USAF Pilot, Vietnam War Veteran
by Melissa LaScaleia
Shine Avenue is named in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shine, a pilot in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. The avenue meanders around the periphery of the Market Common, intersecting with Farrow Parkway.
Anthony Shine was born on May 20, 1939 to a military family. His father, George, retired from the Air Force as a colonel, and all three of their sons and one daughter joined the military.
Anthony joined the United States Air Force from Pleasantville, New York. He served two terms in Vietnam, the first in 1970. Most of what we know about his life is due to interviews with his daughter, Colleen.
He was stationed with his family at an Air Force base along the Pacific Ocean before he was stationed at the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base. His daughter and family enjoyed the lull of Myrtle Beach, compared to the massive typhoons that characterize the part of the Pacific Basin from whence they came.
In Myrtle Beach, the family lived several blocks south of Garden City Pier, and enjoyed jeep rides along the quiet shores. They would also entertain their squadron with Olympic-themed beach parties in their sandy backyard.
Anthony Shine left for his second tour of Vietnam from the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in 1972. On December 2, he was flying an A-7D fighter aircraft on a reconnaissance mission near the Barthelemy Pass in North Vietnam near the border of Laos. He radioed his wingman to say that he was descending below cloud cover for a closer look at their target area. After ten minutes, his wingman radioed him, and received no response. His plane seemingly disappeared in the clouds.
The passes through these mountains were dangerous. The area was rife with Vietnamese fighters. Bombings and missile fire were common; many planes were shot down here. In addition, the terrain was so rugged as to be almost impassable. Of the many Americans who went missing in this area, few were found.
The military searched for Anthony for three days, but found nothing. He was reported as Missing In Action. There were reports of a crash site, but the government declared it had been heavily looted and there was, therefore, little hope of finding more information. Colleen, who was 8 years old at the time of her father’s disappearance, never gave up hope of finding him.
In the ’90s, as an adult, she went to Vietnam searching for answers and closure. She hired a guide, and found a Vietnamese villager who had found a helmet near the site. When she looked inside, her father’s name was hand written on the inside. Colleen’s findings gave the government new leads to follow, and investigators were able to recover remnants of Anthony’s plane as well as his remains and confirm that it was indeed, he.
Because of his daughter’s efforts, Anthony Shine was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery in 1996, offering his surviving family closure at long last.
During the years he was MIA, Anthony was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and awarded The Purple Heart.
To commemorate her husband, and remember those soldiers who remain missing in Vietnam, Anthony’s wife, Bonnie, founded the Anthony C. Shine Award, which is given each year to a fighter pilot who demonstrates proficiency and professionalism in flying a fighter aircraft.
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