LATENDRESSE, THOMAS B. Name: Thomas B. Latendresse Rank/Branch: O3/United States Navy Unit: Date of Birth: 06 October 1943 Home City of Record: Yakima WA Date of Loss: 27 May 1972 Country of Loss: North Vietnam Loss Coordinates: 182700 North 1054800 East Status (in 1973): Returnee Category: Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: A4F Missions: Other Personnel in Incident:none 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. 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 spelling errors). UPDATE - 09/95 by the P.O.W. NETWORK, Skidmore, MO THOMAS B. LATENDRESSE Lieutenant Commander- United States Navy Shot Down: May 27, 1972 Released: March 28, 1973 I was born in Yakima, a small town in central Washington, 6 October 1943. I was raised in Yakima with a younger brother and sister and attended a Catholic grade and high school. I became interested in flying while in high school and fell in love with it, and a girl named Nancy Miller, by the time I was in college. After completing my second year of college I joined the Navy and became a Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD). After 18 months of training ranging from Pensacola, Florida to Corpus Christi, Texas, I was designated a Naval Aviator on 15 February 1965, and was sent to an A-1 (AD) "Skyraider" squadron in Alameda, California. Prior to arriving in Alameda, I married the love of my life, Nancy. After two combat cruises with VAW-13 in Southeast Asia, I was reassigned to shore duty as a flight instructor in Beeville, Texas (VT-26). In October 1969 I was released from the Navy and Nancy, my now three sons, and I went to Minneapolis. I then went to work as a pilot for Northwest Airlines. In June 1970 I returned to active duty and was sent to Lemoore, California for training in the A-4 "Skyhawk." In December 1970 I joined Attack Squadron 55 already in the Western Pacific and I completed the cruise with the squadron. At the end of the cruise I returned to Lemoore to my family and a sudden addition of a daughter. In January 1972 the squadron redeployed again on another combat cruise. On 27 May 1972 I was leading a two plane SAM suppression mission for a large strike over North Vietnam and was shot down by anti-aircraft fire. I was injured very badly upon ejection. After being transported to Hanoi, the treatment I received for my extensive wounds was extremely inadequate to non-existent. On 28 March 1973, I was released to United States authorities and flown to Clark A.F.B. I was assigned to Oakland Naval Hospital for 11 months for treatment of my injuries; and I am now a student at the Naval Post Graduate School, Monterey, California. While a POW I never lost faith in the people or government of this beautiful country of OURS, or in my God. The welcome home we all received and the sincere and beautiful expressions of concern for me and my family assures me that my faith was more than well-founded. I would like to thank each and every one in the United States, but it's impossible ... so, from the bottom of my heart, "THANKS AND GOD BLESS YOU. " ========================== Thomas Latendresse retired from the United States Navy as a Captain. He and his wife Melinda reside in South Carolina.