Remains Identified 04/06/2001
Announced 06/03/2002

Name: Thomas Edward Heideman
Branch/Rank: United States Air Force/E7
Date of Birth: 08 June 1933
Home City of Record: CHICAGO IL
Date of Loss: 24 October 1970
Country of Loss: LAOS
Loss Coordinates: 173958 North  1054000 East
Status (in 1973): Killed In Action/Body Not Recovered
Category: 2
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: CH3C #13287
Other Personnel in Incident:
Refno: 1670

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 and CACCF = Combined Action
Combat Casualty File. Updated 2020.



Married, 5 children
Wife deceased, son deceased

USAF Helicopter Crew Losses - Vietnam War
Compiled by Jim Henthorn, Former Sgt., 21 st SOS

Tail No: 66-13287 Model: CH-3E Date of Loss: 24 Oct 70 Unit: 21st SOS,
56th SOW Country of Loss: Laos Call Sign: Knife 33

Pilot: Craig B. Schiele (06W-19)
Flight Engineer: Thomas E. Heideman (06W-19)

Notes: The helicopter was in a flight of two extracting indigenous
personnel from a hill top LZ. The helicopter picked up 11 personnel and
as the aircraft lifted off, it turned and fell into trees 200 meters
from the LZ. A short time later, the other helicopter picked up 8
indigenous personnel who said the entire crew of the helicopter was
dead; however, 20 minutes later, radio contact was made with the
survivors and they, along with the body of the pilot were recovered.

No further information available at this time.


NEWS RELEASE from the United States Department of Defense

No. 281-02
June 3, 2002


The remains of two U.S. Air Force servicemen killed in action during the
Vietnam War have been identified and are being returned home to their
families.  They are Master Sgt. Thomas E. Heideman and Capt. Craig B.
Schiele, both of Chicago.

On Oct. 24, 1970, Heideman and Schiele were crewmembers of a CH-3E
helicopter as the lead of a two-ship formation on a mission to extract
friendly forces from Laos.  Shortly after takeoff, the helicopter crashed
into nearby dense jungle.  Eight Laotians and two American servicemen were
rescued.  A rescue mission was continued the next morning, but there was no
evidence of survivors.  The only body recovered from the crash site at that
time was later identified as the pilot, Capt. Schiele, who was subsequently
buried in Bartlesville, Okla.

On Dec. 14, 1994, a U.S. - Lao team, led by Joint Task Force-Full
Accounting, conducted an investigation at the crash site in the Laotian
province of Khammouan.  Material from the recovered wreckage included
aircraft debris and personal artifacts but no human remains.

In the spring of 1995, a second joint team excavated the crash site and
recovered human remains and additional personal affects that were submitted
to the U.S. Army Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii (CILHI).  By
compiling eyewitness accounts and other physical evidence such as personal
artifacts and the human remains, the forensic scientists at CILHI identified
the remains as those of Schiele and Heideman.

A group burial with full military honors for these two servicemen will be
conducted June 7 at Arlington National Cemetery.


NETWORK NOTE: - Schiele was NOT noted as a POW/MIA - but in the CACCF
(Combined Action Combat Casualty File), he IS noted as BODY RECOVERED!

MILITARY SERVICE                         AIR FORCE
COUNTRY OF CASUALTY                      LAOS
REFERENCE NUMBER                             9
DATE RECORD PROCESSED                    OCT 70
RANK                                     CAPT
PAY GRADE                                O3
CASUALTY DATE                            10/24/70
HOME OF RECORD                           STEUBENVILLE, OHIO
SERVICE OCCUPATION CODE                      *
DATE OF BIRTH                            08/09/43
CAUSE                                    AIRCRAFT LOSS/CRASH NOT AT SEA
AIR / NO AIR                             HELICOPTER AIR CASUALTY - PILOT
RACE                                     CAUCASIAN
RELIGION                                 PRESBYTERIAN
MARTIAL STATUS                           MARRIED
SEX                                      MALE
US CITIZEN                               YES
POSTHUMOUS PROMOTION                     NO
DATE TOUR IN SE ASIA BEGAN               01/10/70
LAST RECORD                              LAST RECORD
BODY RECOVERED                           YES
AGE                                      27
COMPONENT                                REGULAR
PROVINCE                                 NO ENTRY




 S.C. family to attend dual funeral
 Associated Press

 COLUMBIA - An S.C. family will bury the remains of a U.S. soldier killed in
 Vietnam that the Defense Department says are those of Air Force Master Sgt.
 Thomas Heideman....





Return to Service Member Profiles

On April 6, 2001, Joint Task Force-Full Accounting (JTF-FA, now DPAA) identified the remains of Master Sergeant Thomas Edward Heideman, missing from the Vietnam War.

Master Sergeant Heideman joined the U.S. Air Force from Illinois and was a member of the 21st Special Operations Squadron. On October 24, 1970, he was a flight engineer aboard a CH-3E Sea King on a recovery mission to Laos. The Sea King crashed after taking off from its landing zone in Khammouan Province, Laos, and MSgt Heideman was killed in the incident. Search and rescue teams dispatched to the area failed to locate MSgt Heideman's remains at the time. In 1995, a joint U.S. and Laotian search team recovered remains from the Sea King's crash site that were eventually identified as those of MSgt Heideman.

Master Sergeant Heideman is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. 

If you are a family member of this serviceman, you may contact your casualty office representative to learn more about your service member.