James Henry Ayres

Lieutenant Colonel
United States Air Force
30 June 1937 - 03 January 1971
Pampa, Texas
Panel 05W Line 021


USAF Pilot

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for James Henry Ayres

13 Aug 2007

Remembered and Honored ...


Airman laid to rest after more than 36 years missing
97th AMW Public Affairs

8/22/2007 - ALTUS AFB - The Altus Air Force Base "Blue Knights" Honor Guard paid their respects to Lt. Col. Jim Ayres and his family during a grave side funeral service held in Pampa Texas. Colonel Ayers had been missing in action since his F-4E Phantom II jet was shot down over Laos Jan. 3 1971 during the Vietnam era.

The Altus Air Force Base "Blue Knights" Honor Guard fold the flag during a funeral service honoring Lt. Col. Jim Ayres, whose remains were found more than 36 years after his jet crashed over Laos during the Vietnam era.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jennifer Flores)

Altus Air Force Base "Blue Knights" Honor Guard members present Lt. Col. Jim Ayres mother with a shadow box containing a folded flag, Colonel Ayres decorations, name tag and Air Force insignia.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Joshua DeMotts)

25 Sep 2007

Lt. Col. James Ayres' remains were repatriated and he was laid to rest on August 22, 2007 in Pampa, Texas. His mother and wife were at the service.

Rest in Peace.

From a friend of the military,
Benjamin Black

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Two men from the 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Korat RTAFB were lost when their F-4E (tail number 66-0380) was shot down during a night strike near Ban Namalou village, about 44 kilometers northeast of Muong Phalane, Laos. Although both men were initially classed as Missing in Action, it appears that the pilot, LtCol James H. Ayres, subsequently was determined to have died in the crash. The Weapons System Officer, Major Charles W. Stratton of Dallas, Texas, was retained in MIA status until the Secretary of the Air Force approved a Presumptive Finding of Death on 08 July 1977.

from the United States Department of Defense

August 03, 2007
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
Public/Industry(703) 428-0711

Airmen Missing in Action from Vietnam War are Identified

The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO) announced today that the remains of two U.S. servicemen, missing in action from the Vietnam War, have been identified and will be returned to their families for burial with full military honors.

They are Lt. Col. James H. Ayres, of Pampa, Texas, and Lt. Col. Charles W. Stratton, of Dallas, Texas, both U.S. Air Force. Ayres will be buried Aug. 10 in Pampa, and Stratton's burial date is being set by his family.

On Jan. 3, 1971, these men crewed an F-4E Phantom II aircraft departing Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base on a nighttime strike mission of enemy targets in Savannakhet Province, Laos. Shortly after Ayres initiated a target run, the crew of other aircraft in the flight observed a large explosion. No one witnessed an ejection or heard beeper signals, and communication was lost with the aircraft. Hostile activity in the area prevented search and rescue attempts.

In 2001, a joint U.S./Lao People's Democratic Republic (L.P.D.R.) team, led by the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command (JPAC), traveled to Savannakhet Province and interviewed Laotian citizens about their knowledge of aircraft crash sites. One of the men led the team to what was believed to be the Ayres and Stratton crash site.

Later that year, another U.S./L.P.D.R team began excavating the site. The team recovered human remains and aircrew-related items. Between 2002 and 2005, joint teams visited the site six more times to complete the excavation, recovering more human remains and crew-related items.

Among other forensic identification tools and circumstantial evidence, scientists from JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory also used mitochondrial DNA in the identification of the remains.

Charles W. Stratton's remains were buried on 09 Oct 2007 in Site 1459, Section 76, Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
one who remembers.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 13 Aug 2007
Last updated 06/10/2008