David Marion Christian

Lieutenant (junior grade)
United States Navy
15 January 1941 - 02 June 1965
Lane, Kansas
Panel 01E Line 129

Naval Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
David M Christian

The database page for David Marion Christian

19 Jan 2002

You Are Not Forgotten

From a squadronmate,
John Mudgett, ADCS(AW), USN (Ret)
1665 Cassell St. Virginia Beach, Va 23454-5651
3 Aug 2004

I was also in the same outfit but my time was up and I left the Midway in May of 1965. Sorry to hear that so many perished after you left me in the Philippines and the Black Knights returned to Vietnam. You will always be remembered.

From a friend and member of VA-23 from 1963 through May of 1965,
Mike Duffy

7 Aug 2004

Mr. Christian, you will always be remembered as long as a VA-23 sailor is alive. I salute you for protecting my freedom.

John Champlin (Champ) AZ2

Notes from The Virtual Wall

02 June 1965 was not a good day for MIDWAY's squadrons.

The first loss was Attack Squadron 23's LTJG David Christian, flying in A-4E BuNo 151144 as part of a strike on a radar site south of Thanh Hoa. Christian was hit by AAA fire as he pulled off target after a ZUNI run. He was not seen to eject before his aircraft impacted the ground.

Search and rescue efforts began at once, and about 30 minutes after Christian went down an EA-1F, BuNo 132540, arrived on-scene to coordinate the SAR effort. As the EA-1 crossed the beach near Sam Son it too was hit by AAA and crashed. Thus there were five men down in the vicinity of Thanh Hoa:

  • LTJG David M. Christian, A-4E 151144

  • From VAW-13'S EA-1F 132540:
    • LTJG M. D. McMican, Toppenish, WA
    • LTJG Gerald M. Romano, New York, NY
    • ATR3 William H. Amspacher, Canoga Park, CA
    • ATN3 Thomas L. Plants, Medina, OH
While SAR efforts were continuing in that area, MIDWAY's airwing continued with strikes elsewhere. About five hours after the initial losses, VA-23 lost another aircraft: A-4E BuNo 151161, flown by LT John B. McKamey, went down near Cam Ngog on the Song Ca River northeast of Vinh.

When nightfall halted further SAR efforts six men were on the ground. It had been determined that the EA-1 crash was not survivable, although it was thought that one man had bailed out of the stricken aircraft before impact - but his parachute didn't open, leaving no hope for survival. There was no evidence that LTJG Christian had gotten out of his aircraft. All five men were declared killed in action, body not recovered. There was marginally better news regarding LT McKamey - he had ejected and was known to have been captured almost immediately.

The first news of the six crewmen arrived about a week later in the form of intelligence reports that Petty Officer Plants' body had washed ashore and been recovered by the Vietnamese. Nothing further was heard until LT McKamey was released with other POWs on 12 Feb 1973.

On 10 April 1986, the Vietnamese government turned over 11 sets of human remains to the United States. On 20 April 1987, the US government announced that David Christian's remains had been identified. A separate examination of the remains was conducted at his family's request; while an indisputable identication was not possible, it was determined that the remains were probably those of David Christian.

Additional remains were repatriated on 13 July 1988, and on 14 November 1988 the government announced the positive identification of McMican, Romano, and Amspacher.

On 29 April 1991 another identification was announced; Thomas Plants' remains had been repatriated on 06 March 1991, the last of MIDWAY's lost crewmen to come home.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who served in the same squadron,
John Mudgett, ADCS(AW), USN (Ret)
1665 Cassell Street, Virginia Beach, Va 23454-5651
19 Jan 2002

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Channing Prothro, former CAP Marine
Last updated 08/08/2004