HAMILTON, JOHN S.
Remains returned 10/97
Name: John S. Hamilton
Rank/Branch: USAF, O4
Unit: 602nd Fighter Squadron
Date of Birth: 03 September 26
Home City of Record: Silver City, NM
Date of Loss: 19 April 67
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 204200N 1053200E
Status (in 1973): Missing in Action
Acft/Vehicle/Ground: A1E, Skyraider
Remarks: No chute seen or beeper heard.
Other Personnel In Incident:
Source: Compiled by THE P.O.W. NETWORK 02 February 1993 from the
following published sources - POW/MIA's -- Report of the Select Committee
on POW/MIA Affairs United States Senate -- January 13, 1993. "The Senate
Select Committee staff has prepared case summaries for the priority cases
that the Administration is now investigating. These provide the facts about
each case, describe the circumstances under which the individual was lost,
and detail the information learned since the date of loss. Information in
the case summaries is limited to information from casualty files, does not
include any judgments by Committee staff, and attempts to relate essential
facts. The Committee acknowledges that POW/MIAs' primary next-of- kin know
their family members' cases in more comprehensive detail than summarized
here and recognizes the limitations that the report format imposes on these
summaries." Updated in 1998 with articles from the Las Cruces, New Mexico,
Sun News. 2020
Synopsis: On April 19, 1967, Major Hamilton was the pilot of an A-1E, one in
a flight of two aircraft searching for two pilots downed over North Vietnam.
While over Hoa Binh Province, Hamilton was attacked by four hostile MIG-17
aircraft, and his wingman observed pieces of his aircraft's outer wing fly
off after it was hit by cannon fire. His aircraft crashed 24 kilometers
southeast of Hoa Binh City. Major Hamilton was not seen ejecting from his
aircraft and there was no electronic beeper heard. He was declared missing
On April 19th, that same day, Hanoi radio reported the shoot down of an
American rescue aircraft over Hoa Binh Province. This report, while not
mentioning the fate of the pilot, was believed to correlate to Major
Hamilton's incident of loss.
In September 1970, a People's Army of Vietnam soldier reported two caucasian
pilots captured in Lac Thuy District in April 1968 after being shot down in
aerial combat with MIG jet aircraft. The soldier identified a photograph of
Major Hamilton as similar to one of those captured, and the report was
placed in Major Hamilton's file as possibly relating to his capture. After
Operation Homecoming, a reevaluation of this report led to a reversal of the
wartime evaluation. It was determined that this incident actually
correlated to Major Thomas Madison and Major Thomas Sterling who had been
lost as described and who returned alive during Operation Homecoming.
Returning U.S. POWs had no information on Hamilton's precise fate. In March
1979, he was declared killed in action/body not recovered based on a
presumptive finding of death.
In January 1991, a report was received about a grave with the remains of a
U.S. pilot in the area where Major Hamilton was lost. Then, in May 1991, a
source provided the rubbing of a dog-tag associated with Major Hamilton and
a bone fragment and claimed that remains were recovered from an area near
Vinh City, Nghe Tinh Province. This is a considerable distance away from
his known crash site. In October 1991, another source visited the Joint
Task Force office in Hanoi and turned over a bone fragment and identifying
information about Major Hamilton. The source claimed his friend found Major
Hamilton's remains at another location, this time in Quang Binh Province.
LAS CRUCES SUN NEWS
October 26, 1997
Remains of pilot killed In Vietnam returned home
By Shawn Ankrom
FORT BAYARD - One of Grant County's native sons, lost in the Vietnam War,
Will come home to a final resting place this week.
Col. John S. "Jack" Hamilton, U.S. Air Force, will be buried with full
military honors in Fort Bayard National Cemetery at 11 a.m. Friday.....
LAS CRUCES SUN NEWS
November 2, 1997
Missing in Vietnam for 30 years,
Air Force pilot is laid to rest
By Kathy Sykes Howell
FORT BAYARD - ft was a cloudless blue sky Friday morning - the type of Now
Mexico sky that goes on forever. Against that sky flow U.S. Air Force F-4F
fighter jets in the missing man formation, with the lonely sound of tape
piercing the silence in the Fort Bayard National Cemetery. It was an
occasion tinged with tears and triumph as a long overdue funeral service was
conducted for a Vietnam War era pilot coming home tot the very last time....