Rodney Max Chapman

Lieutenant Commander
United States Navy
26 February 1935 - 18 February 1969
Alpena, Michigan
Panel 32W Line 053



Naval Aviator

Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Rodney Max Chapman

18 Feb 2004


by a friend in the wind with a bracelet,
Patrick Micheal O'Riley
23 Oct 2004


by his nephew,
Mark K. Cousineau
21 Sep 2006

Never Forgotten!

by his nephew,
Stephen L. Chapman

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The A-3 Skywarriors of the Navy's Heavy Attack squadrons did very little "attacking" in Vietnam, but they did provide a wide variety of essential combat support tasks as airborne tankers, electronic warfare platforms, and for airborne reconnaissance. Each carrier had an A-3 detachment, usually three aircraft, aboard when they arrived on Yankee Station.

During her 1968/69 cruise USS CORAL SEA's airwing included Detachment 10 of Heavy Attack Squadron 10 (VAH-10). On 18 Feb 1969 a VAH-10 KA-3B (bureau number 138943) provided airborne tanker support for a night cycle and, at completion of that cycle, provided overhead tanker support for the aircraft which were recovering aboard. When all other aircraft had been recovered, the KA-3B was directed to depart her overhead orbit in preparation for a carrier-controlled approach to landing. The KA-3B tracked outbound as directed, but failed to respond when CATCC directed her to turn to her inbound leg. The KA-3B's radar return disappeared shortly thereafter.

The carrier's SAR helicopter was dispatched to the KA-3's last position but found no trace of the aircraft or its crew. Although the seach began again at first light and continued through the day, nothing was found. The subsequent accident board determined the likely cause was controlled flight into the water, probably due to pilot fatigue, and all three men aboard were declared dead. They were

  • LCDR Rodney M. Chapman, Alpena, MI, pilot
  • AMS1 Stanley M. Jerome, Detroit, MI, aircrewman
  • AO1 Eddie R. Schimmels, Los Angeles, CA, aircrewman

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his nephew,
Mark K. Cousineau

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 19 Feb 2004
Last updated 12/11/2006