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Richard M. Mancini

Richard M. Mancini

United States Navy
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Richard Michael Mancini was born on 17 Feb 1937 in Amsterdam, Montgomery Co., New York, USA as the second child of Richard Mancini and Anna Zeppieri. He had three siblings,namely: Michael, Robert, and John Michael. He died on 11 Jan 1968 in Khammouane Province, Laos (Killed in Action - Plane crash during the Vietnam War). When he was 26, He married Rosemarie Irene Sweeney on 12 Oct 1963. He lived in Amsterdam, New York. He was buried on 18 Jun 2003 in Arlington National Cemetery.Richard Michael Mancini and Rosemarie Irene Sweeney had one child,  Richard J. Mancini.

His Journey Home: Missing in action after his OP-2E Neptue crashed in the Phoulaung Mountains during a morning Igloo White sensor seeding mission along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the crash site was photographed by an Air Force A1 Skyraider on Jan 23, 1968, however enemy activity presented any further recovery operation.  Joint Task Force - Full Accounting teams began investigating the crash site area in May 1993, with several trips to the site between 1996 through 2002.  The recovered remains were identified in May 2003 and buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

NVA and VC elements in South Vietnam were absolutely dependent on men and materiel transported down the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Laos ... if these supplies could be cut off, the enemy forces in South Vietnam would wither in place. Accordingly, the Trail was of considerable interest throughout the war. One method of intelligence gathering involved the emplacement of acoustic and seismic sensors along the trail; these sensors transmitted data by radio to a processing facility at Nakon Phanom RTAFB in Thailand, where the "take" was used to direct strike missions. Navy Observation Squadron 67 (VO-67) was formed to provide a highly accurate method of delivering the sensors. VO-67 flew modified SP-2E Neptune aircraft, designated the OP-2E, and took up residence at Nakon Phanom in November 1967. VO-67's first loss occurred on 11 January 1968, when OP-2E BuNo131436 failed to return from a sensor seeding mission conducted in Laos during a period of bad weather. Since search-and-rescue operations failed to locate either aircraft or crew, the crewmen were classed as Missing in Action. On 23 January a USAF A-1 pilot spotted aircraft wreckage on a mountainside near Ban Napoung. An O-2 from the 23rd TASS took handheld photography of the crash site, which was on a sheer cliff side about 200 feet below the top of a 4600' peak. Topography and enemy presence made a ground search impractical, but it was determined that the aircraft was indeed the missing OP-2E and that the crash was not survivable. On 23 Feb 1968 the crew's status was changed from MIA to Killed in Action, Body not Recovered. The crew consisted of

 CDR Delbert Austin Olson, pilot

 LTJG Denis Leon Anderson, copilot

 LTJG Arthur Charles Buck, navigator

LTJG Philip Paul Stevens, copilot

 Aviation Electrician 2nd Class Richard Michael Mancini

 Aviation Ordnanceman 2nd Class Michael Land Roberts

 Aviation Machinist's Mate 2nd Class Donald Nellis Thoresen

Photographer's Mate 2nd Class Kenneth Harry Widon

 Aviation Electronics Technician 3rd Class Gale Robert Siow

In addition to the nine men, the squadron's mascot, a small dog named Snoopy, was aboard the aircraft.

Beginning in 1993, JTFFA teams attempted to locate and excavate the wreckage. After three failures, a fourth team located the wreckage in 1996 and retrieved human remains, two dog tags, and one ID card. Additional excavations were carried out in March 2001 and February/March 2002; these excavations recovered additional remains. Although a large proportion of the remains could not be individually identified, there were identifiable remains from each of the nine men. Three bone fragments came from a small-to-medium-sized domestic dog ... Snoopy too had come home. Petty Officer Mancini's remains were turned over to his son in May 2003 for transportation home. He will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors on May 20, 2003.