Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project with the assistance of one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Date Compiled: 15 March 1990.  Also, there is a report from a Chief Petty Officer near the end of this.......

For Updated Report Please Scroll Below Synopsis

Name: William Stannard Forman
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: Anti-Submarine Squadron 35, USS HORNET (CVS12)
Date of Birth: 08 November 1936
Home City of Record: Pipestone MN


Name: Erwin Bernard Templin, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O2/US Navy
Unit: Anti-Submarine Squadron 35, USS HORNET (CVS12)
Date of Birth: 24 December 1940
Home City of Record: Houston TX


Name: Edmund Henry Frenyea
Rank/Branch: E7/US Navy
Unit: Anti-Submarine Squadron 35, USS HORNET (CVS12)
Date of Birth: 24 May 1930
Home City of Record: Ukiah CA


Name: Robert Russell Sennett
Rank/Branch: E5/US Navy
Anti-Submarine Squadron 35, USS HORNET (CVS12)
Date of Birth: 02 May 1939
Home City of Record: Mar Vista CA


Loss Date:----------------------------------------------22 January 1966
Country of Loss: -----------------------North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates:--------------193958N 1072159E (YG481761)
Status (in 1973):-------------------------------------Missing In Action
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: --------------------------S2F Nose Number 12

SYNOPSIS: In early 1966, there were several search and rescue (SAR)destroyers parked off the coast of North Vietnam in the Gulf of Tonkin. When the attack and fighter people would egress, they would be there to assist a cripple or pick up a guy who had to punch out or ditch. During the night when the strike activity would ebb, the SAR DDs would steam around their small areas waiting for the next day's activities. It was during these night and early morning hours that high speed surface contacts would probe their positions. The "Stoof" (S2F
) helped provide air cover for these surface ships. The Stoof was technically an anti-submarine aircraft, but had little call to exercise submarine missions in Vietnam. There were only a few of such planes assigned to Vietnam at all.

If a ship thought its position was being probed by enemy boats, it would vector the Stoof out over the target. The Stoof tactic was to drop a parachute retarded flare from about 10,000 feet over the target, circle back around at a low altitude (about 300 feet) and investigate. If the target was unfriendly, then the S2 would engage and destroy it. There was a certain amount of risk involved in these operations, as the Vietnamese PT boats had radar that enabled them to strike with no visual contact.

In the dead of night on January 22, 1966, a Stoof launched from the USS Hornet with pilot William S. Forman and crewmembers Erwin B. Templin, Robert R. Sennett and Edmund H. Frenyea. Their mission was to investigate an unidentified bogie. Their progress was under the advisory control of the USS BERKELEY, and no unusual circumstances were reported.

About 6:45 AM the USS BERKELEY reminded the crew that their mission should be concluded shortly and they should return to the USS HORNET. Receipt of this information was acknowledged and it was reported that they had a surface contact and would investigate before departing the area.

Shortly thereafter the aircraft disappeared from the radar scope of the USS BERKELEY. This was not considered significant or alarming at that time as it was believed the aircraft had gone beneath the radar to investigate its contact. It is thought that the natural curvature of the earth caused the aircraft to go off radar approximately five minutes before they were scheduled to return to the HORNET. Their last known location according to coordinates was in the Gulf of Tonkin about halfway between the coastal city of Thanh Hoa, North Vietnam and the Chinese island of Hai Nan, although reports to some of the families placed them much closer to the island - about 15 miles away. Within a few hours of the disappearance, Radio Hanoi reported that an aircraft had been shot down near Bach Long Vi Island, North Vietnam. The Navy did not classify the men missing as Prisoners of War because this report could not be confirmed as accurate. The last known location of the aircraft was about 30 miles from this island.

At 7:15 AM the USS BERKELEY notified the USS MAHAN that the aircraft should be inbound to USS MAHAN enroute to the USS HORNET. Upon receipt of this information the USS MAHAN tried unsuccessfully to contact the aircraft by radio and radar and subsequently reported the situation to the USS HORNET. Shortly thereafter search and rescue efforts were commenced and LCDR Forman and his crew were reported missing at sea.

A close friend of Templin's was part of the effort. According to him, the weather was clear, and there was not a puff of wind. The Gulf was so calm that there was not a ripple on the surface, so that objects floating great distances away could be seen. The search parties found no trace, no oil slick and no debris indicating where the plane went down. According to Templin's friend, the search went on for the remaining months he was on station. He says, "Our squadron was uniquely qualified...we had the right kind of airplane and were working in the immediate area and more importantly...we cared. We found nothing."

On February 1, 1966 the four-man life raft from the aircraft was found off the coast of North Vietnam approximately 152 miles from the last known position of the aircraft. The raft, which was identified by its serial number, bore no evidence of having been used and did not show any signs of damage by fire or gunfire. This particular raft is designed to automatically inflate when immersed in salt water. On March 14, 1966 a flight helmet was found by a friendly fishing junk and turned over to U.S. authorities. This helmet was picked up in the same general area as where the life raft was located and has been identified as belonging to Bernard Templin.

When Templin`s friend left Yankee Station and was steaming away to safer waters, he was walking down a passageway and one of the Intelligence Officers from the Flag stopped him. They went to a secure area and he told Templin's friend that some very high-level intelligence had been forwarded to the ship identifying one or more of the crew members from the aircraft as positively seen in North Vietnam. Templin's friend naturally assumed that they were POWs. None of the crew ever returned.

The four were maintained as missing until 1975, at which time a "finding of death" was made on the crew based on no information to indicate they were alive.

Tragically, information has poured from Southeast Asia since the end of the war regarding American prisoners still alive in captivity. The U.S. Government has received nearly 10,000 such reports, yet seems unable to find the formula to secure the freedom of those Americans.

This is from reliable source:
4 points of importance:

1) 1-22-66 date of incident.
2) 2-1-66 life raft recovered 150 miles away.
3) 3-66 co-pilot helmet recovered by friendly fisherman in same area as life raft.
4) intelligence report of VS35 mia sighted in NVN.

Point 2 says:
"the raft bore no evidence of having been used and did not show any sign of damage by fire or gunfire".
My conversations with the CPO's in the CPO Mess about this time indicated that the raft numbers definately ID'ed it as the missing aircrafts raft, and the raft was punctured from machine gun fire. Also the inflation tube from the inflation cannister to the raft had been cut with a sharp knife, as evidenced by a smooth 45 degree cut. Also, if the raft had never been used (inflated) it would not float and would not have been recovered.

Would the normal currents in that part of the Gulf move the raft and helmet 150 miles in 9 days?
I do not know.

As to point 4, such reports were not unusual. Could be or could not be true. I personally would not give it a lot of credence either way, unless other facts supported either assumption.

We did not think the crew would have been taken prisoner by the VC because that island was supposed to be uninhabited, but we knew it was being used as staging area. The VS35 and VS37 aircrews were itching to get photo proof of this, and this plane got too close to the island.

Something in from another shipmate


It is my understanding that this was VERY unusual to have rockets and MINI PODS on one of these aircraft.  They usually only carried Sonabuoys.

Staging area - (NATO) 1. Amphibious or airborne--A general locality between the mounting area and the objective of an amphibious or airborne expedition, through which the expedition or parts thereof pass after mounting, for refueling, regrouping of ships, and/or exercise, inspection, and redistribution of troops. 2. Other movements--A general locality established for the concentration of troop units and transient personnel between movements over the lines of communications.

To go back to the previous page, click your browser's "Back" button.