Missing In Action
Branch of Service:
Country of Incident:
Date of Casualty:
August 08, 1966
Date of Birth:
August 09, 1941
Aado Kommendant was born on August 9, 1941. His home of record is
Aado was born in Paide, Estonia, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Verner
Kommendant, and came to the United States in March 1950, with his
family. He had a sister, Maie, and a brother, Viido. His father owned
a sand and gravel trucking company.
Voted "best looking" by Lakewood High School Class of 1960, his
listing in the Pine Needle yearbook of that year indicated he was
headed for college and his goal was to be a businessman. He was
considered an authority on cars and had a "cool Ford convertible."
He majored in business administration at the University of Miami in
Florida and was in the ROTC program. Kommendant was designated a
Distinguished Military Student when he received his college degree in
June 1964. He accepted an Air Force commission and went on active duty
in July 1964. His goal changed at that time and he spoke of becoming a
commercial pilot when he completed five years of military service in
He entered the US Air Force and attained the rank of Major (MAJ). He
arrived in Vietnam in July 1966, and served in the 557th Tactical
Fighter Squadron and was stationed at Cam Rhan Bay.
Kommendant was flying his 17th mission when the plane was shot down.
He was listed as missing in action on August 8, 1966, in South
Vietnam. Kommendant was co-piloting a F-4C Phantom Jet aircraft during
a bombing mission about 40 miles northeast of Saigon, South Vietnam.
No parachutes were seen and no beepers were heard in the area of dense
jungle held by hostile Viet Cong forces. Search and rescue operations
for Kommendant and the pilot, Captain Charles M. Walling, were ongoing
for two months, until officially terminated on Oct. 10, 1966.
He was listed as Missing in Action and his status remained that way
for more than 12 years. He was officially declared killed in action on
January 15, 1979, by the Department of the Air Force. Since his
remains have not been recovered and returned, he is listed by the
Department of Defense as unaccounted for in Southeast Asia.
Kommendant was awarded The Distinguished Flying Cross, The Air Medal
and The Purple Heart.
In his high school yearbook, and in articles published in local
newspapers at the time of the crash, his last name is spelled
Komendant, while subsequent spellings in military records have a
double m in the name.
Synopsis (from the POW Network) as to the circumstances behind being
listed as MIA:
Kommendant was backseater to flight commander Capt. Charles W. Walling
on an F4C Phantom jet called to provide close air support of friendly
forces who were in contact with the enemy northeast of Bien Hoa
airbase near Saigon.
The two departed Cam Rahn Bay Airbase in South Vietnam and arrived in
the target area without incident. They prepared to make bombing runs
on a suspected enemy troop concentration, and shortly after the second
run, the Forward Air Controller noticed an explosion about two miles
southeast of the target. Both he and the flight leader proceeded to
the scene as no radio replies were received from Walling’s F4C. Rescue
helicopters were alerted and arrived within minutes.
No parachutes were seen, nor were there any emergency radio
transmissions. The area of the wreckage could not be seen by the air
because of dense foliage, nor could ground troops gain access to the
area because it was defended by enemy troops. The last known location
of the aircraft was near the juncture of Binh Duong, Bien Hoa, Long
Khan and Binh Long Provinces in South Vietnam, about 40 miles
northeast of Saigon.
Later that day, Foreign Broadcast Information Service in Okinawa
monitored two radio releases from Radio Hanoi regarding the shoot down
of an F4 and the killing of two “yankees on board”. Because Walling
and Kommendant were aboard the only F4 lost that day in that area, it
was felt that if the releases were true, they related to Walling and
Sources: Anne Cullen (volunteer) and NJVVMF.
Back to NJ POW/MIA List