United States Navy VFA-154 / CVA-43

F-8D Crusader


11th February 1965

USS Coral Sea
LCDR Robert Harper Shumaker


LCDR Robert H.Shumaker was an F8D pilot assigned to Fighter Squadron 154 on board the USS
CORAL SEA. Shumaker's aircraft was shot down by enemy fire on 11th February 1965 and he was
captured by the North Vietnamese.  The aircraft was destroyed. He was the second Navy aviator to be captured.

LCDR Robert Shumaker was flying an F-8 Crusader when he was hit by 37 mm.
cannon fire, which forced the jet out of control. He ejected using a Martin-Baker Mk.5 ejection seat and his
parachute opened a mere 35 feet from the ground. The impact broke his back
and he was captured immediately, placed in a jeep and transported over the
rutted roads to Hanoi. Upon arrival in Hanoi a white smocked North
Vietnamese gave him a cursory examination before dozens of photographers,
yet did not give him any medical attention. His back healed itself, but it
was six months before he could bend.

The day after he was shot down, he was paraded before a news conference in
Dong Hoi by guards with fixed bayonets.

For the next 8 years, Shumaker was held in various prisoner of war camps,
including the infamous Hoa Lo complex in Hanoi.  It may be well to note that Mr. Shumaker himself is the man who dubbed the Hoa Lo Prison the "Hanoi Hilton", its better known nickname.

"I simply want to say that I am happy to be home and
so grateful to a nation that never did forget us. We tried to conduct
ourselves so that America would be as proud of us as we are proud of her. I
am very proud to have served my country and pleased that we can return with
honor and dignity. "


      Some extracts used in this Biography  were  provided thanks to the generosity of Charles and Mary Schantag  who also gave permission to include the  following POWNET biography  link               (please use your browser Back Arrow to return to this page)
Additional input by Randy Kelso, a squadron mate of Robert Shumaker, and whose aircraft he helped to maintain.

LCDR Robert H. Shumaker