U.S. Navy

Born Sept. 9, 1948

Died March 16, 1970

A son of Joseph and Mary (Radzai) Saukaitis, of Kulpmont, Joseph was a 1967 graduate of Mount Carmel Area High School and entered military service Sept. 12, 1967,

receiving boot training at the Naval Air Training Command, Memphis, Tenn.

At the time of his death, Saukaitis was serving in a VQ-1 Fleet Recon Squadron with the U.S. Navy, attached to a radar team. He was an aviation electronics technician and training to earn his wings as a Navy Flyer.

He was killed March 16, 1970, when the four-engine U.S. Navy electronic spy plane in which he was riding crashed while landing in Da Nang, Vietnam, and exploded into a ball of flames inside an Air Force maintenance hangar. Saukaitis' plane and an F-4 Phantom jet parked nearby were destroyed. Saukaitis was one of 26 military personnel killed in the crash.

Just four weeks before his death, his engagement to Margaret Skocik, of Mount Carmel, was announced. In addition to his fiance and parents, he was survived at the time by two sisters, his maternal grandfather and two nephews.

Joseph was 21 years old and is remembered on Panel 12W, line 9.

- Information from The News-Item archives