HANTON, THOMAS J.
|NAME: Thomas J. Hanton
Rank/Branch: United States Air Force/o3
Date of Birth: 10 Sept 1944
Home City of Record: Santa Monica CA
Date of Loss: 27 June 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam
Loss Coordinates: 210000 North 1043000 East
Status (in 1973): Releasee
Other Personnel in Incident:
Source: Compiled by P.O.W. NETWORK from one or more of the following: raw
data from U.S. Government agency sources, correspondence with POW/MIA
families, published sources, interviews. 2018
REMARKS: 730328 Released by DRV
SOURCE: WE CAME HOME copyright 1977
Captain and Mrs. Frederic A Wyatt (USNR Ret), Barbara Powers Wyatt, Editor
P.O.W. Publications, 10250 Moorpark St., Toluca Lake, CA 91602
Text is reproduced as found in the original publication (including date and
UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO
THOMAS J. HANTON
Captain - United States Air Force
Shot Down: June 27, 1972
Released: March 28, 1973
Before describing my background and personal experience, I would like to thank
all of America for their prayers, concern and support. Regrettably, I cannot
personally thank all those who wore my bracelet and worked so hard for our
honorable return. Everyone's trust in my convictions is heartwarming and
difficult to put into words.
Now, a little about myself: I was born on 10 September 1944 in Santa Monica,
California. As a child, I moved frequently since my father was a career Air
Force officer. In 1967 I received my BA in Economics from California State
College at Long Beach. After graduation, I joined the Air Force and attended
Officer Training School. It was in Sacramento, California, in 1968, while
attending Navigator Training, that I met my wife, Pat, whom I married on 20
September 1969. After Combat Crew Training in the F-4 Phantom, I was assigned
to an operational unit and subsequently stationed at Da Nang Air Base,
Republic of Vietnam. After five months of combat, on 27 June 1972, I was
downed over North Vietnam while on a search and rescue mission.
Many people are quite interested in what it was like in the North Vietnamese
prison camps. The stories in magazines and newspapers are quite true; and, in
some cases, more cruel treatment was put to bear on individuals. As for my own
experience, I was one of the lucky ones who only endured the more subtle means
of harassment. I was a POW during a period of "more" lenient treatment, which
I will qualify by saying, the North Vietnamese DID NOT follow the Geneva
Agreements on treatment of Prisoners of War.
Another frequently asked question is what were the North Vietnamese like. They
proved to me what kind of people they were by threatening us throughout the
last month of our captivity. The ones I came in contact with were basically
cynical, insecure people. There were one or two exceptions, however, who were
a little more humane. All of them were thoroughly communist indoctrinated with
intense desires to dominate Southeast Asia. This tendency is once again
becoming obvious - and, as one of the North Vietnamese officers said to us,
"You will go home, but the war will not be over for us." (What Peace Treaty?)
The countryside is covered by loudspeakers, i.e. 1984, which wake the
populace, give "their" news, and of course put them to sleep at night.
No... you can't turn it off or choose another station or read different points
of view, or even have different points of view - which is what the USA is all
My experience as a POW has made me realize, in more ways than one, how
fortunate I have been. Until one's freedom is completely eliminated, with no
idea of how long such a situation will exist, it is difficult for one to
realize what FREEDOM, with all its ramifications, means. I now have a greater
love and appreciation for my wife, family, freedom and country. My respect,
honor, belief, patriotism, and duty to country is stronger than ever. I have
seen myself from a different perspective and learned a great deal. My
convictions have become more apparent and expanded; giving me a greater
appreciation and understanding of life, love, and freedom.
I feel most fortunate to be an American and to be serving my country. I also
feel fortunate to have sustained only minor injuries and to have been a
prisoner for only nine months, during a period of more lenient treatment of
American captives. I feel that I was doing my job as a professional military
officer and I am ready to serve my country further. My heroes in this
experience are those who have not returned, those POW's who spent years in the
hands of merciless captors, all their families who have suffered so much, and,
of course, those who silently served in Vietnam, receiving little recognition.
