VIRGIL K. CAMERON, LCDR, USN
Virgil Cameron '64
Date of birth: May 8, 1939
Date of death: July 29, 1966
From the 1964 Lucky Bag:
From Find A Grave:
Lieutenant Commander Cameron was a member of Attack Squadron 155, Carrier Air Wing 15, U.S. Navy aboard the Aircraft Carrier USS CONSTELLATION (CVA-64). On July 29, 1966, he was the pilot of a Douglas Attack Aircraft Skyhawk (A-4E) over North Vietnam when his aircraft crashed. His remains were recovered on September 13, 1990 and identified on August 4, 1999. His name is inscribed on the Courts of the Missing at the Honolulu Memorial. **
Lieutenant Commander Virgil King Cameron's remains were recovered on September 13, 1990 and identified on August 04, 1999
From Find A Grave:
McALLEN, TEXAS - Thirty-three years after Lieutenant Commander Virgil King Cameron's plane was shot down in North Vietnam, the Navy pilot is coming home. His parents, Charles and Leona Cameron, of McAllen, received confirmation July 7 that Navy officials had identified their son's remains following a complex series of DNA tests. At their home on Thursday, his parents sat weeping as they looked through yellowed newspaper clippings and brittle photographs, recalling their son's life and the bitter years of waiting to find out what exactly happened to him in the war-torn jungles of Vietnam.
"After the attack on King, I cried every day for three years," said his sobbing mother, 84-year-old Leona Cameron. "And even though the news of the government finding his remains opens old wounds, I'm very pleased because the Lord has a purpose in everything, and I know there is a purpose in his remains."
Cameron's father said he is relieved that the family has found a way to put their grief to rest."We are just thinking about what we are going to see when we go to Washington," said his father, 93-year-old Charles Cameron, "so we can't wait for it all to be over." He said he is happy to have lived long enough to see his son buried properly.
Cameron will be buried with full military honors, 11 a.m. August 23 at Arlington National Cemetery, said Chief Petty Officer Michael Morales, of the U.S. Navy. Morales said that he admired the Camerons' strength during a long vigil. "But 33 years is a long time," Morales said. "I'm just saying God bless Mr. and Mrs. Cameron to be living this long to put him to rest."
Morales said he was notified of the identification of Cameron's remains on June 28 and has been coordinating the services since then. He will escort the parents to Washington, D.C., for the burial ceremony.
His remains will be flown to Washington, D.C., accompanied by his brother, Drake Cameron.
"I thought the world of him," said Drake Cameron, who now lives in Houston. "When he made it to the (U.S. Naval) Academy - there's nothing much greater than that." He said he is glad that the remains finally have been identified and that his brother will be laid to rest, bringing an end to a 33-year heartache.
In honor of Cameron's sacrifice, a Purple Heart is displayed on a wall of the Cameron home, accompanied by a plaque with a bronze eagle soaring over his medals, a saber and miniature United States flags. Memorabilia and memories are all that remain now of the man who flew his A-4E Skyhawk from the U.S.S. Constellation, an aircraft carrier in the Gulf of Tonkin, to be shot down by enemy fire over Vinh, North Vietnam.
"We've felt that he died on impact, so we didn't have any hope that he was alive the same day it happened," Leona Cameron said, as she paged through a collection of black-and-white portraits and newspaper clippings. "King was a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we know where he is."
"Flying is what he loved," Cameron's mother said, tears brimming.
She said some families have been forced to accept identifications that are questionable, but the Cameron family has a clear DNA identification.
The Camerons are simply thankful that after 33 years, they are closer to seeing their son.
"When you're a believer you know you are going to see them again, so now we can have this service and rejoice," Leona Cameron said. "I have no doubt it's my son."
Virgil was survived by his wife, Mary Ellen (married January 22, 1966); his parents Charles Edward Roi Cameron and Mattie Leona Cameron; and siblings Drake, Mark, Diane, and Carla.
From Wall of Faces:
Remembering Growing Up on North 10th Street:
Looking for Drake, came across this site and thoughts flowed back from those days we lived in the woods north of your parents home. I think we buried a box of coins not far from the barn, where your Mom sold the largest Extra Large eggs I ever remember seeing. I'm thinking of the many times we sat up in the mesquite tree in your back yard eating grapes, hours on end. And how about the bee hive inside the wall off the kitchen, and the bread your Mom and Dad made so often. Picking cotton, pulling those long bags down the rows, or riding horses. Oh, pulling our homemade water skies down the canal with a rope tied to the bumper of that little car your Dad owned. So much more stacked up in my brain. How those moonless nights we hid in the bushes and chunks dirt pieces on passing autos, then laugh and run to hide. Ahhh, growing up in south Texas in the 50s, what days they were. KENT MATHIEU, KENTKAPOLEI@YAHOO.COM, 2/22/15
Flying was what King loved. He was humbled by being a Navy pilot and all that it meant, with the responsibility of flying combat missions over Vietnam. He had a strong sense belief in this country and what of represented. King was a believer in our Lord Jesus Christ, so the family knows where he is and that we will see him again. The lord has a purpose in everything. DIANE CAMERON, 7/19/12
King was a Texas Buddy. One dawn he showed up at my house in Lampasas for a ride to Dallas for our flight back to the Academy. He had hitchhiked all night from the Valley. Spending the last day of a leave at home was worth the all night trip to him. I remember the sound of his voice; distinctive, a little raspy. We went our separate ways to sea after that June graduation day at the Academy never to see each other again. King remains in the many hearts of his classmates. Bonded in school, linked forever. I always visit his name at the Wall when I am in DC despite the pain it brings. God bless this wonderful man.
ROBERT D. JONES, CAPTAIN, USN [RET] USNA 1964, 5/14/02