AMOS, THOMAS HUGH Remains Identified and accepted 11/03/99
Name: Thomas Hugh Amos Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force Unit: Date of Birth: 25 September 1940 Home City of Record: Republic MO Date of Loss: 20 April 1972 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 152900N 1073100E (YC699138) Status (in 1973): Missing in Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: AC130 Refno: 1831 Other Personnel In Incident: Mason I. Burnham (missing)
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 June 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 1999.
SYNOPSIS: Lockheed's versatile C130 aircraft filled many roles in Vietnam, including transport, tanker, gunship, drone controller, airborne battlefield command and control center, weather reconnaissance, electronic reconnaissance, and search, rescue and recovery.
The AC130, outfitted as a gunship, was the most spectacular of the modified C130's. These ships pierced the darkness using searchlights, flares, night observation devices that intensified natural light, and a variety of electronic sensors such as radar, infared equipment and even low-level television. On some models, a computer automatically translated sensor data into instructions for the pilot, who kept his fixed, side-firing guns trained on target by adjusting the angle of bank as he circled. The crew of these planes were, therefore, highly trained and capable. They were highly desirable "captures" for the enemy because of their technical knowledge.
Captains Thomas H. Amos and Mason I. Burnham were pilot and co-pilot of an AC130 on a mission near the border of South Vietnam and Laos on April 20, 1973 when their plane was shot down by enemy fire. Because there existed the possibility that the two safely ejected the aircraft, they were declared missing in action. The fate of the rest of the crew (some 8-12 men) is not indicated in public records. The aircraft went down in Quang Tin Province, about halfway between Ben Giang, South Vietnam and Chavane, Laos.
[NOTE: 1999 update: Some records, and Burnham's widow indicate that Amos and Burnham were the crew of an F-4 (#0602) on support mission for the C-130, not in the C-130 itself.]
The Defense Intelligence Agency further expanded Amos' and Burnham's classification to include an enemy knowledge ranking of 2. Category 2 indicates "suspect knowledge" and includes personnel who may have been involved in loss incidents with individuals reported in Category 1 (confirmed knowledge), or who were lost in areas or under conditions that they may reasonably be expected to be known by the enemy; who were connected with an incident which was discussed but not identified by names in enemy news media; or identified (by elimination, but not 100% positively) through analysis of all-source intelligence.
When the war in Vietnam ended, and 591 American Prisoners of War were released, Amos and Burnham were not among them. As time passed, reports amassed, to a current number of over 10,000. Many authorities who have reviewed this largely-classified information have concluded that hundreds of Americans are still alive in captivity today.
The United States Government seems unable to decide whether or not men are still alive in captivity in Southeast Asia, preferring the less controversial (and less liable) position of operating "under the assumption that one or more" are alive.
Whether Thomas Amos and Mason Burnham survived the crash of their aircraft to be captured has never been determined. Whether they are among those thought to be still alive is uncertain. What is clear, however, is that if there is even one American being held against his will in Southeast Asia, we have a legal and moral responsibility to do everything possible to bring him home.
------------------------------- From - Tue Nov 09 12:29:49 1999 From: "Rusty" <email@example.com> Subject: re: Thomas H. Amos
I have information of a MIA, whose bracelet I have been wearing, and now returned. Maj (capt) Thomas. H. Amos's remains have been located, and his funeral was held in Springfield Missouri, Nov 6, 1999 with full military honors. I returned my bracelet to his daughter and she was glad to have it back and know that someone had not forgotten about him. She also informed me that the synopsis of his shoot down were inaccurate. He way flying a F-4D Phantom II with his back seater, Mason I. Burnham and crashed into the side of a mountain while escorting a AC-130A gunship on a mission over the Laos/SVN boarder.
Maj. Amos's daughter told me that the dog tags and a leg bone were ID's as her fathers, and the remaining remains will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC next spring.
