Joseph G. Greenleaf

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Joseph G. Greenleaf



In Memory of Joseph G. Greenleaf


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  • Name: Joseph Gales Greenleaf
  • Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
  • Unit: Fighter Squadron 114, USS KITTY HAWK (CVA-63)
  • Date of Birth: 16 November 1944 (Boston MA)
  • Home City of Record: West Newton MA
  • Date of Loss: 14 April 1972
  • Country of Loss: South Vietnam/Over Water
  • Loss Coordinates: 164856N 1065956E
  • Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
  • Category: 3
  • Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E
  • Other Personnel in Incident: Clemie McKinney (remains returned)


Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.


SYNOPSIS: Lieutenants Joseph Greenleaf and Clemie McKinney were pilots assigned to Fighter Squadron 114 onboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. On April 14, 1972, they launched in their F4E fighter jet for a bombing mission at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). On the flight, Greenleaf was the pilot and McKinney was the Radar Intercept Officer.
During their bombing run, the F4 was hit by anti-aircraft fire andd was observed to continue its dive until impact. No ejections were observed. The crash occurred 1 mile south of Cam Lo village, South Vietnam. Reports at that time indicated that because the aircraft had taken a direct hit into the cockpit was involved in a low-level bombing dive as well, that successful ejection would have been virtually impossible.
On August 14, 1985, the Vietnamese government returned remains proported to be those of Lt. Clemie McKinney. Although McKinney's family disputed the finding, the Navy determined the remains to be those of McKinney's in February 1988. The delay, according to the Navy, was due to an error in documenting correct biographical and physical information. One of the objections of the family is the apparent descrepancy of having received a direct hit in the cockpit, precluding the possibility of recovering any identifiable remains. Other problems involving the configuration of the feet bones were questioned.
The difficulty in successfully identifying remains that have withstood the wearing effects of trauma and years of exposure is recognized, as are scientific achievements making the near-impossible possible. However, military errors in identification have had to be reversed in court, and it is the desire of most POW/MIA family members that a private professional opinion be obtained before they are able to lay their loved one to rest.
Under the circumstances, it is not clear whether the identification of Clemie McKinney is accurate. Greenleaf, at least, is still among the missing. Tragically, reports continue to pour in relating to Americans prisoner, missing or otherwise unaccounted for in Southeast Asia. Many officials who have reviewed this largely classified information have reluctantly concluded that hundreds of Americans are still alive in captivity today.
When the military confirms an identificaton of remains, that case is closed. No one is looking for Clemie McKinney. Should a report that he is alive be received, it will be discounted because he has been proven to be dead.
If there are Americans still alive in captivity in Southeast Asia, no books should be closed until they are all home. We cannot afford the abandonment of even one of these men, America's finest sons.


Thanks to Ron Fleischer.


"All Biographical and loss information on POWs provided by Operation Just Cause have been supplied by Chuck and Mary Schantag of POWNET. Please check with POWNET regularly for updates."

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