HAMM, JAMES EDWARD Name: James Edward Hamm Rank/Branch: O2/US Air Force Unit: 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Da Nang Airbase Date of Birth: 04 May 1943 Home City of Record: Longmont CO Date of Loss: 14 March 1968 Country of Loss: South Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 161800N 1072200E (YD547037) Status (in 1973): Missing In Action Category: 2 Acft/Vehicle/Ground: F4D Refno: 1086 Other Personnel in Incident: (backseater rescued) 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. REMARKS: SYNOPSIS: Jim Hamm was always finding room for another model airplane to hang from the ceiling of his room as a kid. When he went to college, he studied aeronautics and joined the Air Force ROTC. Eventually, he received his wings and trained to fly the most exciting fighter jet of the day -- the F4 Phantom. When Jim was shipped to Vietnam, he was assigned to the 390th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Da Nang airbase in South Vietnam. On March 14, 1968, Jim and his aircraft commander were sent on a close-air support mission to assist in diversionary fire for a helicopter evacuation about 18 miles southwest of the city of Hue where the 304th North Vietnamese regiment was active. Hamm made three low altitude runs over the hostile forces that morning. On his fourth run, his plane was hit and caught fire. His backseater ejected and landed in a valley with an injured leg, and Hamm landed some distance away. Radio contact was established and rescue attempts made in spite of heavy ground fire. One rescue helicopter crashed and another was called away. The crew of the crashed helicopter was safely recovered. The injured backseater was finally rescued and hospitalized for treatment. During this period, Jim directed air strikes against the enemy in an attempt to secure the area, although the enemy was extremely close. For this action he was awarded the Silver Star. Later in the day, radio contact was lost, and no further information was received from Jim. Later analysis indicated that, because of Hamm's isolated position in the center of enemy activity, he may have been captured. Certainly the enemy knows his fate. Like nearly 2500 other Americans, his fate is uncertain. Reports received since the war ended indicate that many are still captive, waiting for their country to bring them home. One of them could be Jim. Near Jim Hamm's home town of Longmont, Colorado, there is a peaceful place where friends and family sometimes go to think and wonder about that day in March 1968, when Jim was last seen. The pond there has a plaque to let all who wander there know it's Jim's Pond. One day, maybe he'll see it.