John Jackie Smallwood

United States Air Force
07 October 1945 - 04 October 1979
Marietta, Georgia
Panel 01W Line 119


USAF Navigator

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

The database page for John Jackie Smallwood

Friday, November 04, 2005

I found out about Jack's death in 1973 from another classmate who I ran into in Thailand. Jack was my best friend throughout the entire 9 month Navigator Training program at Mather AFB, Sacramento, CA! We made ski trips, trips to Reno, etc., with a few other guys in our class. I'll never forget the cool car (Olds Cutlass, I believe, green with beige top?) he had. It really hit me hard when I learned about him.

Since Jack and I were so close, and since we picked aircraft assignments by class rank, and since there was only one F-4 slot left when it was my turn to choose, I picked a C-130 to let Jack have his F-4. THIS made the impact even harder to take for me.

I loved Jack. He was from Marietta and I from Charlotte, so we had the "Southerner thing" in common. Jack had a GREAT sense of humor and kept me laughing whenever I was around him. Anyone who knew him knew this!

I last saw Jack at Clark AB in the Philippines when he was passing through. This was most likely early 1971. We had a couple of beers at the Oasis Hotel, a popular hotel and nightspot right off base. The next day he left before I got to see him again.

I have thought of Jack literally thousands of times since 1971 and will continue to do so until the day I die! God bless him and his family! Jack was a couple of months older than me so he likely would have just turned 60. Happy Birthday, Jack!

Sincerely, your friend forever,
Al Wilson

05 Dec 2006

I just came across Al's memorial to Jack. I too was a classmate of Al and Jack in Nav school. I went onto EWO training and flew 265 combat missions in the B-52D assigned to March AFB and flying out of Guam and Utapao, Thailand.

Al, I believe that Jack's Cutlass was a 442 red convertable - a real beauty - he used to come by my apartment with Mick Kuja and harass my wife (Jackie) and I. He was a real southern gentleman and a blast to be around. The reason I found this page was I just viewed a special on the air war over Hanoi and thought of Jack. The special focused on Steve Ritchie and some other MiG-killers and I immediately thought of Jack and his kill.

I found out about Jack's death at the 1st Real River Rat Reunion in Las Vegas in Aug '73. Jerry Herron, another classmate of ours and former POW told my wife and I - really put a damper on a great evening. But ... I did get to have mug of Beefeater Gin with Robin Olds in Jack's honor.

As you said Al, having just passed 60 my wife put together a great scrapbook that included many Nav training pics - you included. Great time in our lives with great friendships.

The best to you and let's raise one for Jack.

From a classmate and friend,
Scott Freeman

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Following the withdrawal of US forces from South Vietnam the Air Force maintained a considerable force based in Thailand, predominantly by moving units on temporary duty from bases outside Southeast Asia. The 336th TFS deployed from Seymour Johnson AFB to the 8th TFW, Ubon RTAFB, between 09 Mar-07 Sep 1973, while the 58th TFS deployed from Eglin AFB to the 432nd TRW, Udorn RTAFB, between 08 Jun-14 Sep 1973.

Two men flying from Ubon Royal Thai AFB were lost when F-4E tail number 67-0374, an aircraft belonging to the 336th TFS, was hit by enemy ground fire while attacking a target in Cambodia on 16 June 1973. There was no evidence that either one had ejected from their aircraft and both were carried as Missing in Action until the Secretary of the Air Force approved Presumptive Findings of Death for them on 04 Oct 1979. Their remains have not been repatriated. The two were Major Samuel B. Cornelius of Lubbock, Texas, pilot, and Capt John J. Smallwood, WSO.

Major Cornelius was assigned to the 336th TFS, but Captain Smallwood was assigned to the 58th TFS. It appears from the USAF database that Captain Smallwood was sent on TDY from Udorn to Ubon, perhaps due to a shortage of Weapons System Operators with the 336th TFS.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 06 Nov 2005
Last updated 08/10/2009