To those who have lost faith in America, I respect your right to freedom of
speech, hoping you realize the opportunity to hold different views is one of
the greatest freedoms this country has.
My wife was pregnant when I left for Southeast Asia and gave birth to our
first child, a son, while I was a POW. We plan to continue my military career.
Your interest in my family and me is deeply and sincerely appreciated.
Thomas Hanton retired from the United States Air Force as a Lt. Colonel. He
lives in Virginia. Prior to his retirement, he participated in Operation
Desert Storm and flew combat support missions in the AWACS and EC-130H
"Compass Call," providing battle management. Tom has a distinction of being
airborne when the final bombs were dropped. Tom made the observation,
"After the Vietnam experience of having our hands ties by politicians, it
was a nice experience to use all the strategic and tactical planning skills
from previous experience during Desert Storm."
Obituary for Margot Raven
Margot Theis Raven was born in Indianapolis, IN on August 30, 1950 and died in Mt. Pleasant, SC on August 16, 2014. She was the oldest daughter of Bob Theis, Sr., and the late Peggy Theis of Vero Beach, FL. She is survived by her husband, Tom Hanton, her three siblings; Bob Theis, Jr., Peggy Smith, and Nancy Weed and four adult children; Scott, Bryan, and twins Ashley and Mike Raven.
Margot was an accomplished fine art painter and a national award-winning author with ten published books.
While living in the Boston area during the mid-90s, Margot re-embraced her early love of painting by studying at Boston’s celebrated De Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park. At the De Cordova, Margot was highly influenced by classic approaches to oil painting and pastels as well as by the unique color theories originated by Germany’s famous Bauhaus school. “I don’t want a painting to tell the viewer what he can see for himself. I strive to unleash what the viewer senses deep inside about a subject so the truth of the subject -- its story -- is unveiled,” she once related.
Margot was a member of the Charleston Artist Guild with her paintings being represented by several Charleston and Alexandria, VA art galleries. She was also honored to sit on the board of the Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art (San Antonio), which annually showcases the International Masters of Fine Art Invitational Exhibit.
As a national award-winning author, Margot’s long professional career included writing in the fields of radio, television, magazine, newspapers, and children’s books. She has more than 1,000 published articles to her name, and ten published children’s picture books. Her last book, “RAGS – Hero Dog of WWI,” was just released on August 2, 2014.
Margot’s children’s books are unique, bridging generations of readers through the belief that the worst of times can bring out the best in people. Often set against powerful backdrops such as World War I or America’s civil rights period, her books tell stories of history and capture moving moments in the lives of real people – often quiet ones – who become inspirational heroes by their example.
Her national awards include:
* The prestigious International Reading Association’s Teacher’s Choice and Children’s Choice Awards;
* A First Place for the 2002 Midwest Children’s Literature Book Award;
* A Storytelling World Honor Award;
* The Martin Luther King Living the Dream Award;
* The Fielder Freedom Award;
* A Children’s Crown Honor Book Award;
* A select nomination for the James Madison Book Award, which recognizes excellence in knowledge and understanding of American History.
Margot will be deeply missed by her close family and many nationwide friends.
Family and friends are invited to attend her Liturgy of Christian Burial Mass 11:00AM, Tuesday, August 19, 2014 at the St. Benedict Catholic Church, 950 Darrell Creek Trail, Mt. Pleasant, SC. Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA at a later date.
In Lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, PO Box 204, Norwood, NJ 07648 or online www.tnbcfoundation.org
Arrangements are being handled by McAlister-Smith Funeral Home's, Mt Pleasant Chapel.
On-line condolences may be sent to the family at www.mcalister-smith.com
Margot's service will be on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 8:45 AM (be there by
8:15) in the Old Post Chapel (the small one) on Ft. Myer, VA.