WINFIELD W. SISSON, COL, USMC

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Winfield Sisson '59

Date of birth: September 22, 1937

Date of death: October 18, 1965

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1959 Lucky Bag:


Loss

From Find A Grave:

Colonel Sisson was a member of Headquarters Battalion, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam. On October 18, 1965, he was flying in a Cessna Bird Dog Observation Aircraft (O-1G) when bad weather caused it to crash into a mountain near Da Nang, South Vietnam. His remains were recovered on April 8, 1993 and identified on May 21, 2001.

Remembrances

From Wall of Faces:

We were in Operation's in MACV SOG. Never met a better Marine. Miss You CDR ARTHUR WILLIS JR. US NAVY RETIRED, ARTURO_BJ@HOTMAIL.COM, 7/29/07

Return

From ArlingtonCemetery.net:

Remains identified as missing Colonels
Wednesday, June 20, 2001

The remains of two colonels, including a former Berkeley resident who disappeared during a reconnaissance flight over South Vietnam in 1965, have been identified and are being returned to their families for burial, officials said Tuesday. The Pentagon said the remains are those of Marine Colonel Winfield Wade Sisson, an aerial observer from Berkeley, and Colonel Harley Boyd Pyles, a pilot from Enon, Ohio. Officials said the pair had just accomplished a target-strike mission when bad weather apparently caused them to slam their two-seater Cessna into a mountain October 18, 1965. Pyles, whowas piloting the O-1E "Bird Dog," was about 10 minutes shy of landing at Da Nang Air Base from Kham Duc, South Vietnam, when he reported low-level cloud cover and rain. He was receiving help from another pilot, but that man's plane was fired upon while landing, officials said. Pyles' attempts to contact the tower went unanswered, and the O-1E never reached the base, according to Major Rene Stockwell of the Joint Task Force Full Accounting, which aids in the investigation of unaccounted-for servicemen in Southeast Asian nations. Air searches were conducted, but intense fighting prohibited officials from conducting thorough ground searches. Relatives of Sisson, of Berkeley, could not be reached Tuesday evening. In an interview with the Mercury News in 1985 -- about 20 years after the colonel disappeared and was later presumed dead -- Sisson's father, Winfield Wilbur Sisson, said he was still holding out hope for his son's return. "I think about him all the time," he said. The remains of Sisson and Pyles were repatriated from Vietnam in 1993, and their identities were confirmed in May through dental records and DNA analysis, officials said.

He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Related Articles

Charles Witt '59 and Robert Mulrooney '59 were also members of 20th Company.

Memorial Hall Error?

Winfield is listed on the killed in action panel in the front of Memorial Hall. While not an obvious error, inclusion on the panel for crashes like this (incidental to combat flights) has been inconsistent across the Korean and Vietnam Wars.


Class of 1959

Winfield is one of 31 members of the Class of 1959 in Memorial Hall.