KIA April 1, 1968
Assigned to PATROL SQUADRON 26, TF 72, 7TH FLEET United States Navy, Brunswick, Maine
Died April 1, 1968 when his P-3 Orion was hit by anti-aircraft fire from a Cambodian gunboat while flying a reconnaissance mission.
After his rotation as an instructor, LTJG Hand chose to become a P-3 Orion pilot. He was initially based in Bruswick, Maine, but later served a year in Vietnam. LTJG Hand, along with three other officers and eight sailors, took off on a routine mission on April 1, 1968, in a P-3 Orion from a base in Thailand. His airplane was hit by anti-aircraft fire from a Cambodian gunboat, according to new accounts. The pilots attempted to fly to land, but the aircraft didn’t make it. No one survived. Search-and-rescue crews recovered something from every man on board, so none were listed as missing in action.
Some of LTJG Hand’s “disassociated remains” were buried in 1968 in Pensacola, FL. Further remains were found and identified using new DNA technology. LTJG Hand was laid to rest on November 12, 2007, nearly 40 years after his plane was shot down at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.
LTJG Hand was posthumously promoted to Lieutenant on November 11, 2007.
LTJG Frank Hand was 26 years old from Fort Worth, Texas.
Original portrait was presented on May 4, 2009 to his brother, Bruce, at a special service held at the corporate offices and art gallery of The American Fallen Soldiers Project.