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MIA ID'ed, laid to rest in hometown
Capt. Thomas Clark, pictured here as an Air Force Academy cadet, was declared missing in action after his F-100D Super Sabre was shot down over the Savannakhet Province of Laos Feb. 8, 1969. His remains were returned to his family in Emporium, Pa., and he was buried with military honors Oct. 22, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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 Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command
MIA ID'ed, laid to rest in hometown

Posted 10/27/2011   Updated 10/27/2011 Email story   Print story


Air Force Academy Public Affairs

10/27/2011 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- A 1963 Academy graduate who was declared missing in action during the Vietnam War was laid to rest Oct. 22 in his hometown of Emporium, Pa., with full military honors.

Capt. Thomas E. Clark was 29 when he went missing in action after being shot down Feb. 8, 1969.

Clark was assigned to the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing, flying F-100D Super Sabres out of Phu Cat Air Base, South Vietnam, with the wing's 416th Tactical Fighter Squadron.

On his final combat sortie, his four-ship of F-100s was engaging an anti-aircraft artillery position in Savannakhet Province, Laos, when his aircraft was struck by enemy fire and crashed. The three other American pilots on the mission did not see a parachute or any other signs of Clark. Immediate search and rescue missions could not locate the crash site.

Clark was declared MIA. He was posthumously promoted to major and declared killed in action in 1973.

In 1991, and again in 1992, joint U.S.-Laos teams investigated the area of the crash and recovered aircraft wreckage and military equipment. The teams also conducted interviews with locals who reported witnessing the crash.

Local Laotians gave the investigators two dogtags that identified Clark and human remains that had been recovered from the site shortly after the crash. In 2009, an additional excavation of the site recovered dental remains which also helped to identify Clark.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, used dental analysis to help identify Clark.

The 911th Airlift Wing received Clark's remains Oct. 20. A funeral parade was conducted Oct. 21 in St. Marys, Pa., as Clark's remains were escorted to his hometown of Emporium for an Oct. 22 burial service.

Today more than 1,600 Americans remain unaccounted for from the Vietnam War. More than 900 servicemen have been accounted for from that war and returned to their families for burial with military honors since 1973.

11/4/2011 12:26:09 PM ET
Sad news. I was flying Huns on the day that Tom died - out of Tuy Hoa not far from Phu Cat. I think there are only 2 other 63 grads who died in a Hun in combat John Skoro and Leo Thomas but I might be wrong. There were 5 squadrons of Huns at Tuy Hoa the 35th wing augmented by NYANG and NMANG. We did not lose a single pilot to VC during the year I was there.
Geff McCarthy '63, Portland OR
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