John Wadsworth Consolvo, Jr.
The years following the Second World War were tumultuous with America, dealing with the plausible threat of encroaching communism. Even with the initiation of the draft, there were still men and women volunteering to serve their country without hesitation. John Wadsworth Consolvo, Jr. of Fairfax, Virginia, was one of those individuals.
John graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1966 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. Basic training was at Quantico, then off to Pensacola, Florida, for flight training. He had the distinction of now being designated as an Aviator. The next few years, John was called to serve his country in a far off place – Da Nang, Vietnam. The training he received in flight school came in handy. He flew 150 missions in his first tour of duty. After being placed into the Division of Air Offices Headquarters for 6 months, John was deployed on his second tour of duty back to Da Nang in April 1972, this time to serve with the 212th Marine Fighter Squadron, VMFA-212.
On May 7, the squadron was alerted of their mission for the day. John climbed into his F-4J Phantom aircraft, ready to strike the enemy’s missile transporters. Sadly, this would be his final mission. After contact was made with the targets, the plane’s left engine was hit with enemy fire. He yelled for his Radar Intercept Officer to bail out, and he would man the aircraft until it reached safer territory. About 24 hours later, the RIO was found, but the plane crashed 3 to 4 miles away with no sign of John.
The Department of Defense still searches for him and other heroes whose lives were taken too soon. John’s name is listed on both the Missing In Action panel as well as in the Shrine of Memory. We honor John and his willingness to serve. His and his fellow Virginians’ stories of unselfish service and sacrifice are preserved and passed on to today’s and future generations at the Virginia War Memorial.