Dugan, Thomas Wayne, Col

Fallen
 
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Last Rank
Colonel
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
1225A-Pilot
Last AFSC Group
Aircrew
Primary Unit
1968-1968, 35th Tactical Fighter Wing
Service Years
1951 - 1968
Colonel

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Year of Birth
1933
 
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Maj Donald Rice (Don) to remember Dugan, Thomas Wayne, Col.

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Casualty Info
Home Town
Reading, PA
Last Address
Phan Rang AB

Casualty Date
Dec 13, 1968
 
Cause
Hostile, Died while Missing
Reason
Air Loss, Crash - Land
Location
Laos
Conflict
Vietnam War
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
36W 014

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Vietnam Veterans MemorialAmerican Battle Monuments Commission
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2014, American Battle Monuments Commission

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Aviator (Senior)


 
 Unit Assignments
915th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy8th Bombardment Squadron35th Tactical Fighter Wing
  1966-1966, 915th Air Refueling Squadron, Heavy
  1968-1968, 8th Bombardment Squadron
  1968-1968, 35th Tactical Fighter Wing
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1961-1973 Vietnam War
 My Aircraft/Missiles
KC-135 Stratotanker  B-57 Canberra  
  1966-1966, KC-135 Stratotanker
  1968-1968, B-57 Canberra
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Prior to duties in Vietnam, Major Dugan was stationed at Ramey AFB, Aquadilla, Puerto Rico and rotated stateside into the B-57E transition program. He had been assigned to the 915th Air Refueling Squadron flying KC - 135s. He was an IP (Instructor Pilot) and Chief of Standardization Evalution. Prior to his assignment at Ramey AFB, he was stationed at Westover AFB flying KC - 135s.

Source: http://www.taskforceomegainc.org/d041.htm

SYNOPSIS:

On 13 December 1968, then Major Thomas W. Dugan, pilot and Major Francis J. McGouldrick, co-pilot, comprised the crew of a B-57B Canberra, call sign "Yellowbird 72." Their night bombing mission was being guided by a C-123K Provider, call sign "Candlestick 44," operating as the on site Forward Air Controller (FAC) and whose mission it was to direct the bombers against a convoy of enemy trucks traveling along Routes 911 and 912. These routes were cut through the rugged jungle covered mountains approximately 2 miles north of the demilitarized zone (DMZ), 14 miles northwest of Ban Namm, 18 miles southwest of Ban Loboy, 35 miles northwest of Muang Xepon and 26 miles southwest of the Lao/North Vietnamese border, Savannakhet Province, Laos. Additional data places the loss approximately 47 kilometers northwest of Xepon, 3 kilometers east of Ban Kok Nak and Route 411, and 1 kilometer southeast of Ban Pa Dong.

Flying at an altitude of no more than 2000-3000 feet, the Provider crew's mission was to spot enemy truck convoys traveling along the trail, then to drop flares to illuminate the area for the accompanying bombers to attack. Weather conditions at the time were clear with a half moon, ground fog, no wind and no cloud ceiling. At 0300 hours, as the crew of the C-123K guided the B57B onto an enemy convoy, the FAC was jolted by a blow to the top of their aircraft in the aft section by the overhead bomber as it approached the target.

Candlestick 44's pilot, 1st Lt. Turner, was stunned by a blow to the head and lost consciousness as his aircraft lost power. Because of its glider configuration, the C-123K did not fall straight to the ground, but drifted lazily in a slow flat spin that lasted several minutes.

During his post-rescue debriefing, Thomas Turner reported: "Yellowbird 72 made either one or two passes over the target and received no ground fire while Candlestick 44 maintained position in our quadrant at altitude. While the bomber conducted its strikes, I began a run to our left in order to stay in our own quadrant, yet be able to scope to clear the previous strike (to observe the bomber's attack pass and its pull off of the target). Just as we rolled out straight and level, I looked out the window and saw the strike area. The next moment there was an explosion and the aircraft was out of control. I was knocked unconscious for several moments. When I came to, I turned in my seat and could see the co-pilot's seat was empty and fire was coming into the cockpit from the fuselage area. I turned to the left and opened the window, then unbuckled my seatbelt. I looked out at the wing tip and could see the wing tip and that the left engine was still running. The next minute I was out and clear of the aircraft. I pulled the "D" ring when clear to deploy my parachute. On my descent I saw another parachute below me and 2 or 3 fires on the ground. At that time I was unaware of the other aircraft's fall, and didn't know if it was one of the fires on the ground or not." 1st Lt. Turner went on to say: "I landed safely in a treetop where I remained until search and rescue (SAR) personnel rescued me at dawn. I did not hear any of the other crewmen come up on the radio, and I understand that the only beeper the SAR aircraft heard was mine."

Members of other aircrews provided additional information about this loss incident. One witness stated he saw a steady stream of enemy anti-aircraft artillery fire aimed in the direction of the aircraft just before the large explosion caused by the collision. Several other witnesses reported there was a large explosion that broke the aircraft into three parts shortly after the initial explosion.

After plucking Thomas Turner out of the tree, aerial SAR personnel continued to search for the other crewmen in the rugged jungle covered mountains. Because this area was under total enemy control, no ground search was possible. At 0900 hours on 15 December, the formal SAR effort was terminated when no trace of the remaining crew could be found. At that time Thomas Dugan and Francis McGouldrick were listed Missing in Action. Likewise, no trace of the C-123K crew was found and they were also declared Missing in Action at the same time.


   
Comments/Citation
Notes/Links:

http://8thattacksqdnassoc.tripod.com/Vietnam.html#Casualties
http://www.vvmf.org//index.cfm?SectionID=110&Wall_Id_No=14109

http://kalaniosullivan.com/8thAttackSqdnAssoc.tripod.com/Vietnam.html#Mid-air (though no longer a viable site, it had details of the mission)
http://thewall-usa.com/guest.asp?recid=14101 (photo)
http://airwarvietnam.com/8bs.htm
   
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