Hugh Michael Fanning

VMA(AW)-242, MAG-11, 1ST MAW
United States Marine Corps
12 July 1941 - 24 September 1976
Fort Worth, Texas
Panel 28E Line 103



Hugh M Fanning

Naval Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Hugh Michael Fanning

15 Jun 1999

Forget Me Not

Forget me not
As I sit in this cage
My heart is so heavy
with turmoil and rage

I look forward to
my inevitable release
Be it thru death
or talking of peace

In daylight I work
so hard in their field
At night I'm alone
with wounds yet not healed

So keep in your hearts
A special spot
Cause I'm begging and pleading
Forget me not
M & M

It has been 32 years since Major Fanning's plane went down in the jungle over South Vietnam.

He has not, nor will he ever be forgotten. He gave his country the ultimate sacrifice and it is with great pride that I honor him and the service he provided to his country.

As long as there is breath in my body I will continue to pray and hope for the homecoming of Major Hugh Fanning. I don't know what he looks like but I envision the all-American guy, smartly dressed in dress blues coming down the stairs of a plane, thousands of people amassed and all of them proudly waving the American flag. He stands tall and snaps a return salute to the soldiers at the bottom of the stairs and walks proudly across the tarmack.

Perhaps one day this will be the scene but until Major Fanning does descend those stairs, it is with utmost importance that we, as free and proud American citizens, remember not only Major Fanning but all of the POW's and pray for their return and safety.

I wore a POW/MIA bracelet in honor of Major Fanning.


21 Jul 2005

If anyone knew my husband, Major Hugh Michael Fanning USMC, whose A-6 Intruder was downed over North Vietnam on October 31, 1967, please contact me.

If you have any information about him, I'd like to hear from you.

S. Kathryn Fanning
P. O. Box 18472, Oklahoma City, Ok 73154

28 Oct 2005

I received my POW/MIA bracelet in 1972 at the age of 17. I am wearing it today, 29-Oct-2005. Im very careful with it as it is a bit worn in one place and I don't want it to break. On my bracelet Major Fanning has already been promoted to Captain. I just wanted to let his family and friends know that he and all those who were lost as well as those who survived are often in my thoughts.

I want to extend a sincere and heartfelt "THANK YOU" to all military personnel who put themselves in harm's way for their country and for each individual within our country.

Cathy Ray
Dallas, Texas

14 Nov 2006

I've worn Major Fanning's POW/MIA bracelet for over 10 years now. I've never taken it off. But I pray that some day he will come home, so I can.

Brandy Osborne

18 Aug 2007

Mrs. Fanning, I was 6 years old when your husband went missing. Since that time, I have grown and have been teaching now for 18 years. I somehow inherited, from another teacher, a bracelet with your husband's name on it. Whether I am teaching US History, World History, or World Geography, I always manage to bring out the bracelet and honor your husband and countless others who served.

My family knew boys and young men who served then. But of course I was too young to fully comprehend the situation. Today, I understand all too much, and wanted you to know Captain Hugh M. Fanning is still being honored in a classroom near Houston.

All my best,
Linda Hudson

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On the night of 30/31 Oct 1967, A-6A BuNo 152601 launched from Danang as the number two aircraft in a flight of two targeted for a radar bombing strike against the Canal des Rapides Bridge southeast of Hanoi. The two aircraft were from Marine All-Weather Attack Squadron 242 (VMA(AW)-242), and 152601 was crewed by Captain Hugh M. Fanning, pilot, and Captain Stephen J. Kott, bombardier-navigator.

The flight proceeded to the target without incident. The flight leader completed his run and Fanning indicated via radio that he was commencing his attack. Fanning's aircraft went down during or immediately after his attack run. Search and rescue efforts were impractical due to the high threat in the area and both men initially were classed as missing in action. Intelligence reports indicated that Captain Kott had been killed in the crash but there was a possibility Captain Fanning had been captured. Captain Kott eventually was reclassified as Killed in Action/Body not Recovered while Fanning was continued in MIA status. Both men had been promoted to Major while in MIA status.

None of the POWs repatriated in Feb/Mar 1973 knew anything about the two men, and on 24 Sep 1976 the Secretary of the Navy approved a Presumptive Finding of Death for Major Fanning.

On 17 July 1984 six boxes of human remains were repatriated. Within a month they had been identified as the remains of

  • SFC Dominick Sansone, Brooklyn, NY
       B Co, 1st SF Grp; C-123 crash (12/10/1964)
  • LtCol Vincent J. Connolly, San Antonio, TX
       20TH TRS, RF-101C 56-0093 (11/04/1966)
  • Major Hugh M. Fanning, Fort Worth, TX
       VMA(AW)-242 A-6A 152601 (10/31/1967)
  • Major Stephen J. Kott, Greenville, SC
       VMA(AW)-242 A-6A 152601 (10/31/1967)
  • CDR Richard C. Nelson, Drexel Hill, PA
       VA-75 A-6A 152922 (03/06/1968)
  • LT Gary L. Shank, Prairie Village, KS
       VA-56 A-7B 154531 (07/23/1972)
The remains were returned to their families and in each case were given burial with full military honors.

However, eleven months after burying her husband Mrs. Kathryn Fanning determined there were serious problems with the identification and obtained a court order directing exhumation and a separate evaluation. Two well-known scientists independently concluded that anthropological evaluation alone could not positively identify the remains as those of Major Fanning or anyone else, and the Marine Corps rescinded the identification.

In the early 1990s Mrs. Fanning and the Marine Corps agreed to mitochondrial DNA testing of the remains. DNA extracted from the remains matched precisely with DNA from Major Fanning's mother and sister.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his wife,
S. Kathryn Fanning
P. O. Box 18472, Oklahoma City, Ok 73154

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 15 Jun 1999
Last updated 12/05/2007