George Henry Wilkins

CDR Wilkins, an A4 Skyhawk pilot assigned to Attack Squadron 153, was launched from the USS CONSTELLATION on 11 July 1966 for a mission over North Vietnam.  He was assigned to drop flares to illuminate roads in search of a truck convoy and then fly under the ignited flares on an identification pass.  Shortly after Wilkins called “flares away,” his wingman observed a long trail of fire on the ground under the flares.  The crash site was located about 12 miles north of Vinh, North Vietnam where 37mm anti-aircraft fire was observed.  No wreckage was sighted during a daytime search nor were any electronics signals received.  It was believed that CDR Wilkins was shot down and that he did not survive; although, some held out the possibility that he bailed out successfully, was captured, and died in captivity.  On 28 June 1974, The Department of the Navy declared CDR Wilkins dead based on no other specific information.  The POW/MIA DEFENSE WEEKLY indicated that his remains were returned on 30 Oct 1996 and identified via MITOCHONDRIAL DNA testing.


George arrived at the Naval Academy via Benson, NC (Goldsboro, NC is his home of record), the fleet (an Electronic Technician), and the Naval Academy Preparatory School at Bainbridge, MD.  At USNA he was an able marksman on the Rifle team (won N letters) and enjoyed sailing and practicing with the drill team.  George was always of good cheer and resolute in his work – a great combination.