Thomas Moore, CM/Sgt (my dad), USAF
PRISONER OF WAR/MISSING IN ACTION/PKIA
10/31/1965, South Vietnam
Dates of Service:
U.S. Army Air Forces 1947, U.S. Air Force 1947-1965
Vietnam War (POW 10/31/1965, presumed died in captivity 05/09/1974), Listed as Missing in Action/Body Not Recovered.
My dad, Thomas Moore, was born on Dec. 9, 1930, in McClenny, Fla., and grew up in Lake Butler, Fla. Everywhere officially his birth year is listed as 1929; he actually fudged on his birth year to be able to enlist a year earlier. My husband and I found this out after my mom passed away and we found his real birth certificate in her personal papers.
On Oct. 31, 1965, four U.S. servicemembers returning from a rest and relaxation break in Vung Tau, South Vietnam, were riding in a truck with a Vietnamese driver. While en route to Saigon, the truck was stopped by local communist guerrilla forces and the four U.S. servicemembers were captured.
Dad was carried as a Prisoner of War for 7 1/2 years, then his status was changed to Missing in Action and later he was listed as having died in captivity by the Viet Cong on Dec. 31, 1965; and was one of the individuals on the Priority Last Known Alive (LKA) list for years until July 1993, when the mannerisms for the listing changed. It will be 55 years. His remains have never been returned to the United States.
I was only 8 when he went missing, but I can remember exciting trips to the flight line and seeing all of the jets and planes on days I was too sick for school, and of him treating me to a Coke while I watched him gather up his work. I can remember sitting on the carport while he worked on our car smoking his cigarettes and the awe I felt when his cigarette ash grew to almost the entire length of the cigarette – I thought he was a magician!
My mom never remarried, or dated; she passed away at home with Ken and I, 30 years after Daddy went missing – December 1995. It wasn’t until after I was married for a long time that I truly understood just how lonely she must have been for him and how unbelievably much she loved him.