LATENDRESSE, THOMAS B.

Name: Thomas B. Latendresse
Rank/Branch: O3/United States Navy
Unit:
Date of Birth: 06 October 1943
Home City of Record: Yakima WA
Date of Loss: 27 May 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 182700 North  1054800 East
Status (in 1973): Returnee
Category:
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4F
Missions:
Other Personnel in Incident:none

Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews.

REMARKS: 730328 RELEASED BY DRV


SOURCE: WE CAME HOME  copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
spelling errors).
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO

THOMAS B. LATENDRESSE
Lieutenant Commander- United States Navy
Shot Down: May 27, 1972
Released: March 28, 1973

I was born in Yakima, a small town in central Washington, 6 October 1943. I
was raised in Yakima with a younger brother and sister and attended a
Catholic grade and high school. I became interested in flying while in high
school and fell in love with it, and a girl named Nancy Miller, by the time
I was in college.

After completing my second year of college I joined the Navy and became a
Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD). After 18 months of training ranging from
Pensacola, Florida to Corpus Christi, Texas, I was designated a Naval
Aviator on 15 February 1965, and was sent to an A-1 (AD) "Skyraider"
squadron in Alameda, California. Prior to arriving in Alameda, I married the
love of my life, Nancy.

After two combat cruises with VAW-13 in Southeast Asia, I was reassigned to
shore duty as a flight instructor in Beeville, Texas (VT-26). In October
1969 I was released from the Navy and Nancy, my now three sons, and I went
to Minneapolis. I then went to work as a pilot for Northwest Airlines.

In June 1970 I returned to active duty and was sent to Lemoore, California
for training in the A-4 "Skyhawk." In December 1970 I joined Attack Squadron
55 already in the Western Pacific and I completed the cruise with the
squadron. At the end of the cruise I returned to Lemoore to my family and a
sudden addition of a daughter. In January 1972 the squadron redeployed again
on another combat cruise.

On 27 May 1972 I was leading a two plane SAM suppression mission for a large
strike over North Vietnam and was shot down by anti-aircraft fire. I was
injured very badly upon ejection. After being transported to Hanoi, the
treatment I received for my extensive wounds was extremely inadequate to
non-existent. On 28 March 1973, I was released  to United States authorities
and flown to Clark A.F.B. I was assigned to Oakland Naval Hospital for 11
months for treatment of my injuries; and I am now a student at the Naval
Post Graduate School, Monterey, California.

While a POW I never lost faith in the people or government of this beautiful
country of OURS, or in my God. The welcome home we all received and the
sincere and beautiful expressions of concern for me and my family assures me
that my faith was more than well-founded. I would like to thank each and
every one in the United States, but it's impossible ... so, from the bottom
of my heart, "THANKS AND GOD BLESS YOU. "

==========================
Thomas Latendresse retired from the United States Navy as a Captain. He and
his wife Melinda reside in South Carolina.

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