Virgil Kersh MeroneyCaptain
433RD TFS, 8TH TFW, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
22 May 1943 - 01 March 1969
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The database page for Virgil Kersh Meroney
REMEMBEREDby one who wears his MIA bracelet,
REMEMBEREDby someone who wears his MIA bracelet,
Notes from The Virtual WallOn 1 March 1969, MAJ Wendell R. Keller, pilot, and 1LT Virgil K. Meroney III, co-pilot, launched as the lead aircraft in a flight of two, call signs "SHERMAN 01" and "SHERMAN 02". The flight was tasked with a Forward Air Controller (FAC), call sign "CANDLESTICK 43", a C123 from Nakhon Phanom Air Base, Thailand. The target was a suspected storage area and vehicles moving through the mountains southwest of the Ban Karai Pass, Khammoune Province, Laos.
CANDLESTICK 43 located the target area and the SHERMAN flight began multiple rocket passes on it. Moderate to light ZPU-23 and 37mm anti-aircraft artillery fire was encountered. At about 0145, SHERMAN 02 held high while SHERMAN 01 went down to make their final rocket pass. A few seconds later, SHERMAN 02 observed a large explosion in the target area. SHERMAN 02 immediately attempted to make radio contact his lead but without success.
CANDLESTICK 43 initiated electronic and visual search and rescue (SAR) efforts. Neither CANDLESTICK nor SHERMAN 02 observed parachutes or heard emergency beepers or radio calls. Because the area was under total enemy control, no ground search was possible. When formal search efforts were terminated Keller and Meroney were listed Missing in Action. Their last known position was about 12 miles southwest of the Ban Karai Pass.
Following the first annual review of their status, the Air Force determined that there was no evidence that either of the men had ejected from the aircraft and their status was changed from MIA to Killed in Action, Body not Recovered. As of 01 Aug 2006 the remains of the two men have not been repatriated.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 5 Mar 2002
Last updated 08/10/2009