THOMAS, DANIEL WAYNE
Name: Daniel Wayne Thomas
Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force
Unit: 23rd Tactical Aerial Surveillance Squadron
Date of Birth: 04 September 1946
Home City of Record: Danbury IA
Date of Loss: 06 July 1971
Country of Loss: Laos
Loss Coordinates: 144700N 1071700E (YB460352)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
Source: Compiled 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 in 2017.
Other Personnel In Incident: Donald G. Carr (missing)
SYNOPSIS: In 1971, MACV-SOG's Command and Control North, Central and South
were redesignated as Task Force Advisory Elements 1, 2 and 3, respectively.
These titular changes had little initial impact on actual activities. Their
missions were still quite sensitive and highly classified. Each task force
was composed of 244 Special Forces and 780 indigenous commandos, and their
reconnaissance teams remained actively engaged in cross-border intelligence
collection and interdiction operations. The USARV TAG (Training Advisory
Group) supported the USARV Special Missions Advisory Group and was composed
of U.S. Army Special Forces and MACV advisors. SMAG formed at Nha Trang from
former personnel from B-53, the MACV Rcondo School cadre, CCN and CCS to
train the South Vietnamese Special Missions Force teams drawn from LLDB and
On July 6, 1971, U.S. Army Capt. Donald G. "Butch" Carr was aboard an Air
Force OV10A Bronco aircraft flown by U.S. Air Force Lt. Daniel W. Thomas
when the aircraft disappeared 15 miles inside Laos west of Ben Het.
The aircraft had been on a visual reconnaissance mission over central Laos
when it was lost. Thomas' plane was detailed out of the 23rd Tactical Aerial
Surveillance Squadron and bore the tail number of 67-14634.
The Bronco was among the aircraft most feared by the Viet Cong and NVA
forces, because whenever the Bronco appeared overhead, an air strike seemed
certain to follow. Although the glassed-in cabin could become uncomfortably
warm, it provided splendid visibility. The two-man crew had armor protection
and could use machine guns and bombs to attack, as well as rockets to mark
targets for fighter bombers. This versatility enabled the plane to fly armed
reconnaissance missions, in addition to serving as vehicle for forward air
At 1530 hours, Thomas radioed to the Army support facility that he was in
his target area, but that he was unable to observe because of weather
conditions. This was his last known radio contact. Thomas and Carr were due
to depart the area at 1700 hours, and should have radioed then. Search
efforts were conducted through July 10, with no results.
A ground reconnaissance team later reported hearing an impact or explosion
at 1600 hours on July 6 in their vicinity, but they did not report seeing
A source reported that in early July 1971, he had seen an American POW in
that area. The source learned from a guard that the POW was a pilot of an
OV10 that had been downed a week prior. This information was thought to
possibly correlate to either Carr or Thomas.
Carr and Thomas became two of nearly 600 Americans who disappeared in Laos
during the Vietnam War. Although Pathet Lao leaders stressed that they held
"tens of tens" of American prisoners, no American held in Laos was ever
released. In America's haste to leave Southeast Asia, it abandoned some of
its finest men. Since the end of the war, thousands of reports have been
received indicating that hundreds of Americans are still held captive.
In seeming disregard for the Americans either held or having been murdered
by the Pathet Lao, by 1989, the U.S. and the Lao have devised a working plan
for the U.S. to provide Laos with humanitarian and economic aid leading
toward ultimate full diplomatic and trade relations while Laos allows the
excavation of military crash sites at sporadic intervals. In America's haste
to return to Southeast Asia, we are again abandoning our men. What must Carr
and Thomas, should they be among those said to be still alive, be thinking
From: Ford, Jocelyn A TSgt USAF DPAA OPS TASK HI (US) [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 7 March, 2017 17:09
Subject: Remains of Airman Missing From Vietnam War Identified (Thomas)
Remains of U.S. Air Force Reserve Capt. Daniel W. Thomas, missing from the
Vietnam War, has now been identified.
On July 6, 1971, Thomas was the pilot of an OV-10A aircraft with one other
crewmember flying over central Laos in support of an eight man Special
Forces reconnaissance team. When the aircraft arrived in the area, the
weather was bad, however it was determined that this would not affect the
aircraft's mission. Approximately thirty minutes after the last radio
transmission from the OV-10A aircraft the ground team heard an impact or
explosion to their northeast, but could not determine the distance to the
explosion. Extensive search efforts failed to locate the crash site.
After multiple negative attempts to investigate the crash site, in April
2014 a Vietnamese witness provided a photograph of an ID tag associated with
one of the two crewmembers. In August 2014, possible human remains were
approved for repatriation and accessioned. DPAA analysis of aircraft
wreckage and life support items indicated both aircrew members were in the
aircraft at the time of impact. Additionally, through research, analysis,
and DNA testing, the DPAA Laboratory identified the second crewmember, Maj.
Donald Carr, in August 2015.
On April 12, 2016, the DPAA lab received dental remains, ID tag, and other
material evidence from the Vietnamese Office for Seeking Missing Persons,
which was consolidated into accession.
Laboratory analysis and circumstantial evidence were used in the
identification of his remains.
Interment services are pending.
For more information on DPAA please visit our website at www.dpaa.mil, find
us on social media at www.facebook.com/dodpaa or call 703-699-1008.
~Fulfilling Our Nation's Promise~
Jocelyn A. Ford, TSgt, USAF
Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency
808-448-4500 ext. 3159
|NATIONAL LEAGUE OF FAMILIES OF AMERICAN PRISONERS AND
MISSING IN SOUTHEAST ASIA
UPDATE: April 1, 2017
AMERICANS RECENTLY ACCOUNTED FOR:On March 28th, DPAA Statistics listed three USMC personnel as recently accounted for: Captain John A. House of NY, Cpl Glyn L. Runnels, Jr., of AL, and LCpl John D. Killen, II, of IA. All were listed as KIABNR on June 30, 1967, in South Vietnam. Their remains were recovered in June, 2012, and identification was authorized on December 22, 2015. DPAA has not yet published the formal announcement with interment plans. On March 7th, DPAA released an announcement that Captain Daniel W. Thomas, USAFR, listed as MIA on July 6, 1971 in South Vietnam, had been accounted for. Remains were recovered by a Vietnamese Unilateral Recovery Team (URT) in August, 2014, and identified in August, 2015, as those of Major Donald G. Carr, USA, the other person in the OV-10A piloted by Capt Thomas. Subsequent recovery efforts by the URT and repatriation of additional remains and material in April, 2016, brought the more recent ID of Capt Thomas. DPAA also listed on its website, under Statistics, the accounting for Colonel William E. Campbell, USAF, listed as MIA in Laos January 29, 1969. His remains were recovered April 17, 2014, identified August 29, 2016, and his name was placed on the DPAA website as accounted for on March 3rd. On February 22nd, DPAA announced the ID of Capt Robert R. Barnett, USAF, listed as KIA/BNR on April 7, 1966 while piloting a B-57B over Laos. His remains were recovered June 18, 2015 and identified August 16, 2016. Earlier this year, a Marine Corps Reserve officer, 1st Lt William C. Ryan, was the first person since June of 2016 announced as accounted for from the Vietnam War. 1st Lt Ryan was listed KIA/BNR in Laos on May 11, 1969. His remains were recovered January 27, 2016, and identified December 7, 2016.