Abandoned: MIA in Vietnam

BOOK: Abandoned: MIA in Vietnam
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MIA in Vietnam


Bill Yancey



Front and Back Covers


Picture Perfect Cover Art

St. Augustine, FL 




This novel is a work of fiction. The characters (with the exception of public or historical figures), incidents, settings, dialogues, and situations depicted are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or deceased, is entirely coincidental.



Abandoned: MIA in Vietnam

Bill Yancey

© Copyright 2016 by Bill Yancey

ISBN-13: 978-1533304056

ISBN-10: 153330405X



All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

For the purposes of writing this novel in as realistic a sense as possible, the use of trademarks has occurred. Use of the Brand or Trademark is minimized and used only to make the point or connection necessary. A
ll use of trademarks is intended to be non-derivative. They are used without permission of the brand owner(s), and therefore unendorsed  by the various rights holding individuals, companies, parties, or corporations.



Yancey, Bill, 1947—

Abandoned / Bill Yancey

ISBN-13: 978-1533304056

ISBN-10: 153330405X



1. Mystery Medical – Fiction 2. Murder Mystery—Fiction 3. Military—Fiction





In memory of



G. Barry Lockhart

February 17, 1947 – December 21, 1972

Francis C. Hammond High School, Class of 1965

United States Air Force Academy, Class of 1969

Captain, USAF B-52 co-pilot, KIA, Hanoi, Vietnam




Richard E. Bolstad

July 7, 1929 – February 21, 2014

Corporal, USMC, Korean War

Colonel, USAF A-1 pilot, Vietnam War

POW 1965-1973, Hanoi, Vietnam



















Also by Bill Yancey


Elvis Saves

No One Lives Forever

The Last Day

What Your Doctor Won’t Tell You About Your Lower Back


Multidimensional Man

Reluctant Intern

Deadly Practice

Quantum Timeline




















Special thanks to Pat Aller, for editing assistance. Any remaining mistakes are mine.




Special thanks to Tina Biron for help with Vietnamese language and customs.




Many friends and some of my family read the rough draft of this novel and offered insightful criticism. I would like to thank Lee Hyatt, David Biron, Jerry Anne Yancey, and Tom Yancey, for their suggestions and for taking the time out of their busy lives to improve the manuscript. Any remaining typographical errors, punctuation mistakes, or other blunders, however, are mine.




Praise for the author


Elvis Saves
)… is a fun read. A really evil guy named Lomax is trying to make a lot of money for his employer, Turner-Disney Entertainment, by coercing the American public into a frenzy over sightings of Elvis Presley. Despite his unlimited resources and utter ruthlessness, Lomax is thwarted by an entertaining group of characters. The author's obvious familiarity with details about the real Elvis Presley helps him to create B.J. Nottingham, a plausible and engaging Elvis impersonator…

A.K. Williams,
Roanoke Times


In a fun, fast and furious thriller (
Quantum Timeline
) that mixes fact with fiction, Detective Engle chases suspects, uncovers conspiracies, rights wrongs and even finds love while bouncing around through the continuum.


Dr. Addison Wolfe is back. He’s old, broke and more-than-a-tad bitter, but ready to start afresh with his new young wife and child…. Throughout (
Deadly Practice
) the retired M.D. explores the many frustrations of doctors in our modern world…. But the novelist Yancey doesn’t let these mundane problems get in the way of a good mystery. Loaded with strong characters and a page-turning plot,
Deadly Practice
will keep you entertained until the wee hours of the morn.

C.F. Foster,
Florida Times Union


Dr. Addison “Addy” Wolfe who appeared in Dr. Bill Yancey’s previous novel,
Reluctant Intern
has left behind the struggles of his internship years….
Deadly Practice
offers a strikingly realistic picture of the drastic changes that have taken place in medicine.

Marie Vernon,
St. Augustine Record


Amazon Books Reviews


Addison Wolfe is a charming, endearing character and his passion for truth and justice make him a very likeable protagonist. All of the characters in this clever tale, some with more warts than others….This is a fun read. I look forward to more adventures from Addison Wolfe.


…author did a great job at bringing the characters' emotions out of the book. And at each turn of page you have a surprise.
If you want to spend some quality time with a good book this is a good choice.

Good guys and bad guys were surprising and the finely woven mystery was well crafted and believable. Characters were well developed and likeable. All in all a really good read.


For those of you who enjoyed Yancey's last novel,
Reluctant Intern
, you are in for another treat with
Deadly Practice
! This gem takes place about 20 years later with Addy relocating to an Urgent Care clinic in Florida, and brings with it lots of intense, fast, page-turning!


This book was so well written, I didn't want to put it down. I really hope he writes a sequel.

