From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Alexander Palenscar, III '63

Date of birth: October 20, 1941

Date of death: March 27, 1967

Age: 25

Lucky Bag

From the 1963 Lucky Bag:


From USNA Class of 1963:

LT Alexander Palenscar III was born on 20 October 1941 in Flushing, NY to Alexander and Frances Palenscar. His father was career military who retired as a USAF JAG Colonel, and Alexander was raised as a typical military brat as the family moved throughout the world. As a young boy, he would imitate Bugs Bunny with his infamous "What's Up, Doc"- and the nickname of 'Doc' would become his moniker throughout his life. Doc would graduate from Dover (DE) High School in 1959, played the clarinet in the band, and would be recognized with the Boy Scouts' Order of the Arrow. That fall, he would enter the US Naval Academy, where he excelled in sailing, and would graduate with the Class of 1963. Doc has two goals he wanted to accomplish - Family and Flying. He married Leslie Brown shortly after graduation, and entered the rigorous training program to fly the A-4 jets. With a dedicated determination, he would excel at both - two children, Catherine and Alexander IV were born; and he received his flight wings.

By late 1966, the Vietnam war was escalating when Doc Palenscar got his orders - he was to become part of the Attack Squadron VA-112 Broncos aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). Replacing USS Constellation on Yankee Station in the waters of Southeast Asia, the aircraft wings began their around-the-clock missions over North Vietnam on 5 December 1966.

On 27 March 1967, Doc took off in his A-4C Skyhawk, BuNo 148519, Side NH-415, for another routine mission. A flight of four A-4's was tasked with attacking the Dao My bridge just northwest of Vinh, North Vietnam. He was the last plane of the sortie when he rolled in against his target; yelled "Clear"and disappeared. There was no clear indication whether he had received anti-aircraft fire, experienced an equipment malfunction, or if he was able to eject.

He would officially be carried as Missing in Action until a Presumption finding of death in May 1973. Gone, but not forgotten. In August 1996 remains, believed to be his, were returned, identified in November 2002, followed by an emotional burial ceremony that would take place at the Naval Academy on 21 June 2004 with many of his Classmates attending.


From the October 1973 issue of Shipmate:

LCdr. Alexander John Palenscar III, previously reported as Missing In Action, has been reported dead as of 25 May 1973.He died in action in North Vietnam. A memorial service was held on 10 June at the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel.

Born in New York City, LCdr. Palenscar graduated from the Naval Academy in 1963. Following graduation, he reported to Attack Squadron 81 at NAS Oceana, Virginia, for temporary duty. From there he was transferred to Pensacola, Florida, to begin flight training. He received his Naval Aviator's wings in June, 1965 at Kingsville, Texas.

In February, 1966, after training in the A-4 "Skyhawk" with VA-125 at NAS Lemoore, California, LCdr. Palenscar joined Attack Squadron 112 in the Mediterranean. In November, 1966 the squadron left for duty off Viemam aboard the USS Kittyhawk. LCdr. Palenscar was reported missing in action after his aircraft went down in the Gulf of Tonkin on 27 March 1967. He was declared killed in the service of his country on 25 May, 1973.

For his gallantry, bravery and airmanship, LCdr. Palenscar has been awarded five air medals, four Navy Commendations with combat "V ," Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Ribbon, Combat Action Ribbon, Meritorious Unit Citation and the Gallantry Cross.

He is survived by his widow, Leslie, 208 Cosky Dr., Marina, CA 93933; a son, Alexander John Palenscar IV; a daughter, Catherine Anne; his parents Col. and Mrs. A. J. Palenscar, Jr.; and a sister, Mrs. Melinda Marshall.

Class of 1963

Alexander is one of 29 members of the Class of 1963 on Virtual Memorial Hall.