DUCKETT, THOMAS ALLEN
|Name: Thomas Allen Duckett
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 23rd Tactical Air Support Squadron, Nakhon Phanom Airport, Thailand
Date of Birth: 12 November 1946
Home City of Record: La Grange GA
[Thomas Duckett's lived in Ringgold, GA until graduation from high school.]
Date of Loss: 12 December 1970
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 163900N 1061900E (XD410417)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Other Personnel In Incident: Owen G. Skinner (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 01 April 1991 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.
Pete was in AvCad nav school with me at Harlingen '55, later flew in
F101B backseat with me in 445 FIS Wurtsmith '63-'66, was my
across-the-street neighbor - Pete was a nav, always a nav - that makes
Thos Allan Ducket the pilot in this loss -
A S Warinner Col AF 54-80
AvCad 55-17c Pilot class 59D
SYNOPSIS: 1Lt. Thomas A. Duckett and Maj. Owen G. Skinner comprised the crew
of an O2A spotter aircraft which departed NKP Airport on December 12, 1970
on a Forward Air Control (FAC) mission over Laos. (NOTE: While Defense
Department records indicate that Duckett was the observer, and Skinner the
pilot, U.S. Air Force records indicate that Duckett was the pilot. The
military occupational specialties (MOS) of both men are classified, and it
cannot be determined which was the pilot and which was the observer.)
The Cessna O2 was a stopgap replacement aircraft for the O1 until the North
American OV10 arrived in Vietnam. The Air Force operated 346 of the
aircraft. The A model flown by Duckett and Skinner served the function of
marking targets with marking rockets. It was a small, poorly armored
aircraft which normally flew unarmed.
While the aircraft was over Savannakhet Province, Laos, about 6 miles east
southeast of the city of Sepone, it was shot down. After the aircraft
crashed, radio contact was made with 1Lt. Duckett. The limited information
available publicly does not reveal whether Skinner also survived the crash
of the aircraft, nor does it indicate that any efforts were made to recover
the crew. Family members report, however, that the following day, search
aircraft located the aircraft intact on the ground in a small clearing.
There was no sign of fire damage to the aircraft, and parachutes were seen
in the area of the crash. For the following two days electronic emergency
radio beepers were head, but could never be pinpointed as they were shifting
frequently. Hostile ground fire and activity prevented a ground search. Both
men were declared Missing in Action.
Perhaps because the war in Laos was "secret", little information was
available to the families of Skinner and Duckett regarding their crash and
fates. Most of the information was classified and unavailable to them. Like
many POW/MIA families, they resorted to filing numerous requests of
Government agencies through the Freedom of Information Act. One such
classified report received by the Duckett family described an American
prisoner fitting Duckett's description who was identified in Laos in
Like Duckett and Skinner, many Americans downed in Laos were known to be
alive after the crash of their aircraft, or when they were last seen on the
ground. In all, there are nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos. Even though the
Pathet Lao stated they held "tens of tens" of American prisoners, they
maintained that, after the war, they would be released only from Laos.
The U.S. Government, in negotiating the end of American involvement in the
second Indochina War, did not negotiate with the communist Pathet Lao, a
governmental faction they did not officially recognize. As a result, not one
of the nearly 600 Americans lost in Laos was ever released.
Intelligence and refugee reports from the region continue to mount that
there are still Americans in captivity in Southeast Asia. Americans who
fought for their country. Americans who should be home. If there is only ONE
remaining, we owe him our very best efforts to bring him home.
Thomas A. Duckett was promoted to the rank of Major and Owen G. Skinner to
the rank of Colonel during the period they were maintained Missing in
Tom Duckett was shot down in Laos forty-seven years ago, today,
12/12/70; and, has been MIA since.
What a shame that our government has never moved to locate him, or any of the other 1,602 Americans
still listed by the Department of Defense (DOD) as unaccounted for in SouthEast Asia:
Why do so many of us keep up the effort to locate our POW-MIAs? Ans.
Because most of us, except for
luck or fate, could have been lost in the hell holes of Laos, Cambodia, or Vietnam, and forgotten by most
U.S. citizens, as has Duckett, and the rest of our brothers abandoned there.