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DONALD EARL THOMPSON

            

THE WALL: Panel 14E- Row 120

Name: Donald Earl Thompson
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Unit: Fighter Squadron 213, USS KITTY HAWK
Date of Birth: 17 February 1940
Home City of Record: Wellsville NY
Date of Loss: 04 February 1967
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 200500N 1061500E
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4B
Other Personnel In Incident: Allan P. Collamore (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews.
REMARKS: DEAD/CS 317 09012 73


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SYNOPSIS:********************************

   Lt. Donald E. Thompson was a pilot and Lt. Allan P. Collamore a Radar Intercept Officer, assigned to Fighter Squadron 213 onboard the aircraft carrier USS KITTY HAWK (CVA-63).

   On the night of February 4, 1967, Thompson and Collamore launched in their F4B Phantom fighter aircraft on an armed reconnaissance mission along the coast of North Vietnam. They were wingman for a two plane section. The flight leader crossed the beach and executed a level flare dropping run. Thompson's aircraft was briefed to fly in a six to seven mile radar trail behind the other aircraft.

   Approximately one minute after the flare drop, the flight leader observed a large explosion behind him. He immediately initiated a turn back and attempted to contact his wingman with no results. He then arrived at the scene of the explosion and observed a large fire in the area. He radioed for search and rescue efforts to be initiated. No electronic or visual signals were identified from the area. Headlights of trucks were seen along with small arms fire and a red flare. The search was discontinued due to darkness and enemy ground fire. Searches the next day yielded no new information.

   In September 1974 intelligence information possibly relating to the aircrash told of the downing of a jet where the two pilots were killed and their bodies buried near the crash site. This information was not positively confirmed.

   Thompson and Collamore were classified Missing in Action, and were carried in this status for the next eight years. At this time, based on no information that they were alive, the two were declared administratively dead.

   Thompson and Collamore are among nearly 2300 Americans still prisoner, missing, or unaccounted for from the Vietnam war. Unlike "MIA's" from other wars, the large majority of these missing men can be accounted for -- alive or dead.

   Since American involvement in Vietnam ended in 1975, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner, or otherwise unaccounted for in Indochina have been received by the U.S. Government. Many officials, having examined this largely classified information, have reluctantly concluded that many Americans are still alive today, held captive by our long-ago enemy.

   It is not known if Thompson and Collamore could be among those thought to be still alive today. What is certain, however, is that as long as even one American remains alive, held against his will, we owe him our very best efforts to bring him to freedom.


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"All Biographical and loss information on POWs provided by Operation Just Cause have been supplied by Chuck and Mary Schantag of POWNET. Please check with POWNET regularly for updates."


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