Name: David Mathew Thompson
Rank/Branch: O3/US Navy
Major command, eg division or brigade: USNAVFORV
Squadron: VF-24  //CVW 21
Task Force: TF 77
Carrier Air Group: (CAG) 21
Date of Birth: 09 May 1946
Home City of Record: Pittsburgh PA
Date of Loss: 12 August 1972
Country of Loss: North Vietnam/Over Water
Loss Coordinates: 184157N 1072459E (YF548691)
Status (in 1973): Killed/Body Not Recovered
Category: 5
Aircraft/Vehicle/Ground: F8J
Refno: 1907
Other Personnel in Incident: (none missing)

Source: Compiled by Homecoming II Project 15 April 1990 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.


SYNOPSIS: The Vought F8 "Crusader" saw action early in U.S. involvement in
Southeast Asia. Its fighter models participated both in the first Gulf of
Tonkin reprisal in August 1964 and in the myriad attacks against North
Vietnam during Operation Rolling Thunder. The Crusader was used exclusively
by the Navy and Marine air wings (although there is one U.S. Air Force pilot
reported shot down on an F8) and represented half or more of the carrier
fighters in the Gulf of Tonkin during the first four years of the war. The
aircraft was credited with nearly 53% of MiG kills in Vietnam.

The most frequently used fighter versions of the Crusader in Vietnam were
the C, D, and E models although the H and J were also used. The Charlie
carried only Sidewinders on fuselage racks, and were assigned such missions
as CAP (Combat Air Patrol), flying at higher altitudes. The Echo model had a
heavier reinforced wing able to carry extra Sidewinders or bombs, and were
used to attack ground targets, giving it increased vulnerability. The Echo
version launched with less fuel, to accommodate the larger bomb store, and
frequently arrived back at ship low on fuel. The RF models were equipped for
photo reconnaissance.

The combat attrition rate of the Crusader was comparable to similar
fighters. Between 1964 to 1972, eighty-three Crusaders were either lost or
destroyed by enemy fire. Another 109 required major rebuilding. 145 Crusader
pilots were recovered; 57 were not. Twenty of these pilots were captured and
released. The other 43 remained missing at the end of the war.

Lt. David M. Thompson was the pilot of an F8J conducting a flight over the
Gulf of Tonkin on August 12, 1972. At a point about 75 miles from Hai Nan
Island, Thompson's aircraft crashed. Little hope was held out for his
survival and he was declared Killed/Body Not Recovered. Thompson was perhaps
returning from a combat mission with a crippled aircraft as his is listed as
a hostile casualty.

Since the war ended, nearly 10,000 reports relating to Americans missing,
prisoner or unaccounted for in Southeast Asia have been received by the U.S.
Government. Many authorities who have examined this largely classified
information are convinced that hundreds of Americans are still held captive
today. Fighter pilots in Vietnam were called upon to fly in many dangerous
circumstances, and were prepared to be wounded, killed, or captured. It
probably never occurred to them that they could be abandoned by the country
they proudly served.




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Lieutenant David Mathew Thompson, who joined the U.S. Navy from Pennsylvania, was a member of Fighter Squadron 24, embarked aboard the aircraft carrier USS Hancock (CVA 19). On August 12, 1972, LT Thompson piloted a single-seat F-8J Crusader (bureau number 150336) that was returning to the Hancock, located in the Gulf of Tonkin. His Crusader disappeared from radar eight miles from the ship, in the vicinity of (GC) 48Q YF 548 691. Extensive search efforts for the aircraft began immediately, but were unsuccessful. Lieutenant Thompsonís remains were not recovered, and he is still unaccounted for. Today, Lieutenant Thompson is memorialized on the Courts of the Missing at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

Based on all information available, DPAA assessed the individual's case to be in the analytical category of Non-recoverable.

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