THOMAS, WILLIAM EDWIN JR.

Name: William Edwin Thomas, Jr.
Rank/Branch: W2/US Marine Corps  20th TASS TDY USMC
Unit: Sub Unit 1, 1st Anglico
Date of Birth: 22 July 1936
Home City of Record: Pittsburg PA
Date of Loss: 19 May 1972
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 164400N 1071800E (YD465527)
Status (in 1973): Released POW
Category:
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: OV10A

Other Personnel in Incident: David P. Mott (released POW)

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.
NETWORK.

REMARKS: 730328 RELSD BY PRG

SYNOPSIS: The OV10 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 controllers.

Capt. David P. Mott and Chief Warrant Officer William E. Thomas, Jr. were
the crew of an OV10A aircraft sent on a combat mission over South Vietnam on
May 19, 1972. During the mission, the aircraft was shot down a few miles
from Quang Tri city in Quang Tri Province, South Vietnam. Both Mott and
Thomas, unknown to U.S. authorities, were captured by the Vietnamese and
taken to Hanoi.

For the next 11 months, Thomas and Mott were "guests" in the Hanoi prison
system. They were officially prisoners of the Viet Cong, but were held in
North Vietnam. On March 28, the two were released in Operation Homecoming,
during which 591 Americans were released by the Vietnamese.

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.



William Thomas retired from the United States Marine Corps as a CWO-4. He
and his wife Emilia reside in Hawaii.