Honoring US Navy Commander Hank Strong

Cdr hank strong

United States Navy Commander Henry “Hank” Strong, Jr., the Commanding Officer of Attack Squadron 212 aboard the USS Hancock, who was shot down over Vietnam in May 1972, has been permanently memorialized at the San Diego Air & Space Museum with his named being added under the cockpit of A-4 Skyhawk in the Modern Jet Age Gallery during a special ceremony in March.

Commander Strong’s name was painted under the port side of the A4’s cockpit. Commander Frank C. Green Jr.’s name remains on the starboard side of the A-4. On July 10, 1972, Commander Green, also piloting an A-4F Skyhawk from Attack Squadron 212, was on a night armed reconnaissance mission over Highway 1A in Vietnam. Commander Green’s Skyhawk went down while attacking enemy vehicles during the mission, and he was killed in the crash.

“For many Americans, the Vietnam War was one of the most critical times in their lives. More than 58,000 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam from every branch of the United States military,” Jim Kidrick, President & CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum shared with GB Magazine. “Men like Henry Strong and Frank Green can be counted among the finest patriots the United States has ever produced. Here at the San Diego Air & Space Museum, we are proud to salute and honor their courage, dedication to their comrades and service to our country.”

On May 25, 1972, then Cmdr. Henry H. Strong, Jr. was the pilot of the lead aircraft in a section of A-4F Skyhawks that launched from the deck of the USS Hancock as part of a much greater package of aircraft conducting an evening combat strike mission against communist targets located in the densely populated and heavily defended region just southwest of Vinh, North Vietnam.

After arriving in the target area, Cmdr. Strong established contact with the airborne battlefield command and control center controlling all air operations in that region. Shortly thereafter Henry Strong was given permission to commence their attack on target.

At 1830 hours, Cmdr. Strong visually acquired the target and proceeded to lead the flight into position for an attack pass. Other pilots and aircrews heard Cmdr. Strong transmit “Rolling in.” After the attack commenced, the Skyhawks came under heavy enemy anti-aircraft artillery fire. Other pilots operating in the same sector observed an “unidentified aircraft roll inverted and go nose down at an altitude and velocity that could have precluded the pilot from surviving.”

Originally from North Wales, Pennsylvania, Strong was 39 when he passed. His remains have not been returned from Vietnam.



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Esteban Villanueva