The database page for Kenneth Morton Prentice
We Will Remember.
A Note from The Virtual WallFleet Support Squadron 50 (VRC-50), based at Naval Air Station Atsugi in Japan provided "air taxi" service between shore bases and carriers at sea. VRC-50 maintained a detachment at Naval Air Station Cubi Point, part of the Navy complex at Subic Bay in the Philippines. The Cubi Point det was dedicated to supporting the carrier task forces operating in the Gulf of Tonkin.
In the early morning hours of 02 Oct 1969 a VRC-50 C-2A departed Cubi Point on a logistics flight to the carrier USS CONSTELLATION. Twentysix men were aboard - five aircrew, 20 sailors from Task Force 77 ships and squadrons, and a civilian technical representative, Mr. Frank Bytheway. Shortly before 6 AM, as the aircraft approached CONSTELLATION for landing, the C-2 disappeared from the approach controller's radar scope. Search and rescue efforts began at once, with helicopters overhead the C-2's last known position within minutes of its disappearance. SAR efforts continued through the day but failed to locate anything except an oil slick and aircraft fragments. No human remains were recovered. Since there was no doubt the 26 men aboard had died in the incident they were classed as Died/Body not Recovered.
As it happens, one of The Virtual Wall staff was embarked in CONSTELLATION at the time of this incident and vividly recalls the Task Group's efforts to recover survivors. CONSTELLATION detached three destroyers for surface search and of course provided helicopters for air search. The SAR effort reluctantly was terminated at sundown on 02 October. A memorial service was held aboard CONSTELLATION in remembrance of our shipmates lost at sea:
Top of Page|
With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Last updated 08/10/2009