Dynamic characters, plot twists, and riveting medical scenarios kept me thoroughly invested in the lives of these soon-to-be doctors.


I enjoyed this absorbing tale of an internship year. There were the usual rotation anecdotes, and stories of hospital politics. But who would've expected romance, practical jokes, and attempted murder. I couldn't put it down.

This is a fascinating look at the world of medicine, and what it takes to make it in the medical world.


The book was very readable, the characters likeable, and the flow of the book very natural, making me want to read on until I was done. (I finished the book within 24 hours.) I would recommend this book to anyone.

All of the "horrors" of internship were included, but they made the characters more interesting, and kept the plot moving along and holding your attention, while the suspenseful part snuck up grabbed you from behind. A thoroughly enjoyable read, I look forward to recommending to anyone that will listen.


















Regaining his senses, Jimmy Byrnes swung a high kick at Deke Jameson’s head, but the huge sailor had anticipated the move. He caught Byrnes’s foot and threw him over the safety cable. Byrnes caught the side of the ship with one hand. Gripping the edge of the deck, he dangled briefly and tried to pull himself back onto the sponson. Jameson stepped on his fingers and Byrnes dropped into the Gulf of Tonkin.

One of the other sailors immediately yelled, “Man overboard!”

Jameson spun and grabbed the man’s face with one hand, his other on the man’s shirt at his collar. Pinching the man’s cheeks between thumb and forefinger, Jameson growled, “Unless you want to join him, I suggest you shut up. Got it?”

Color drained from the sailor’s face as he mulled the ultimatum. “Sure, Deke. Sure,” he said. Jameson released his grip on the man’s face.

“And if anyone asks, this never happened.” Jameson glared at each of the men on the sponson. They nodded silently. “Okay. Let’s go. Act natural.” Leaving the fire hose and life jackets where they had fallen on the deck, the men exited the sponson and returned to their berths. The busy hangar deck crews and mechanics paid no attention to them as they closed the hatch behind them.




That’s how the fight ended. It started with alarms sounding over the PA system, and then an announcement, “Fire! Fire on the hangar deck! This is no drill! All hands to General Quarters!”

, an Essex-class aircraft carrier, had more than 100 fires and fire drills during its deployment to Vietnam, from June, 1967, until this very early morning in January, 1968. This most recent minor fire had originated on one of the yellow tractors that moved aircraft around the hangar deck. Apparently the ignition switch had shorted out. Smoke from the burning insulation in the dash filled the forward hangar bay. General Quarters sounded. The entire crew manned their fire fighting stations, at 0113 hours.

No one onboard
took fires lightly. About fifteen months before, on October 26, 1966, a magnesium flare ignited accidentally in the forward hangar deck bay. The sailor handling the burning flare threw it into the flare locker. He closed the locker’s heavy steel door and dogged it shut, using the metal handles that surround watertight doors. He assumed the flare would suffocate in the closed compartment.

Instead, that single flare ignited all the magnesium flares in the locker. The resultant explosion blew off the hatch door, set a helicopter on fire, and led to a major fire. As a result forty-four crewmen died, including many pilots unfamiliar with the layout of the ship and escape routes. One hundred fifty-six other sailors suffered injuries, from smoke inhalation to serious burns.

The aircraft carrier returned to the United States for repairs. The fire severely damaged the electrical system in the forward one third of the ship. In need of aircraft carriers to prosecute the air war in North and South Vietnam, the navy rushed
through a repair and sent her back to Vietnam in June of 1967. Among the miles of damaged electrical cable in the ship, there were circuits that frequently shorted out and started electrical fires. Every three days, or so, another fire began somewhere in the ship’s forward third. Having experienced one major fire, the crew never underestimated the possibility of another. Not on a ship that carried tons of bombs, rockets, flares, and fuel for seventy aircraft, itself, and its destroyer escort.

In addition,
crew had witnessed the near sinking of the USS
, which caught fire in the Gulf of Tonkin on July 29, 1967. 134 sailors and airmen perished. Another 161 suffered serious injury. Leaving herself under-protected,
had flown every spare fire hose, breathing apparatus, and other fire fighting equipment to the
by helicopter. The same choppers retrieved injured sailors and brought them to
’s sickbay for triage and treatment.

No one on
took fire at sea lightly. No one.

After the ship’s crew extinguished the fire and secured the vessel, some old animosities flared.

Hey, Chink!” the big sailor yelled.

Byrnes looked up, involuntarily. Usually he didn’t respond to insults about his heritage. He attempted to ignore the lowlife who would disparage his ancestors. The voice had been so loud and so close that it startled him. He had reacted to the noise, not the words. When he saw who had yelled, he frowned. “Get lost, asshole,” he said, almost loud enough to have been heard over the din of the noisy hangar deck. He returned to his task, rolling up the four-inch fire hose on the sponson.

