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Name: Tommy Leon Callies
Rank/Branch: O3/US Air Force
Date of Birth: 31 May 1943
Home City of Record: Howard SD
Date of Loss: 01 August 1969
Country of Loss: South Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 145936N 1082847E (BS281589)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F4E
REFNO: 1474

Other Personnel In Incident: Douglas G. Burd (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.


SYNOPSIS: On August 1, 1969, just four years after he graduated from the Air
Force Academy, Capt. Tommy Callies found himself in the Vietnam war as the
pilot of an F4E Phantom fighter/bomber jet. On this day, 1LT Douglas Burd
was his back-seater, having charge of navigation and bombing. It was
Callies' dream to become a career pilot, and he and Burd were flying one of
the most exciting aircraft of the time.

The Phantom, used by Air Force, Marine and Navy air wings, served a
multitude of functions including fighter-bomber and interceptor, photo and
electronic surveillance. The two man aircraft was extremely fast (Mach 2),
and had a long range (900 - 2300 miles, depending on stores and mission
type). The F4 was also extremely maneuverable and handled well at low and
high altitudes. The F4 was selected for a number of state-of-the-art
electronics conversions, which improved radar intercept and computer bombing
capabilities enormously. Most pilots considered it one of the "hottest"
planes around. It was equipped with Skyspot radar, which helped ground radar
track the plane.

When the Phantom flown by Callies was in Quang Ngai Province, South Vietnam,
just about 25 miles southwest of the city of Quang Ngai, the Skyspot was put
to test. The plane was shot down.

Observers feel that Tommy Callies and Doug Burd died in the crash of their
plane, and circumstances surrounding the area of crash indicate a very good
chance the enemy knew what happened to them. The two are on the rolls of the
missing because their bodies are in enemy hands.

For the nearly 2400 other Americans unaccounted for, simple explanations are
not so easy. Experts now believe that hundreds of Americans are still alive,
held captive by a long-ago enemy. While Callies and Burd are not, evidently,
among this number, one can imagine their willingness to fly one more mission
for their missing comrades. Why have 15 years gone by without our bringing
these men home?


The Los Angeles Times
Saturday, December 27, 1997

Issue of MIAs in Vietnam Losing Steam
By DAVID LAMB, Times Staff Writer

DA NANG, Vietnam--On the official records, it's Case No. 1474: two American
pilots--a captain and a lieutenant--shot down on a bombing run over the
jungles of Vietnam in 1969.....


Subject: Callies Update
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2001 13:29:03 -0800 (PST)
From: larry Mayes

Latest from AFMPC is attached...while it doesn't end the mystery, it brings
up to date...thanks again for your help.  Larry


From: Frampton William R Civ AFPC/DPWCM
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 8:15 AM
To: 'Larry Mayes'
Subject: FW: Tommy Leon Callies

Col Mayes,

Ref your e-mail below.  It was forwarded to me for response.

The case of Capt Callies has been investigated a few times since your last
visit to our office.

1993:  During this Joint Field Activity, an investigative team interviewed
four witnesses who provided informatin concerning the shoot down of a jet
aircraft.  Witness accounts, although sketchy, were generally consistent
with the facts of this case.  The team was led to a crash site, conducted a
surface search and found only a few small pieces of aluminum and fiberglass.
No remains or personal effects were found.  This site had been extensively
scavenged since the incident occurred.  Analysis of the material evidence
found at the site were insufficient to establish a correlation to Capt
Callies incident.

1995:  During this Joint Field Activity, an investigative team interviewed
three witnesses.  One of these individuals led the team to an alleged crash
site which the team surveyed.  No remains or personal effects were found.
Although the team found physical evidence of an aircraft crash site they did
not find of remains near the crash site or on the hillsisde below the site.

1997:  During this Joint Field Activity, an investigative team surveyed a
reported crash site, recovering several pieces of possible aircraft
wreckage.  The team did not recover or receive remains or personal effects
during this investigation.  Analyst comments:  The amount of wreckage
indicates an aircraft crash site, however, the wreckage could not be
correlated to Capt Callies, while the team was on location.  A joint team
would have to excavate the site to obtain sufficient material evidence to
correlate the crash site.  The likelihood of recovering remains is unknown.
Recommendation:  Excavate.  Analysis of the items recovered at this site are
sufficient to establish a probable correlation to the aircraft involved in
Capt Callies incident.