------------------------------- From - Sat Nov 06 15:18:09 1999
... I thought you might like to see the write-up sent to the National League of Families office by Pat Amos Dunlap and her husband, Frank, regarding the ID on Major Tom Amos, USAF, one of the 7 Americans whose names have not yet been announced by DOD, but likely will be today, November 3rd. Pat is the League's OK Coordinator. ... Pat and Frank were very complimentary about the efforts made by CILHI, JTF and USAF personnel, how hard they worked to obtain a successful ID and what it means to their family....
Here is the info sent to the Springfield, Missouri newspaper:
THOMAS HUGH AMOS former Springfield Aviator, son of Dr James Amos, former Springfield, Greene County Health Officer and Missouri State Health Officer, who was lost in Vietnam during April 1972 and carried as Missing In Action (MIA) for many years, will finally be returned for burial)
Thomas Hugh Amos was born on September 25, 1940 in Fulton, Missouri. Tom was the third child of Dr. James Roy and Marie Mulcare Amos. He attended Helias High School in Jefferson City, Missouri for three years and was graduated from Parkview High School, May 1958, in Springfield, Missouri. Tom was graduated from Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, August 1963, with a BA degree in Biology.
Tom married Virginia A. "Ginny" Johnson in Springfield, Missouri on June 23, 1962. Tom and Ginny had two children. Julie Ann Amos was born in Enid, Oklahoma on March 26, 1965 and James William Amos was born in England on May 30, 1967.
Tom joined the Air Force in November 1963 and attended Officer Training School in San Antonio, Texas. He received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in February 1964. He entered Pilot Training during February 1964 at Vance AFB, Enid, Oklahoma. He completed Pilot Training in March 1965 where he receiving his Pilot rating and wings.
After pilot training, Tom was assigned to Davis Montham AFB, Arizona for check out in the F-4, Phantom, and a top of the line fighter-bomber. Tom had assignments at MacDill AFB, Florida then to Okinawa for several months prior to assignment in Thailand where he was flying combat missions in Vietnam from February to August of 1966. It was during this tour that Tom earned The Distinguished Flying Cross, one of the highest decorations awarded to flyers. On April 26, 1966, Tom's aircraft was part of a four-ship formation providing cover for friendly aircraft making bombing runs deep within enemy territory. His aircraft was severely damaged by hostile fire and he was able to guide his crippled aircraft away from enemy territory to a safe recovery.
In October 1966, he was reassigned to RAF Station Bentwaters, England where he stayed for nearly three years. During this tour, he was upgraded to aircraft commander in the F-4C aircraft. In August 1969 he was reassigned to Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina. While at this assignment he was upgraded to an instructor pilot and flight examiner. In late March of 1972 Tom was sent to Korea as part of a military build up. Three weeks later he was flying combat missions in Vietnam.
Tom was flying a night combat mission on April 20, 1972 when his plane went down in action with the enemy, near the Laos boarder. The following morning, Dr James R. Amos received a call from the Air Force advising him of Tom's situation. Search efforts in the crash area failed to establish any results.
Initially, Tom was listed as Missing in Action (MIA). His status was later changed to presumed Killed in Action (KIA). Tom was promoted to the grade of Major posthumously. After 21 years, two local natives found the crash site in a mountainous region in Laos and recovered some remains and dog tags in 1993. Additional remains were recovered during three excavations conducted by a joint U.S. and Laos military teams in 1998. During the summer of 1999 the Air Force announced that a positive DNA match had been made on remains recovered from Tom crash site.
His mother, Mrs. Marie Amos of Lebanon, Missouri; his daughter, Julie Ashurst of Springfield, Missouri and a son, James Amos of St. Paul, Minnesota, survive Tom. He has two grandchildren; Robert Ashurst and Samantha Ashurst of Springfield, Missouri. He has three sisters; Mrs. Pat Dunlap of Edmond, Oklahoma, Mrs. Jill Mitchell of Crane, Missouri and Mrs. Debbie Schirber of Stillwell, Minnesota.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, November 6th at 10 AM at St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield, Missouri. Burial will be at St. Mary's Cemetery next to his wife, Ginny.
Frank and Pat Dunlap