Michael John Shea

First Lieutenant
United States Marine Corps
07 April 1950 - 29 April 1975
El Paso, Texas
Panel 01W Line 124


Naval Aviator

Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Michael John Shea

18 Aug 2004

First in,
Last out.

You were a true Marine and the last to die in Vietnam.
Semper Fi.

AE3 Joseph Palmer, USN

29 April 2005
30 years ago today
Still in everyone's hearts and minds
Semper Fidelis, LT

J. Palmer

AE3 Joseph Palmer, USN
04 Sep 2004

Burial at Sea for Capt Nystul and 1stLt Shea.

George T. Curtis
Master Gunnery Sergeant
USMC Retired 66-91
Now deceased

02 Aug 2005

I was there when you went down. I remember looking at the water the next morning from atop the flight deck of the Hancock. All of our hearts were so heavy, we had lost two brothers. As long as the Marine Corps lives so shall you. Semper Fi, my brothers.

CPL John D. Matthews, USMC
HMH-463 Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station
Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii

27 Jun 2006

Michael Shea graduated from Parkland High School in El Paso, Texas in 1968. He died in a helicopter crash in Viet Nam.

From a friend.

Notes from The Virtual Wall

At the end of April 1975 the victorious North Vietnamese Army was entering Saigon while US military forces, predominantly Navy and Marine air, were desperately trying to evacuate US military, diplomatic, and civilian personnel from Saigon and the surrounding areas. The last four US military members to die in Vietnam were Marines, two ashore and two afloat:
  • HMM-164, USS HANCOCK, TF 77
    • Capt William C. Nystul, Coronodo, CA
    • 1stLt Michael J. Shea, El Paso, TX

  • E Co, USMC Security Guard Bn, AmEmbassy Saigon
Cpl McMahon and LCpl Judge were killed by a rocket attack while defending the Defense Attach´┐Ż Building on Tan Son Nhut Airbase; their bodies were not recovered in 1975, but their remains were repatriated on 22 Feb 1976.

Captain Nystul and 1stLt Shea were piloting a CH-46D helicopter, BuNo 154042, providing SAR support for the malstrom of aircraft coming and going from the US naval forces offshore. Just before midnight on 29/30 April, while flying a downwind approach to landing on the USS HANCOCK, the CH-46 impacted the water and sank. While two enlisted crewmen (Cpl Richard Scott and Cpl Stephen R. Wills) were rescued, the two pilots went down with their aircraft. Their bodies were not recovered. Additional details are available on the Pop-A-Smoke site.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 18 Aug 2004
Last updated 08/10/2009