An extension adjacent to the hangar deck, the smaller sponson deck had been originally designed to be an anti-aircraft gun position forward of the port elevator. He had hung one heavy, brass, connecting end of the hose over the edge of the sponson. As he rolled up the hose he squeezed water from it, which fell fifty feet into the Gulf of Tonkin from aircraft carrier.

“I’m talking to you!” the huge man bellowed. Six-foot four-inches, with a heavy build, his beginning beer gut hung over his worn dungarees, barely covered by his white T-shirt. The irate sailor blocked Byrnes’s passage to the hangar deck from the sponson.

Byrnes tried to ignore the man. He shouldered the heavy canvas rolled hose and tried to push his way through the hatch. Behind the man, Byrnes saw several more sailors staring at him. Behind them, the hangar deck crew he led had returned to work. They were repositioning aircraft moved away from the fire. Squadron mechanics needed to finish preparing for the final day on the line for
and her air wing. The ship’s company thought the Vietnam War would likely end for the ship at noon the next day. From Yankee Station she was scheduled to steam to Subic Bay in the Philippines. From there, the next stop was Alameda, California and a complete overhaul. No one expected the war to continue until
could rejoin the fleet. They were wrong, of course.

A large open hand hit Byrnes in the chest, pushing him backward on the small sponson. He lost his balance and dropped the fire hose. Catching himself with his back to the lifeline, he spread his arms out along the top cable, waited, and watched. Three cables on metal posts surrounded the sponson deck keeping ship’s crew from falling overboard.

Byrnes knew the large sailor, Deke Jameson. He had testified against him for stealing laundry and had helped to send the man to the brig at the beginning of the cruise. As he watched, two other men joined the angry sailor on the sponson. Two more took positions on the far side of the hatch, facing away from the sponson. Jameson, the largest sailor, turned and closed the hatch door. Byrnes braced himself, taking deep, slow breaths, eying his opponent.

“You’re quiet now, Gook,” Jameson growled. “What did you say earlier? Did you call me an asshole? The guys in supply division aren’t happy that you cost me my rating and sent me to the brig. Are you, guys?” He stepped closer to Byrnes. Nodding in agreement, the other two moved silently to Byrnes’s left and right.

Byrnes waited until Jameson raised a fist and reared back to throw a roundhouse punch. With a swift kick to Jameson’s groin, he crippled him temporarily. Screaming, Jameson dropped to his knees and then rolled to the deck. “Kill him,” he yelled.

One of the other sailors, chambray shirt unbuttoned and hanging loose at his beltline, tried to grab Byrnes around the waist. Byrnes pulled the man’s shirt over his head and face, and then brought a knee up and into his face. That man also crumpled to the deck. Jameson had managed to raise himself onto knees and hands. Byrnes kicked him in the ribs, rolling him onto his back.

Through the elevator opening to the hangar deck, Byrnes saw his crew working. He called to them. With the racket from the ship making headway through the ocean and the din generated by equipment used by the mechanics and his crew, no one heard him. He dodged a poorly thrown punch from the third sailor, and hit him with a combination of punches to stomach, chest, and face. Blood squirted from the man’s nose as the bones crunched under Byrnes’s knuckles. The third man joined the other two on the deck.

Byrnes stepped around and over the three combatants. He picked up the rolled fire hose, slinging it upward onto his shoulder. Silently, he pushed open the hatch to the hangar deck. Swung by another sailor, a metal, fire extinguisher canister bounced off the fire hose and hit him in the head, preventing him from leaving the sponson. One of the men from the hangar deck rushed at him, while the other pulled the hatch closed. Dazed and wobbly as he fell backward, Byrnes reached out and grabbed the locker door that held floatation devices that stood next to the hatch. The locker door opened and twenty life jackets spilled onto the deck.

The man from the hangar deck grabbed Byrnes, knocking him down and pinning him to the deck. Jameson regained his footing, pulled Byrnes to his feet, and began swinging his fists at him faster than the stunned Byrnes could block the blows. Retreating, Byrnes stumbled over the life vests and fell face forward onto the cable lifeline.

At the same time,
had reached the southeastern end of its assigned position on Yankee Station in the Gulf of Tonkin. During their struggle the sailors had missed the announcement about preparing for a high-speed turn to starboard. The aircraft carrier turned sharply to begin its return run to the northwestern end of Yankee Station. She had an appointment with an early morning launch of aircraft, her last strike against North Vietnam before heading home. All the men on the sponson leaned onto the cable fence as the ship listed mildly to port. A dozen life preservers rolled into the sea.

Then came the blocked kick and the fall overboard. Byrnes plunged into the Gulf of Tonkin.

BOOK: Abandoned: MIA in Vietnam
7.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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