Medal of Honor
ESTOCIN, MICHAEL J. *
Rank and organization: Captain (then Lt. Cmdr.), U.S. Navy, Attack Squadron 192, USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14)
Place and date: Haiphong, North Vietnam, 20 and 26 April 1967
Entered service at: Akron, Ohio, 20 July 1954
Born: 27 April 1931, Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 20 and 26 April 1967 as a pilot in Attack Squadron 192, embarked in USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14). Leading a 3-plane group of aircraft in support of a coordinated strike against 2 thermal power plants in Haiphong, North Vietnam, on 20 April 1967, Capt. Estocin provided continuous warnings to the strike group leaders of the surface-to air missile (SAM) threats, and personally neutralized 3 SAM sites. Although his aircraft was severely damaged by an exploding missile, he re-entered the target area and relentlessly prosecuted a SHRIKE attack in the face of intense antiaircraft fire. With less than 5 minutes of fuel remaining he departed the target area and commenced inflight refueling which continued for over 100 miles. 3 miles aft of Ticonderoga, and without enough fuel for a second approach, he disengaged from the tanker and executed a precise approach to a fiery arrested landing. On 26 April 1967, in support of a coordinated strike against the vital fuel facilities in Haiphong, he led an attack on a threatening SAM site, during which his aircraft was seriously damaged by an exploding SAM; nevertheless, he regained control of his burning aircraft and courageously launched his SHRIKE missiles before departing the area. By his inspiring courage and unswerving devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Captain Estocin upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
This message was received on 26 May 2001
I recently ... noted the entry on LCDR Mike Estocin, KIA over NVN 26 Apr 67. I (am contacting) you regarding corrections to the official record, as I'm intimately familiar with the Estocin case. His wingman on the 2nd MoH mission is my best friend and the only US witness to the action.
We wrote a book chapter and a magazine article about Estocin, correcting serious errors in the MoH citation (he did not, for instance, "exit the area"--he was killed on the spot.) A misinterpreted report from POWs was basis for the belief that he died in captivity. In fact, the MIA folks have been searching for his crash site for years--about 8 miles inland rather than offshore as the navy told his family.
A fairly minor point, but ref. the date he began his tour (he was killed on the date cited), Air Wing 19 in USS Ticonderoga deployed for WestPac c. October 1966. I can get the exact date if you need it.
There are other web sites with Estocin's action, some with erroneous info. For instance, there was no radio communication between Mike and John Nichols after the SAM hit the A-4, and Estocin is still BNR; the "grave" in San Diego is actually a memorial marker.
--- General / Personal ---
Last name: ESTOCIN
First name: MICHAEL JOHN
Home of Record (official): TURTLE CREEK
State (official): PA
Date of Birth: Monday, April 27, 1931
Marital Status: Married
--- Military ---
Serial Number: 175245810
Pay grade: O5
MOS (Military Occupational Specialty code): 1310
--- Action ---
Start of Tour: Wednesday, April 26, 1967
Date of Casualty: Thursday, November 10, 1977
Age at time of loss: 46
Casualty type: (A4) Hostile, died while captured
Reason: Air loss - Crashed on land (Pilot - Fixed wing aircraft)
Country: North VietNam
Province: Unknown/Not Reported
The Wall: Panel 18E - Row 092
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