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
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 2020.
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
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
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.