1997:  During this Joint Field Activity, an excavation team excavated a
total of 476 square meters  to culturally sterile soil.  The team recovered
no human remains from the project area.  The team recovered one personal
effect (broken rusty pocket knife) and several pieces of life support
materials.  Preliminary field analysis indicates that at least one
ivdividual was in the aircraft at the time of the incident.  JTF-FA analysis
indicates the items recovered correlate to a F-4 aircraft incident, but are
insufficient to establish an exclusive correlation to Capt Callies' specific
aircraft.  And the presence of three survival kit drop line storage flutes
indicates two individuals were in the aircraft at impact.  JTF-FA files
indicate there are two F-4 crash sites within 15 kilometers of this
excavation site.  This site was excavated to it's limits and was closed by
the anthropologist on 20 Aug 97.

We have not received any additional information pertaining to the case of
Capt Callies.


William R.Frampton
Senior Liaison Officer
Missing Persons Branch

Privacy Act - 1974 as amended applies--This memo may contain information
which must be protected IAW DOD 5400.11R, and is For Official Use Only


-----Original Message-----
From: Larry Mayes
Sent: Friday, March 02, 2001 9:27 AM
Subject: Tommy Leon Callies

I am retired AF Colonel Lawrence R. Mayes, SSAN xxx-xx-xxxx.  Over the past
two decades I have visited your office on several occasions to check on
latest status on Tommy Leon Callies, shot down in 1969 in South Viet Nam.
My last visit was in 1991 or 1992.  I believe the Central Identification Lab
Hawaii (CILHI) has visited the crash site since my last visit to you, under
the JTF Full Accounting umbrella. I was an 8th Aerial Port Officer in 1970
-- ... I would just like to know the latest on his case.  I am only curious
for my own benefit....

Hope you can help...thanks.

Larry Mayes, Colonel, USAF (Retired)

Subject: Re: Photo of Tommy Callies on powernetwork
Date: Sun, 17 May 2020 18:32:24 +0000
From: jim white <>
I flew with Tommy for 6 months in 1968 and we were friends.

Tommy didn’t “find himself” flying an F4 out of DaNang, he was purposefully
there after his first tour in the back seat at 8TFW.  Ubon. He didn’t aspire
to being a career pilot, he aspired to being a career USAF pilot, including
a tour in the Thunderbirds.  His  “skyspot” transmitter had nothing to do
with being shot down. While I can’t find an official record of his mission
that day (which only says it was a strike mission), as I recall he was flying
in close support of troops and was hit at low altitude. If you have any
information contrary to my recollection, please provide a source

His official AF photo as a Captain would be much better representation
than the AF Academy yearbook photo.


Jim White

Major USAF Ret.  


{source of photo unknown}




Return to Service Member Profiles

On August 1, 1969, an F-4E Phantom II (tail number 67-0323) with a crew of two took off from Da Nang Airbase, South Vietnam, on a strike mission against a target southwest of Chu Lai. Shortly after dropping its ordnance over the target area, this Phantom was seen to crash into a small hill just beyond the target in the vicinity of Grid Coordinates BS 281 589. No parachutes were observed and no radio messages or rescue beeper signals were received. An immediate search was initiated and continued throughout the night without success. On August 3, a Special Forces unit attempted to reach the crash site but was forced to withdraw due to enemy forces in the area. No further ground searches were conducted. Further aerial search efforts were also unsuccessful. The aircraft and its crew remain unaccounted for.

Captain Tommy Leon Callies entered the U.S. Air Force from South Dakota and was a member of the 421st Tactical Fighter Squadron. He was the pilot of this Phantom II when it crashed, and he was lost with the aircraft. His remains were not recovered. Today, Captain Callies is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Active Pursuit.

If you are a family member of this serviceman, DPAA can provide you with additional information and analysis of your case. Please contact your casualty office representative.

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