For Erica Reilly, a West Chester resident, Veteran’s Day is the time to remember and honor her uncle Mike Doyle, a naval fighter pilot who died after he was shot down in 1972, she writes for Main Line Today.
Lt. Commander Michael W. Doyle and his Radar Intercept Officer Lt. John Ensch were hit by a surface-to-air missile while on an early evening combat air patrol in their F4 Phantom on Aug. 25, 1972.
Both men were members of the elite squadron VF-161 Chargers. They were seasoned naval aviators with over 500 missions under their belts. After they managed to successfully dodge a series of surface-to-air missiles, they were hit by one. They ejected from their cockpits and that was the last time anyone saw Reilly’s uncle alive.
Doyle had been considered missing for 13 years before his remains were returned home to his family by North Vietnamese officials. His mother passed away from Alzheimer’s never knowing what had happened to her son.
“We still really don’t, but 50 years after his final mission, we know more than we did then,” wrote Reilly.
Read more about Mike Doyle in Main Line Today.