Stanley Edward Olmstead

United States Navy
12 November 1933 - 06 April 1973
Marshall, Oklahoma
Panel 02E Line 125

Naval Aviator

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Stanley E Olmstead

The database page for Stanley Edward Olmstead

21 Oct 2001

The Memorial

He that holds a seat of honor in the heart and mind of just one friend will never die but live forever. Stan Olmstead holds that place of honor in the hearts and minds of many enlisted shipmates from Fighter Squadron 84.

All will remember Oct 17, 1965.

From a friend and shipmate,
Jack Parrott ADCS USN (Retired) 
15 April 2001

In October 1998, Porter Halyburton who was the Radar Intercept Officer with Stan Olmstead on October 17, 1965, and a POW in North Vietnam for 7 1/2 years, traveled to Viet Nam.

The single most most moving event of that incredible journey was an attempt to locate the crash site and pay tribute to Stan. Porter, his wife Marty, several other former POWs and their spouses held a memorial service, placing a cross and American flag facing the mountain into which Stan's plane crashed.

Little did we realize what closure this would bring to all of us whose lives have been so deeply touched by the Vietnam War.

Submitted by Marty Halyburton
(wife of Porter Halyburton -- before, during and since Vietnam)
93 Highland Road, Bristol RI 02809
14 May 2002

I am so happy to finally know what happened to Stanley E. Olmstead. I wore his POW bracelet all throughout my high school years, faithfully. I kept it in a special place with my most priceless possession for almost 30 years, hoping that I would someday be able to meet him. I scanned the papers for years, trying to find his name on lists of returning POWS and it was never there. Recently, at a special family dinner (for my parent's 50th wedding anniversary), I took a sack full of special memories to share with my families. I showed many things of my childhood and growing up years. I then passed around this POW bracelet and said: "to my knowledge, he has never been found." After returning home, I thought, "surely I should be able to find out more about him on the internet." Excitedly, I typed away all day long and finally found a commentary by a friend of Porter Halyburton, the pilot of Stan's downed jet. I was so disappointed to find out that he never saw Stan eject from the plane and watched it, helplessly, as it crashed into the ridgeline.

I was relieved, however, to know what had happened to Stan and from an email address was able to reach Porter, who in turn, put me in touch with Mickey Olmstead--Stan's son. I have heard from him and am thrilled to know more about Stan's family. I am grateful for a little bit of "closure" and hope to send the bracelet off to their family soon.

I am a very patriotic person and am extremely grateful for the sacrifice of Stanley and many others like him, as well as their families. I am definitely "proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free ... and I won't forget the men who died - who gave that right to me." I am a musician and am currently directing a performing group of little children whose name is "Starzz n' Stripes." Our Spring program is this week and is entitled "I'm Proud to be an American." I will be dedicating this program to Stanley Olmstead and his family. It has been my privilege to wear his bracelet and keep it for so many years.

Jill Lynn Smith Gubler
P.O. Box 528, Loa, Utah 84747
27 June 2002

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.
- W.B. Yeats -

From a fellow American
E-mail address is not available.

6 Aug 2004

A loyal son
A loving father
A devoted brother.
Always my hero,
Always in my heart.

From his sister,
Carolyn McClelland
E-mail address is not available.

29 Aug 2007

I just came from a lecture at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire where Porter Halyburton spoke. I am deeply moved and inspired by his story of life as a POW and the courageous heroism that he and his fellow inmates showed in their captivity. Porter's story of faith, community, and forgiveness has touched my heart deeply. I am truly grateful to have heard him share his experience tonight.

From a friend,
Karen La Chiana
New York, Ny

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.


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.


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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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 21 Oct 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009