CALLIES, TOMMY LEON
Name: Tommy Leon Callies Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 31 May 1943 Home City of Record: Howard SD Date of Loss: 01 August 1969 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 145936N 1082847E (BS281589) Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered Category: 2 Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E REFNO: 1474
Other Personnel In Incident: Douglas G. Burd (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 1990 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources, interviews. Updated by the P.O.W. NETWORK 2001.
SYNOPSIS: On August 1, 1969, just four years after he graduated from the Air Force Academy, Capt. Tommy Callies found himself in the Vietnam war as the pilot of an F4E Phantom fighter/bomber jet. On this day, 1LT Douglas Burd was his back-seater, having charge of navigation and bombing. It was Callies' dream to become a career pilot, and he and Burd were flying one of the most exciting aircraft of the time.
The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2), and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest" planes around. It was equipped with Skyspot radar, which helped ground radar track the plane.
When the Phantom flown by Callies was in Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam, just about 25 miles southwest of the city of Quang Ngai, the Skyspot was put to test. The plane was shot down.
Observers feel that Tommy Callies and Doug Burd died in the crash of their plane, and circumstances surrounding the area of crash indicate a very good chance the enemy knew what happened to them. The two are on the rolls of the missing because their bodies are in enemy hands.
For the nearly 2400 other Americans unaccounted for, simple explanations are not so easy. Experts now believe that hundreds of Americans are still alive, held captive by a long-ago enemy. While Callies and Burd are not, evidently, among this number, one can imagine their willingness to fly one more mission for their missing comrades. Why have 15 years gone by without our bringing these men home?
The Los Angeles Times Saturday, December 27, 1997
Issue of MIAs in Vietnam Losing Steam By DAVID LAMB, Times Staff Writer
DA NANG, Vietnam--On the official records, it's Case No. 1474: two American pilots--a captain and a lieutenant--shot down on a bombing run over the jungles of Vietnam in 1969.....
Subject: Callies Update Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2001 13:29:03 -0800 (PST) From: larry Mayes
Latest from AFMPC is attached...while it doesn't end the mystery, it brings up to date...thanks again for your help. Larry
From: Frampton William R Civ AFPC/DPWCM Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 8:15 AM To: 'Larry Mayes' Subject: FW: Tommy Leon Callies
Ref your e-mail below. It was forwarded to me for response.
The case of Capt Callies has been investigated a few times since your last visit to our office.
1993: During this Joint Field Activity, an investigative team interviewed four witnesses who provided informatin concerning the shoot down of a jet aircraft. Witness accounts, although sketchy, were generally consistent with the facts of this case. The team was led to a crash site, conducted a surface search and found only a few small pieces of aluminum and fiberglass. No remains or personal effects were found. This site had been extensively scavenged since the incident occurred. Analysis of the material evidence found at the site were insufficient to establish a correlation to Capt Callies incident.
1995: During this Joint Field Activity, an investigative team interviewed three witnesses. One of these individuals led the team to an alleged crash site which the team surveyed. No remains or personal effects were found. Although the team found physical evidence of an aircraft crash site they did not find of remains near the crash site or on the hillsisde below the site.
1997: During this Joint Field Activity, an investigative team surveyed a reported crash site, recovering several pieces of possible aircraft wreckage. The team did not recover or receive remains or personal effects during this investigation. Analyst comments: The amount of wreckage indicates an aircraft crash site, however, the wreckage could not be correlated to Capt Callies, while the team was on location. A joint team would have to excavate the site to obtain sufficient material evidence to correlate the crash site. The likelihood of recovering remains is unknown. Recommendation: Excavate. Analysis of the items recovered at this site are sufficient to establish a probable correlation to the aircraft involved in Capt Callies incident.
1997: During this Joint Field Activity, an excavation team excavated a total of 476 square meters to culturally sterile soil. The team recovered no human remains from the project area. The team recovered one personal effect (broken rusty pocket knife) and several pieces of life support materials. Preliminary field analysis indicates that at least one ivdividual was in the aircraft at the time of the incident. JTF-FA analysis indicates the items recovered correlate to a F-4 aircraft incident, but are insufficient to establish an exclusive correlation to Capt Callies' specific aircraft. And the presence of three survival kit drop line storage flutes indicates two individuals were in the aircraft at impact. JTF-FA files indicate there are two F-4 crash sites within 15 kilometers of this excavation site. This site was excavated to it's limits and was closed by the anthropologist on 20 Aug 97.
We have not received any additional information pertaining to the case of Capt Callies.
William R.Frampton Senior Liaison Officer Missing Persons Branch
Privacy Act - 1974 as amended applies--This memo may contain information which must be protected IAW DOD 5400.11R, and is For Official Use Only (FOUO)
-----Original Message----- From: Larry Mayes Sent: Friday, March 02, 2001 9:27 AM Subject: Tommy Leon Callies
Hello, I am retired AF Colonel Lawrence R. Mayes, SSAN xxx-xx-xxxx. Over the past two decades I have visited your office on several occasions to check on latest status on Tommy Leon Callies, shot down in 1969 in South Viet Nam. My last visit was in 1991 or 1992. I believe the Central Identification Lab Hawaii (CILHI) has visited the crash site since my last visit to you, under the JTF Full Accounting umbrella. I was an 8th Aerial Port Officer in 1970 -- ... I would just like to know the latest on his case. I am only curious for my own benefit....
Hope you can help...thanks.
Larry Mayes, Colonel, USAF (Retired)