Dec 25, 2013
08:08 AMConnecticut Today
Holidays Are Profound Homecoming for Family of Vietnam War Airman Killed in Laos
Peter Casolino/New Haven Register
Darleen Hood of East Haven has had this POW/MIA bracelet for 30-years to honor those who never came back from the Vietnam war. She was shocked to see that the remains of Air Force Col. Francis J. McGouldrick Jr., were found and buried at Arlington Cemetery on December 13th. She now wants to give the bracelet to his family.
NEW HAVEN--It’s been a season of homecomings for the family of Air Force Col. Francis J. McGouldrick Jr., and the tears of joy and remembrance continue to flow.
In the days since the New Haven airman’s remains were buried at Arlington National Cemetery, 45 years after his plane crashed in Laos during the Vietnam War, his four daughters have been carried by a wave of support from Connecticut and beyond.
“It’s opened up the floodgates for us,” said Megan Genheimer of Dublin, Ohio. She’s second oldest of the McGouldrick girls. “I think a lot of people had lost track of us.”
The McGouldricks heard from old friends, neighbors and family members they hadn’t been in touch with in years; people spontaneously got in their cars and drove to Arlington to pay their respects; others sent heartfelt condolences.
Col. McGouldrick grew up in New Haven. He attended local schools and married his wife, Jacquelyn, at St. Brendan’s Church in 1954. He joined the Air Force after college at Fairfield University, then had assignments in Texas, Japan and Ohio.
He went to Vietnam in 1968, at the age of 39.
On Dec. 13, 1968, Col. McGouldrick’s B-57E Canberra aircraft collided with another plane during a night strike mission over Laos. It would take decades for the U.S. government, working with the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, to find the crash site and identify remains.