircraft passed over the crash site and determined that there was no possibility of survival. Both men initially were classed as Missing in Action, but Halyburton had ejected, was captured, and was released in 1973. After his release, Halyburton stated that after the aircraft was hit LCDR Olmstead was slumped forward and unresponsive, and that after ejecting he (Halyburton) was able to watch his aircraft, with Olmstead still aboard, until it impacted. On 6 April 1973 a Presumptive Finding of Death was issued for Stanley Olmstead.
At the end of 17 October, the Phantom squadrons were mourning the loss of six men, four of whom would eventually be released. Roderick Mayer and Stanley Olmstead have not yet come home.
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