SD Vietnam War Memorial Dedication Please Support the Memorial Soldiers, Heroes, and teachers information



In Memory of U.S. Navy Aviation Machinist’s Mate Second Class

Stanley Jon Freng

Mission Hill, South Dakota, Yankton County

December 24, 1942 – June 17, 1966

Died in Plane Crash over the South China Sea near South Vietnam


Stanley Jon “Stan” Freng was born December 24, 1942, in Le Mars, Iowa to Sanford and Matilda (Janssen) Freng. He has one sister, Sandra. Stan graduated from Yankton High School in 1960. While he was in school, he liked cars and racing. He was also in 4-H and attended summer 4-H camps, where he met his future wife, Sharon Elizabeth Crelly from Madison, South Dakota. Stan was very bright, and he loved to read and do woodworking, but his first love was flying. His dream was to have his own plane someday. Eventually he probably would have gone on to further schooling to major in drafting, but after high school he went directly into the Navy. Once he was in, there was no doubt that he planned to make the Navy his career.

Stanley Freng first entered the Navy on September 8, 1960, at Omaha, Nebraska. He was initially trained and stationed at San Diego, where he served as a Machinist’s Mate. In March of 1962, Stan married Sharon. They later had two daughters, Jeanne and Lori. Stationed at Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland and the NSA Mid-South Naval Base at Millington, Tennessee, Stan completed much of his training as a flight engineer. Later the family went with Stanley when he was stationed in Hawaii, but his tour was cut short due to the escalation of activities in Vietnam. They then returned to California, living at Mountain View while Stanley was assigned duty at NAS Moffett Field. He was a crewmember in AIRTRANSRON SEVEN based mostly out of San Francisco. The C-130 transport would take him and the rest of the crew to Vietnam on supply missions via Hawaii, Midway, and the Philippines about every two weeks in the spring and early summer of 1966.

Stanley had just come off a mission when he was called and asked to fill in for the next mission. Neither the pilot nor Stan was scheduled to be on that flight. On June 17, 1966, ADR2 Stanley Jon Freng and the others aboard were killed as a “result of military aircraft accident while en route to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan.” According to reports, his plane went down “in the South China Sea 43 miles northeast of Nha Trang, South Vietnam.” First reported as missing, Stanley was later declared dead on June 21, 1966. His wife, Sharon, remembers that the Commanding Officer and the Chaplain came to the door; when she opened it and saw them standing there and the dark car out front, she knew instantly why they were there. From their home, officials called and informed both Sharon and Stanley’s parents, who immediately came by train to California to be with her and her two daughters who were just toddlers.

Although his body was never recovered, there was a memorial service for him, the pilot, and the co-pilot at Moffett Field Air Base in Mountain View, California. Since Stanley had told her his wish was to be buried at a National Cemetery, Sharon had his memorial cross placed at Black Hill National Cemetery near Sturgis. Much later, as family of missing service personnel, Jeanne and Sharon went to Washington, DC, for briefing 7-8 years ago, hoping to bring some closure to Stan’s disappearance. But according to the briefing, he’s still one of the unaccounted for, so it’s been hard for the family to find closure. Called the “mystery crash” from the beginning, information about where the plane went down and what brought it down has made it even more difficult to know with certainty what happened. In fact, “his parents went to their graves believing Stan was still alive somewhere.”

Among his many awards, Stanley Freng received the following medals posthumously: Air Medal and certificate, Purple Heart and certificate, Good Conduct Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, National Defense, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Ribbon Bar.

Stanley Freng is survived by his widow, Sharon (Lyle) Muth, Winthrop, Minnesota; his daughter, Jeanne Freng and her two children, Kent, Washington; his daughter, Lori (Mark) Mikols and their two daughters, Homer, Alaska; and his sister, Sandra (Richard) Halpine, Lincoln, Nebraska.

In closing, Stanley’s widow, Sharon, wrote, “Stan was lost doing what he loved the most, helping fly a military aircraft and serving his country. He more than once stated if he had to leave this world he hoped it was doing what he loved most. In that I could find some peace.”

Left: Sharon, Lori, and Jeanne accept Stanley’s posthumous awards

This entry was respectfully submitted by Michael Warwick, Grade 8, Spearfish Middle School, on November 4, 2005. Information for this entry was provided by Vietnam Veterans Bonus Application, and Yankton Daily Press and Dakotan from 6/17/66. Additional information, photos, and profile approval were provided by Sharon (Freng) Muth.


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