CLEM, THOMAS DEAN
Name: Thomas Dean Clem Rank/Branch: 02/USMC Reserve Unit: Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Date of Birth: 31 May 1942 Home City of Record: New Paris, IN (born Goshen, IN) Date of Loss: 3 May 1968 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: N164658 E1070157 Status (in 1973): Killed in Action/Body not Recovered Category: 3 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A6A Refno: 1156
Other Personnel in Incident: Avery, Robert D., missing
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project and the P.O.W. NETWORK 2 April 1992 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews and the Senate Select Committee Hearing Report.
SYNOPSIS: Captain Clem was the pilot of the A6A aircraft that failed to return from a mission over North Vietnam.
Since the war ended, the Defense Department has received over 10,000 reports relating to the men still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, yet concludes that no actionable evidence has been received that would indicate Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia. A recent Senate investigation indicates that most of these reports were dismissed without just cause, and that there is every indication that Americans remained in captivity far after the war ended, and may be alive today.
Senate Select Committee Report:
North Vietnam Robert D. Avery Thomas D. Clem (1156)
On May 3, 1968, Avery and Clem were the crew in an A-6A on an armed reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam providing support to U.S. Air Force operations along Route Package 1. Radar contact was lost with the aircraft when it was approximately 10 kilometers northwest of the coastal town of Dong Hoi and six kilometers southeast of the district seat of Bo Trach in Quang Binh Province. SAR forces were unable to locate any sign of the crew which was declared missing.
Returning U.S. POWs were unable to provide any information on the eventual fate of the crew. After Operation Homecoming they were declared killed in action, body not recovered, based on a presumptive finding of death.
In January 1991, a U.S. team in Vietnam visited Bo Trach District and reviewed archival documents. One document listed the downing of an A-6A on May 3, 1968 in which both crewmen died. In July 1991, U.S. researchers at the Military Region IV museum in Vinh City obtained access to an archival list of gravesites of Americans who died there during the war. One entry listed Robert D. Avery as buried in Quang Ninh District from an F-105 downed on April 15, 1968. In January 1992, a Region IV air defense record listed an A- 6A downed on May 3, 1968 with both crewmen dead. In December 1992, a copy of the list of burial sites was turned over by Vietnam to Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs.