CLEM, THOMAS DEAN
Name: Thomas Dean Clem
Rank/Branch: 02/USMC Reserve
Unit: Marine Aircraft Group 12, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing.
Date of Birth: 31 May 1942
Home City of Record: New Paris, IN (born Goshen, IN)
Date of Loss: 3 May 1968
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: N164658 E1070157
Status (in 1973): Killed in Action/Body not Recovered
Other Personnel in Incident: Avery, Robert D., missing
Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project and the P.O.W. NETWORK 2 April
1992 from one or more of the following: raw data from U.S. Government
agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA families, published sources,
interviews and the Senate Select Committee Hearing Report. 2020
SYNOPSIS: Captain Clem was the pilot of the A6A aircraft that failed to
return from a mission over North Vietnam.
Since the war ended, the Defense Department has received over 10,000
reports relating to the men still unaccounted for in Southeast Asia, yet
concludes that no actionable evidence has been received that would
indicate Americans are still alive in Southeast Asia. A recent Senate
investigation indicates that most of these reports were dismissed
without just cause, and that there is every indication that Americans
remained in captivity far after the war ended, and may be alive today.
Senate Select Committee Report:
North Vietnam Robert D. Avery
Thomas D. Clem
On May 3, 1968, Avery and Clem were the crew in an A-6A on an armed
reconnaissance mission over North Vietnam providing support to U.S.
Air Force operations along Route Package 1. Radar contact was lost
with the aircraft when it was approximately 10 kilometers northwest
of the coastal town of Dong Hoi and six kilometers southeast of the
district seat of Bo Trach in Quang Binh Province. SAR forces were
unable to locate any sign of the crew which was declared missing.
Returning U.S. POWs were unable to provide any information on the
eventual fate of the crew. After Operation Homecoming they were
declared killed in action, body not recovered, based on a
presumptive finding of death.
In January 1991, a U.S. team in Vietnam visited Bo Trach District
and reviewed archival documents. One document listed the downing
of an A-6A on May 3, 1968 in which both crewmen died. In July
1991, U.S. researchers at the Military Region IV museum in Vinh
City obtained access to an archival list of gravesites of Americans
who died there during the war. One entry listed Robert D. Avery as
buried in Quang Ninh District from an F-105 downed on April 15,
1968. In January 1992, a Region IV air defense record listed an A-
6A downed on May 3, 1968 with both crewmen dead. In December 1992,
a copy of the list of burial sites was turned over by Vietnam to
Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on