PARROTT, THOMAS VANCE Deceased October 16, 1998 Name: Thomas Vance Parrott Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force, pilot Unit: 11th TRS 432 TRW Date of Birth: 22 November 1937 Home City of Record: Dalton GA Date of Loss: 12 August 1967 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 210800N 1055600E (WJ969369) Status (in 1973): Released POW Category: Acft/Vehicle/Ground: RF4C NOTE: Prior to Vietnam, Tom Parrott was an EB-57F navigator in Europe. Other Personnel in Incident: Edwin L. Atterberry (killed in captivity) Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 October 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 1998. REMARKS: 730314 RELSD BY DRV SYNOPSIS: On August 12, 1967, Capt. Edwin L. Atterberry and Capt. Thomas V. Parrott were sent on a reconnaissance mission over Ha Bac Province, North Vietnam. Two RF-4's were in formation, about 10 miles northeast of the city of Gia Lam. Parrot's aircraft was tracked and hit by a SAM and the crew was forced to eject. Upon landing, Parrot was unconscious for about a week or so. Both Atterberry and Parrott were captured by the North Vietnamese, and moved to the Hanoi prison system. There they joined other Americans captured before them. They discovered that despite rigorous training, they were not fully prepared for capture by the North Vietnamese. On May 10, 1969, after a year of planning, Atterberry and a fellow POW, John A. Dramesi, made an almost miraculous escape from prison. The two slipped through the roof and traveled three miles over 12 hours, but were recaptured. Dramesi recalls the torture he could not speak of for many months. For the escape attempt, Dramesi was put face down on a table, and while one guard held his head, two others beat him with a four foot length of rubber taken from an old automobile tire. They also slapped him repeatedly in the face. This went on for days, in ninety-minute sessions, after which the left side of Dramesi's head was swelled up like a pumpkin. They also put Dramesi on a bread and water diet for 30 days. At other times during the next two weeks, Dramesi's arms were bound tightly together behind him and his wrists and ankles cuffed in heavy irons. A rope was looped around a two-inch-thick bar attached to his ankle irons, taken around his shoulders and his head drawn between his knees. He was held in this position for 24 hours without sleep. His circulation impaired, the flesh on his ankles died, and he still bears the scars. After two weeks, the Vietnamese realized he might lose his feet, so they removed the irons and treated the wounds, but replaced them. Dramesi wore the irons continuously for 6 months, removing them only once a week when allowed to wash. After 38 days of this torture, Dramesi was near death. When Dramesi and Atterberry were recaptured, one of the other POWs recalls shaking Atterberry's hand. This was the last time he was seen by any Americans. Like Dramesi, Atterberry was tortured, but Atterberry did not survive. The Vietnamese told other POWs that Atterberry died of an "unusual disease." The POWs knew the disease was attempting to escape. Atterberry's remains were returned in March 1974. Not only Dramesi and Atterberry were punished. The entire POW populace was systematically worked over. After the episode was over, the senior officers outlawed further escape attempts unless they could meet a set of stringent conditions, including outside help. Planning escapes did not cease, but the actual attempts were put on hold. This is an excellent example of how the Code of Conduct was "bent" to the circumstances at hand. A necessary modification was made to ensure the survival of the prisoners; it having been determined that it was impossible to follow the Code literally under the circumstances. The result of the Vietnam experience was a "new" code, the same in letter, but different in spirit and intent than the pre-Vietnam version. Most agree it is a more realistic form of guidance, and it stresses community organization and a chain of command. It releases the POW from the "die-before-you-talk" syndrome that brought so many to personal shame in Vietnam when they were finally broken. (And all of those put to the test who survived were broken.) Returned POWs have a special place in their hearts for Atterberry and each of them knows what happened to Atterberry could have happened to any of them, and in many cases, nearly did. Since the war ended, over 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing, prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S. Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive today. These reports are the source of serious distress to many returned American prisoners. They had a code that no one could honorably return unless all of the prisoners returned. Not only that code of honor, but the honor of our country is at stake as long as even one man remains unjustly held. It's time we brought our men home. Thomas V. Parrott was released from Hanoi on March 14, 1973. He served five and one-half years as a POW. Both Parrott and Atterberry were promoted to the rank of Major during their captivity.
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 V. PARROTT Major - United States Air Force Shot Down: August 12, 1967 Released: March 14, 1973 On behalf of my entire family I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the wonderful people and organizations of this great country of ours that maintained their confidence and support during the trying years of Vietnam. You were a great comfort to my family during my absence and therefore have done me the ultimate service. It was you who made possible the wonderful homecoming reception that I'm sure none of us will ever forget. Let us not forget the tens of thousands of men who served and came home apparently unnoticed and above all let us not forget the thousands of good men who died or were wounded and those that are still MIA. These men are a part of us and we a part of them; we all share alike in the fortunes and misfortunes arising from our service to our country. To the buyers of this book I express my thanks for supporting what I believe is a very good cause. To the men in this book I offer my eternal friendship and express the hope that we will soon meet. Thomas Parrott resided in Georgia with his wife Millie, until his death on October, 16, 1998. Tom suffered for many years with kidney complications (result of captivity) and underwent a transplant before his death. He was buried at Memorial Gardens cemetery in Georgia.