RIGGS, THOMAS FREDERICK
Name: Thomas Frederick Riggs
Rank/Branch: W2/US Army
Unit: Company C, 227th Aviation Battalion, 11th Aviation Group, 1st Cavalry
Date of Birth: 24 July 1946 (Wayne MI)
Home City of Record: Farmington MI
Loss Date: 11 June 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam - Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 131800N 1094000E (CQ555705)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action
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.
Other Personnel In Incident: Ralph E. Uhlmansiek; Quentin Beecher; James R.
Nelson Dean E. Clinton (all missing)
SYNOPSIS: The 227th Aviation Battalion (Assault Helicopter), 11th Aviation
Group was organic to the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile). From the end of
October 1966 into February 1967, the 1st Cavalry Division battled clearing
Binh Dinh Province in Operations THAYER II and PERSHING, the latter
concentrated in the rich northern coastal plain as well as the Kim Son and
Luoi Ci Valleys to the west. Throughout the rest of 1967 the division
combated the North Vietnamese Army's 610th Division and Viet Cong Units in
the II Corps Tactical Zone. There were over 7100 known enemy casualties in
the two operations.
On June 11, 1967, WO1 Thomas F. Riggs, pilot; WO Dean E. Clinton, co-pilot;
SP5 James R. Nelson, crew chief; and passengers WO1 Quentin R. Beecher and
SP4 Ralph E. Uhlmansiek; departed Landing Zone Uplift, Qui Nhon airfield in
the southern coastal region of Binh Dinh Province, South Vietnam.
The crew and passengers were aboard a UH1D helicopter (serial #63-12958),
call sign "Bamboo Viper 47", on an operations mission in the province. At
1900 hours, Bamboo Viper 47 left the LZ at Qui Nhon. While en route, bad
weather was encountered, and the pilot requested assistance in determining
Efforts by Tuy Hoa and Qui Nhon airfields, and airborne search and rescue
control aircraft failed to locate the aircraft to guide it to the airfield.
At 2057 hours, the pilot reported that he was out of fuel, and was willing
to make a water landing. Search and rescue efforts started immediately, and
continued until 13 June, but was unsuccessful in locating either the
helicopter or its crew and passengers. All were declared Missing in Action,
Category 5 (which indicates that it is not felt that remains can be
There are nearly 2500 Americans who remain missing in Southeast Asia.
Reports from refugee and intelligence sources continue to mount that
indicate some of these men are alive, still held in captivity. Experts now
believe that hundreds of Americans are still held.
The case of the downed UH1D seems clear - The crew will probably never be
found. But for many of the others who are missing, endings are not so easy
to write. Many are alive and waiting for the country they proudly served to
bring them home. As long as one American is alive in captivity in the
jungles of Southeast Asia, the war is not over - our flag is still there.