WILLIAMS, THADDEUS EDWARD JR.
Remains returned/identified 12/22/98
Name: Thaddeus Edward Williams, Jr.
Rank/Branch: O2/US Army
Unit: 20th Aviation Detachment (See note in text)
Date of Birth: 26 February 1943 (Atlanta GA)
Home City of Record: Mobile AL
Loss Date: 09 January 1966
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 125801N 1091600E (CQ120265)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 4
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: OV1C
Refno: 0229
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 1998.
Other Personnel in Incident: James P. Schimberg (missing)
REMARKS:
SYNOPSIS: Thaddeus Williams was the pilot of an OV1C Mohawk flying out of
Hue/Phu Bai Airbase with the 20th Aviation Detachment (later known as the
131st Aviation Company). On January 9, 1966, Williams and his observer,
James P. Schimberg, flew a night reconnaissance mission in South Vietnam..
The last radio contact with Williams's plane was made when the plane was a
short distance southwest of the city of Tuy Hoa in Phu Yen Province. The two
men were listed Missing In Action by the Army. One year and a day later, the
two were listed "KIA" based on no new information that they were alive. Most
of the details of the loss of Schimberg and Williams' aircraft is still
classified (1989).
The OV1C was outfitted with infrared detection equipment and a forward aimed
camera. The infrared sensor was especially valuable in surveillance because
the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong relied so heavily upon darkness to
conceal their activity. The planes were generally unarmed.
Williams is among nearly 2500 Americans who did not come home from Southeast
Asia at the end of the war. Unlike the MIAs of other wars, many of these men
can be accounted for. Tragically, over 8000 reports of Americans still in
captivity in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S., yet freedom for
them seems beyond our grasp.
NOTE: The 20th Aviation Detachment existed until December 1966, at which
time it was reassigned as the 131st Aviation Company, 223rd Aviation
Battalion (Combat Support). The 131st Aviation Company had been assigned to
I Corps Aviation Battalion since June 1966, when it arrived in Vietnam. In
August 1967, the 131st Aviation Company was reassigned to the 212th Aviation
Battalion where it remained until July 1971, whereupon it transferred out of
Vietnam.
There were a large number of pilots lost from this unit, including Thaddeus
E. Williams and James P. Schimberg (January 9, 1966); John M. Nash and Glenn
D. McElroy (March 15, 1966); James W. Gates and John W. Lafayette (April 6,
1966); Robert G. Nopp and Marshall Kipina (July 14, 1966); Jimmy M. Brasher
and Robert E. Pittman (September 28, 1966); James M. Johnstone and James L.
Whited (November 19, 1966); Larry F. Lucas (December 20, 1966); and Jack W.
Brunson and Clinton A. Musil (May 31, 1971). Missing OV1 aircraft crew from
the 20th/131st represent well over half of those lost on OV1 aircraft during
the war.
U.S. Army records list both Nopp and Kipina as part of the "131st Aviation
Company, 14th Aviation Battalion", yet according to "Order of Battle" by
Shelby Stanton, a widely recognized military source, this company was never
assigned to the 14th Aviation Battalion. The 131st was known as
"Nighthawks", and was a surveillance aircraft company.


    No. 198-M
MEMORANDUM FOR CORRESPONDENTS   December 22, 1998
        The remains of three American servicemen previously unaccounted-for
from the war in Southeast Asia have been identified and are being returned
to the United States for burial.  Two are identified as Capt. Thaddeus E.
Williams Jr., Mobile, Ala., and Spc. 4 James P. Schimberg, Cedar Rapids,
Iowa, both U. S. Army.  The name of the third, a U.S. Navy officer lost in
North Vietnam in 1965, is being withheld at the request of his family.
        On Jan. 9, 1966, Williams, with crew member Schimberg, was flying
his OV1-C Mohawk on a night combat surveillance mission over Phu Yen
province, South Vietnam when radio contact was lost at midnight.  He was
forced to fly "dead reckoning" as the navigation system on the aircraft was
inoperable.  Weather in the area was marginal, with dense cloud cover over
the mountains when their last radio contact was heard.  Their aircraft never
returned to home base.  Search attempts discovered no evidence of ei ther
the aircraft or the crew.
        In August 1993 a joint team of specialists from the U.S. Joint Task
Force-Full Accounting and from Vietnam interviewed two Vietnamese informants
in a local village near the suspected crash site.  One of the villagers said
he had recovered bone fragments, two identification tags and Williams'
identification card in 1979.  He recalled that one of the identification
tags contained a name beginning with "S."  The joint team flew an aerial
survey of the suspected crash location, but found no evidence of the loss.
        The following month, one of the informants met with the team again
and presented them with identification tags with both Williams' and
Schimberg's name affixed.  He also turned over the bone fragments he claimed
were those from the crash.
        Anthropological analysis of the remains and other evidence by the
U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory Hawaii established the
identification of both Williams and Schimberg.  Mitochondrial DNA testing
was used to help confirm the identifications.
        With the identification of these three servicemen, the remains of
510 Americans have been accounted for since 1973, and 2,073 are still
unaccounted-for from the war in Southeast Asia.  The U.S. government
welcomes and appreciates the cooperation of the government of the Socialist
Republic of Vietnam that led to the accounting of these servicemen.  We hope
that such cooperation will bring increased results in the future.  Achieving
the fullest possible accounting for these Americans is of the highest
national priority.