|Birth: ||Sep. 25, 1940|
|Death: ||Apr. 20, 1972, Laos|
Thomas Hugh Amos, former Springfield Aviator, son of Dr. James Amos, former Springfield, Greene County Health Officer and Missouri State Health Officer, who was lost in Laos on April 20, 1972 and carried as Missing In Action (MIA) for many years, will finally be returned for burial.
Tom was born September 25, 1940 in Fulton, Missouri the third child of Marie Mulcare (1909-2003) and Dr. James Roy Amos (1903-1995). He attended Helias High School in Jefferson City, Missouri for three years and graduated from Parkview High School, Springfield, Missouri in May 1958. Tom graduated from Drury College, Springfield, Missouri in August 1963 with a BA degree in Biology.
Tom married Virginia Ann "Ginny" Johnson in Springfield, Missouri on June 23, 1962. Tom and Ginny had two children. Julie Ann Amos Ashurst was born at Saint Mary's Hospital in Enid, Oklahoma on March 26, 1965 and James William Amos was born at Bentwaters RAF Station, England on May 30, 1967.
Tom joined the Air Force in November 1963 and attended Officer Training School at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. He received his commission as a Second Lieutenant on February 4, 1964.
He and Ginny arrived at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma where he became a member of Pilot Training Class 65-F, on March 9, 1964. I lived in the same apartment complex with Ginny and Tom and we sometimes had parties on the week ends.
Tom was assigned to 3575th Pilot Training Wing, 3576th Pilot Training Squadron, Flight 3, 'Speedy' where he flew the T-37B 'Tweet'. In 'Speedy' flight, his instructors were Robert D. Wyman and James H. Mooring.
Part way through our T-37B training, the class was split in half and he was reassigned to the 3575th Pilot Training Squadron, Flight 4, 'Blue Chip' where his instructors were Howard D. Davis and Verlin K. Egly.
In advanced training, he was assigned to Flight 1, 'Skid Row' where he flew the super sonic T-38A 'Talon', which was also known as the 'White Rocket'. During T-38 training his instructors were James R. Sack and John F. Russell.
On Friday, March 19, 1965, headlines of the base Airscoop newspaper announced 'Class 65-F Ends 55 Weeks Training Tomorrow'. On Saturday morning, March 20, 1965, he graduated and was awarded his Pilot Wings.
Shortly after graduation, he went to Stead Air Force Base, Sparks, Nevada for Advanced Survival Training in the 3635th Combat Crew Training Wing.
Tom was then assigned to the 4453rd Combat Crew Training Wing at Davis Monthan Air Force Base, Tucson, Arizona for check out in the McDonnell Douglas F-4C, Phantom II.
After training at Davis Monthan, Tom was assigned to the 47th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 15th Tactical Fighter Wing, at MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida.
Tom was then assigned to the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa for several months prior to assignment in Thailand, where he was flying combat missions in Vietnam from February to August of 1966. It was during this tour that Tom earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, the fourth highest decoration awarded to flyers. On April 26, 1966, Tom's aircraft was part of a four-ship formation providing cover for friendly aircraft making bombing runs deep within enemy territory. His aircraft was severely damaged by hostile fire and he was able to help guide the crippled aircraft away from enemy territory to a safe recovery.
In October 1966, he was reassigned to Royal Air Force Station Bentwaters, England where he stayed for nearly three years. During this tour, he was upgraded to aircraft commander in the F-4C aircraft.
In August 1969, he was reassigned to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Goldsboro, North Carolina. While at this assignment he was upgraded to instructor pilot and flight examiner.
In late March of 1972, Tom was assigned to the 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron 'Panthers', part of the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing based at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. On April 3, 1972, the squadron was sent to Da Nang Air Base, South Vietnam, where the 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron flying F-4D's came under the control of the 366th Tactical Fighter Wing.
Tom was flying F-4D, 65-0602, on a night combat mission escorting an AC-130H, 'Spectre' gunship on April 20, 1972 when his plane went down in Quang Tri providence, Laos near the South Vietnam boarder, about 15 miles west of Kham Duc. The AC-130H crew identified a suitable target for the F-4D, which then called in on the target. The AC-130H crew members saw a large fireball on the ground and could not raise the F-4D by radio. Although search and rescue efforts continued for three days, neither crew nor wreckage were located.
Initially, Tom was listed as Missing in Action (MIA). Tom was promoted to the grade of Major posthumously. His status was changed to presumed Killed in Action (KIA) on June 23, 1976. After 21 years, two local natives found the crash site in a mountainous region in Laos and recovered some remains and dog tags in 1993. Additional remains were recovered during three excavations conducted by a joint U.S. and Laos military teams in 1998. During the summer of 1999, the Air Force announced that a positive DNA match had been made on remains recovered from Tom's crash site.
He is survived by his mother, Mrs. Marie Amos of Lebanon, Missouri; his daughter, Julie Ashurst of Springfield, Missouri and a son, James Amos of St. Paul, Minnesota. He has two grandchildren; Robert Ashurst and Samantha Ashurst of Springfield, Missouri. He has three sisters; Mrs. Pat Dunlap of Edmond, Oklahoma, Mrs. Jill Mitchell of Crane, Missouri and Mrs. Debbie Schirber of Stillwell, Minnesota.
A funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, November 6th, 1999 at 10 AM at St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield, Missouri. Burial will be at St. Mary's Cemetery next to his wife, Ginny.
On May 25, 2000, additional remains, along with those of his F-4D back seater, Captain Mason I. Burnham, were buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia.
An additional memorial was earlier placed at the Springfield National Cemetery, Springfield, Greene County, Missouri while he was in Missing in Action status.
Additional memorials can be seen at Arlington National Cemetery, the Virtual Wall and at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Many thanks to Mrs. Pat Amos Dunlap, Tom's sister, for much of the detailed information included here.
Virginia Ann Johnson Amos Muetzel (1939 - 1998)*
Thomas Hugh Amos / Sept. 25, 1940 - Apr. 20, 1972 / Vietnam
Saint Marys Cemetery
Maintained by: Lee A. Hillard
Originally Created by: Shiver
Record added: May 18, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 8789689