Michael John Estocin

United States Navy
27 April 1931 - 10 November 1977
Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania
Panel 18E Line 092

Medal of Honor
Naval Aviator

DFC, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign
Michael J Estocin

The database page for Michael John Estocin

11 Nov 2002

Though we have never met,
you are not forgotten.

Your MIA/POW Bracelet is a small reminder,
a keepsake I have of you.

E-Mail may be forwarded via the

03 Apr 2003

Eleven years ago while visiting the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington I purchased an MIA/POW bracelet that had LCDR Michael J. Estocin's name on it. I have been wearing it ever since, and am proud to honor him for his courage and devotion to duty while serving his country.

I also served in the US Navy from 1964-67, and as a veteran I will always remember all those who never made it home. God bless them and their loved ones.

Joseph Ferraro
E-Mail may be forwarded via the

19 Jul 2004

I was one of Commander Estocin's plane captains with VA-192 aboard the Ticonderoga. I remember the day he went down. He was a good officer and treated me with great respect. I will miss him.

From a shipmate,
Thomas F. Manalio, USN
13 Bahia Court Loop, Ocala, Fl. 34472

01 Jun 2005

I have a POW/MIA bracelet engraved with LCDR Michael Estocin's name that I wore throughout the 1970s while I was attending the University of Pittsburgh. I never knew the man, but because he and I shared the same birthday, I felt a connection and prayed for him for many years. I said goodbye to him at the Wall in Washington and am ready to turn over this bracelet to anyone who loved him ... family or friend. Please contact me at clnesteruk@comcast.net

Thank you,
Connie Nesteruk
Doylestown, PA

21 Jan 2007

I also have a POW/MIA bracelet from the 1970's with LCDR Michael Estocin's name. I will be happy to forward it to any family member or friend that knew him.


18 Apr 2007

WOW! I am so pleased to have found this page. Many years ago I purchased a POW/MIA bracelet with CDR Estocin's name on it while visiting Washington D.C. with my submarine. While browsing the many, many names, I decided on the Commander because of three reasons; 1) He is from near my home town in PA. 2) I am in the USN also. 3) He is a Medal of Honor winner. I have been proud to wear his bracelet, I think about him a lot, and pray for him and his family. I would love to hear from his family someday which is why I was searching the internet for information on the CDR in the first place. Rest assured, CDR Estocin, you will not be forgotten by me or any of the other wonderful people wearing your bracelet.

Justin E. Crocker

Notes from The Virtual Wall

LCDR Estocin was the Operations Officer of Attack Squadron 192 embarked in USS TICONDEROGA (CVA-14) and by report was on his second deployment to Vietnam (VA-192 had deployed in USS BON HOMME RICHARD from 21 Apr 1965 to 13 Jan 1966). He was one of several A-4E pilots trained to use the SHRIKE anti-radar missile to prosecute SAM and AAA radar sites. SHRIKE-equipped aircraft arrived on target before the main attack force with the intent of suppressing AAA fire against the main force.

On 20 April LCDR Estocin flew a SHRIKE mission in support of an Alpha Strike on a POL storage site at Haiphong. During the mission, his A-4E was heavily damaged by a surface-to-air missile but he was able to bring the aircraft back to TICONDEROGA.

On 26 April he was again in the IRON HAND role, this time in support of a strike against thermal power plants near Haiphong. Once again his aircraft (A-4E BuNo 151073) was hit and badly damaged by a SAM. Estocin regained control of his burning aircraft and turned toward the sea. Another pilot, LCDR John B. Nichols (flying an F-8 from VF-191) accompanied Estocin but was not able to establish radio contact with him. As Estocin approached the coastline, his aircraft rolled inverted and crashed. LCDR Nichols saw no attempt at ejection, and extensive search and rescue operations failed to locate either the crash site or Estocin.

The POW Network and Task Force Omega sites both mention Vietnamese reports of the downing of a US aircraft on 26 April; for example, TFO says that

"On 26 and 27 April, during the same time frame search and rescue efforts were underway using all air assets available to them, Radio Hanoi broadcast information indicating that Lt. Cmdr. Estocin may have been captured.

"On 29 April, a People's Army newspaper article referred to the shoot down of an aircraft and a rescue helicopter coming to rescue the downed pilot. This report, along with the others received over the previous few days, was placed in Lt. Cmdr. Estocin's file as a possible correlation to his case."

Neither site mentions that three other US aircraft were downed on 26 April:
  • VA-192 lost a second aircraft over the power plants; LTJG J W Cain, flying A-4E BuNo 152076, was hit, made it feet wet, ejected over water, and was picked up by a SAR helicopter after F-8 and A-1 SARCAP aircraft drove off NVA boats and suppressed gunfire from nearby shore positions.

  • A two-seat F-105F (tail number 63-8277, 333rd TFS) was shot down west of Thai Nguyen; the pilot, Major J F Dudash, was killed and the back-seater, Captain A B Meyer, was captured immediately.

  • A single-seat F-105D (tail number 58-1153, 469th TFS) piloted by Captain W M Meyer went down near Gia Lam.
The Hanoi reports could easily refer to any one of these three downings rather than to Estocin's loss, but both the POW Network and TFO associate them with Estocin. The US Government did reclassify Estocin as a Prisoner of War rather than Missing in Action, but none of the POWs released in 1973 had any knowledge of LCDR Estocin.

LCDR Estocin was carried as Missing in Action until 10 November 1977, when the Secretary of the Navy approved a Presumptive Finding of Death, with cause of death coded as "Hostile, Died While Captured". Although his remains have not been repatriated, a memorial marker for Captain Estocin has been placed in the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.

USS ESTOCIN (FFG-15), the ninth PERRY class guided missile frigate, was named in honor of Michael Estocin. Her keel was laid on 02 April 1979 and she was commissioned on 10 January 1981. USS ESTOCIN recently was decommissioned.

Medal of Honor

in the name of the Congress of the United States
takes pride in presenting the


posthumously to

Michael John Estocin
United States Navy

for services as set forth in the following


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 two 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 reentered 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 in-flight refueling which continued for over 100 miles. Three 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.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who wears his POW bracelet.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 11 Nov 2002
Last updated 09/14/2007